1. Treat each song individually and find the indentity of the track.
Use the identity of the track as a jumping off point. For this new remix I picked the song, "After Hours," by Wordsauce. I'm good friends with this rising CA rock/hip hop group and I picked this song because it has a good groove that I could translate well to dance music, especially on the drums. Typically, I start from scratch when making a drum beat for a remix but with this project I decided to start by cloning the original drum stem into a dance drum beat using thick drum samples. I added some groove elements, like a more pronounced hi-hat pattern and bass drum rolls, but for the most part I kept the drum beat the same for the verses. This took FOREVER to re-create the drums and make it sound like a human drum beat. But once the main drum groove was down, I could then branch off and create a chorus drum beat that was completely original, yet still had some reference to the original drums.
2. Be aware of the original key and chord progression.
You have to know what key and chord progression the original song is using in order to determine what notes to use in the layers you add in the remix. It's frustrating to get hours into production and then notice the dissonance coming from having all your notes be a half-step out of tune with the original track. Once you know the key of the original track you can then decide if you want to stay in the original key or pitch shift the original song to a more desirable key.
For this song, the key is Bmin and the main chord progression is Bm-F#7 with a tail of E7-F#7 every eighth measure. I used this core idea to add a chorus drop that started in Bmin, then modulated to F#min - adding a new section that still relates to the original chord progression. For the verses, I used a bass synth pitch slide to readapt the E7-F#7 tail.
3. Use EQ to your advantage, especially Shelving EQ.
If you take a rock song and just start adding dance drums and big bass synths you are almost guaranteed to run into horrible phase cancellation and competition because there's too many similar sounds mashed up occupying the same frequencies. In order to get a better mix you usually have to adjust the EQ of the original track in order to blend well with the new layers of the remix.
For this song, I used shelving EQ, which involves lowering, or shelving, the extreme high and low ends of the EQ parameters. I brought down the high and low points of the EQ and this hollowed out some sonic space that I could then fill with my own drum, bass and synth sounds. I used especially heavy shelving on the low end because I added a lot of sound to the low end. Depending on what you're using for the original track, you might also need to adjust other parts of the EQ parameters to find your ideal mix. When adjusting the EQ, always start "subtractively," by decreasing EQ parameters, before you adjust anything "additively," or by increasing the EQ. The only times you might want to increase the EQ is if the original track has a muddy quality and you want to increase the clarity of the track - then you can slightly raise the EQ, usually between the 2k-5k mHz range.
These tips will help you achieve those banging club tracks you are looking for. I'll be back soon with more music and video tips and tutorials, including recording live instruments for EDM music. If these tips are helpful please consider making a contribution to my page by clicking on, "Become a Patron."
Thanks for reading! Have fun making music!