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Pushing our students to their maximum capabilities is something we feel very strongly about at Toolroom Academy, when applying this rule to the art of DJ’ing, we feel that playing one tune after the other isn’t quite conducive to a well-rounded DJ set. Be it a creative re-edit or a functional and efficient arrangement flip, being able to create your own edit is an indispensable skill.
Generally speaking, ‘re-edits’ exist as a fundamental part of DJ culture. Some feel that the main challenge in creating an edit is quite simply to get the ‘perfect mix’, others view it as a serious artistic expression that exists in tandem with original productions.
In layman’s terms an ‘edit’ in this context references a song that’s been modified for club use. Both familiar or obscure, a re-edit can be culled from more or less any genre, offering a production or arrangement twist that’s presented as something new and fresh.
Going back to the roots of the re-edit, the ‘modified for club use’ concept was something that Tom Moulton envisioned when he created the very first dance edits back in the 70’s. Moulton was motivated by a number of experiences that he encountered, mostly when DJs would fail in maintaining momentum in their sets. Meticulously taking matters into his own hands, he patched together his own mixes, chopping and changing parts where he saw fit. It was this experimentation proved to be fundamental in launching his highly celebrated career as the “Inventor of the remix and 12” single”.
“Back then everything was edited for radio play, so the songs would end after three or four minutes and you could see this confusion – people didn’t want to stop dancing to the old song yet.” – Tom Moulton
By re arranging a track you can more of less eliminate the risk of screwing up your DJ mix. Certain types of arrangements may have a smaller “mixable” section, which doesn’t follow the conventional bar structure that you’re used to – a 10 minute Ableton session can fix that, no trouble.
Say for example you have a major label remix that’s just landed in your promo box, the beat is solid but the poppy ‘middle-8’ vocal that you hate just keeps appearing. No qualms! Chop that part out and restructure the beat with some pretty simple editing skills to recreate something that will work far better with your crowd!
“I create re-edits all the time! Probably about 70% of the tracks I play in my sets. Often, I’ll splice up tracks in Ableton to make them shorter or longer to suit my mixing style, sometimes even a little extra production too. It’s all about trial and error to see what works in the club, once you have the formula you can implement it into your edits” – Mark Knight
We caught up with Pete Griffiths, our in-house production tutor, to get his opinion on the matter…
“Having the ability to create a re-edit is a valuable a skill that will aid any aspiring producer with fine tuning their sound selection – which is one of the most important areas of production! Any producer with years of knowledge and top-grade plugins in their stride, could no doubt create a very well-produced re-edit, but without the right sound choices, nothing else counts.”
“Creating a re-edit that involves extra production will always include that all-important element of sound choice, which isn’t always the easiest task. By nature, this will force you to focus on the granular details of the sounds that might fit the style of your edit. E.g. the frequency tone of a bassline, or the weight and width of your claps, these things are so important for getting the right vibe, which ultimately will determine the success of you and your edit.”
So why not get started straight away? Find an oldie you’d like to flip, drag it into your project, match the tempos, identify your mix points, warp it, then get crazy with it.
#MAKEITHAPPEN with our brand new online production course, devised by our senior music team at Toolroom Records, squarely focused around using Ableton to your advantage. Take a step inside the innovative 3-month programme and we will guide you through the fundamental skills needed to build a record to a credible and professional standard.