I usually get the bpm for the original tune, then go about laying down a basic beat in the ± 5-6 bpm range of the original. I mostly work just with the original vocals, very seldom use any other stems. Anyways… once I get a decent base going I stretch & cut the vocals into manageable pieces using Cubase, after that it’s just a bout piecing it all together nicely. Everything is Renoise, except the stretching/cutting bit on the vocals. (With cutting I mean just cutting it into pieces, not the badly faked scratch thing on the hh tune, which is all renoise.)
That’s my typical workflow when it comes to remixes.
Here’s two examples… one hip-hop tune & one (rushed) dubstep tune. On both I’ve just used the vocals off the original.
I have done a remix for an upcoming single, and this is what I did…
First, I cheat by loading the vocals into Ableton and slightly correct their timing, cutting them into shorter samples. IMHO this works better than using 09xx effects all over the place
Play one or more vocal samples in Renoise on loop, playing around with some pads or bass samples to find some chords that fit the vocals and are different from the original. I don’t like keeping the original “sound” and just adding a new drum loop or bassline
If I find something cool, I keep adding more tracks, fleshing out the drums etc. until it sounds like the peak of the track - then I start to rip it apart again
Build a rough version of your mix - Intro, Verses, Refrain, Breakdown etc.
Add some variation to the patterns, so you don’t play the same patterns over and over again. Usually the drums are best for this
Never hestitate adding a new track to keep things moving. My big problem is lack of variation in my tracks, so fight it wherever you can
If everything sounds good at home, I burn my track to a CD (or my iPod) and play it on my car stereo. It’s just a standard stereo, no expensive speakers, but that’s where the mix has to sound right
I take the original samples and if necessary, chop them into smaller bits. (One guy gave me 18 second samples and I used them raw, and I had to work at 51 bpm. It was Spartan madness.) Then, I try to bring out an unexplored part of the music. For example, “Masoch”, by Leigon, has a really calming, almost mellow sound although it’s breakcore. I just turned it into something really aggressive and glitchy by messing with instrument placement, short loops, and pitch shifting.
I liked to use both original samples and the final mix of a song. That way, I can emphasize something I really like, or use the first song as a lo-fi lead in… stuff like that. And I always make multiple versions of a song so I can go back and make the final track much more collected. Know what I mean?