Skip to main content

To Remix, or Not To Remix?

It was 2005, and while reading one of the various music magazines I had piled in a corner, I came across a promotional interview with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.  As a promotional gimmick for his then new release, "With Teeth", on Interscope Records, he invited any and all to remix his new single, "The Hand That Feeds".  Reznor gave an url where a person could find the individually separated tracks for download along with the track's BPM.

What compelled me to go to Reznor's site and download the track elements was how convenient Reznor had made it for people to remix his track.  Out of boredom, I downloaded the tracks one night and threw the elements into Garageband to do a quick House remix.  I just did it for fun.  If I were doing a serious remix, I doubt I would've used Garageband.  After remixing the track, I acquired the video and chopped it in video editing software to match my audio remix and uploaded it to YouTube.

My remix was quickly done and simple.  After a few weeks, DJs from other cities starting e-mailing me and asking me to send them the track.  Since it was illegal for me to sell the track, I gave it away to whomever asked for it and settled for being flattered that DJs were playing my track on the East and West Coasts. 

Soon after sending it to a few DJs, the video remix I did started to get traction on YouTube.  I thought, "How fun for something I just threw together while downing a six-pack of beer one night".  Apparently the video became too popular and the next thing I know I'm getting a cease and desist e-mail from Interscope Records threatening to sue me if I didn't take my remix video down from YouTube.  I was disgusted beyond belief. 

"Are they nuts?", I thought.  So…let me get this straight…your artist does and interview with a national publication telling people to download and remix his track and then the label starts chasing people down and threatening lawsuits for the remixes?  Crazy.  So I'm helping you promote your product, for free, and now you want to sue me?  I don't know how much money they thought they were going to get from me, a multimedia artist that made a bulk of his income from grants that year, but they for sure lost a Nine Inch Nails fan.  I was never really that into NIN anyway, and this experience made me anti-NIN with the click of an e-mail. 

That was the first time I received a cease and desist e-mail from a record label, but unfortunately not the last.  Anytime that I did a halfway decent remix of something current, a label would send a nasty e-mail.  This lead to me just playing self-made remixes at club gigs, which was cool, but YouTube was a great gauge of how good or bad the remix was.  To remix or not to remix? That is the question.  Remixing is a cool way to do a track with a major artist that you may possibly never get to work with in real life and a great way to practice your production chops.  I would say do it, but be careful where you put it.

Later and don't be a hater.


Popular posts from this blog

Treacherous Human Underdogs LIVE @ Shlafly Tap Room

Beginner DJs and Buying Gear

A question I am asked often by beginner DJs is, “What gear should I start off with?”  This is a tough question because the answer depends on what type of DJ-ing you are doing and where you have visually projected yourself in the future.  The first question I have is, “Are you DJ-ing for fun or for money?”

If you are DJ-ing just for fun, then your choice of gear is irrelevant.If fun truly is the name of your game the options are many.There exists facial recognition software that enables you to use your face as a MIDI controller, there are ways to hack into your Xbox Kinect so that your whole body can be used as a MIDI controller, and there are countless new desktop controllers coming out everyday for computer DJ software.Then there are the practically outmoded CD players.Of course there is also the wagon wheel of DJ technology…the turntable.It’s really just a matter of preference and what level of frustration you want to experience while learning to DJ.The quick of it is: Software = fas…

DJ Leon Lamon't s Crate Confessions #6

Dear followers,
It’s literally been a month since my last Crate Confession.  I make no apologies because life happens and MFs get busy.  I’m not hating or being salty, I’m just saying.  Anyway, children, uncle Leo is going to take you way back and, since it’s been a minute, do more than one track for this confession session.
1. Reflections - Diana Ross & The Supremes

I grew up on Motown music because my parents are huge fans and my dad is straight up borderline fanatical when it comes to Motown music.  My dad has the popular Motown stuff and the obscure Motown stuff.  Example: If it weren’t for my dad, I wouldn’t have known that Tommy Chong of the famous Cheech & Chong was a musician that put out a record on Motown before becoming a famous comedian.  That being said, I’ve yet to hear a Motown track that I didn’t like.  Reflections, like so many other Motown songs, has amazing song structure and chord choices (things I knew nothing about when I first heard the song as a kid). …