It’s no easy task taking an already great song and remixing it to make it your own. These days, remixes come in all shapes and sizes. Some artists make small changes to the original work and merely look to enhance the original product, while others spawn a brand-new creation only faintly resembling a shadow of the original song. With such a wide range of possibilities to explore, I thought this would be a perfect time to delve into a specific genre of remixes (focused around alternative and indie artists) to see just how different an original work can be from a new artist’s remix — or, if similar, how fresh.
1. “Better Days”
Original: Goodnight Kiss – “Better Days”
Remix: Goodnight Kiss – “Better Days (PatrickReza Remix)”
To begin this list, we start with a real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde comparison. Before witnessing this remix by PatrickReza, I had never heard of the band Goodnight Kiss. For better or worse, this somewhat lesser-known band has their song completely overhauled in this remix. PatrickReza only chooses to keep the main chorus and one or two smaller sections of vocals to insert between the new song’s gritty electronic drops. Goodnight Kiss’ lead singer Wes Pagano (who sounds remarkably similar to Sameer Gadhia, the lead singer of Young the Giant, from afar) has a perfect voice for this type of electronic song, where vocals and music both share the stage and shine. Nonetheless, this is a beautiful example of a song emerging from its alternative cocoon and spreading its electronic wings.
Original: Alina Baraz – “Electric (Feat. Khalid)”
Remix: Alina Baraz – “Electric (Feat. Khalid) [Electric Mantis Remix]”
“Electric” is a perfectly titled song for this list and an interesting remix to break down. Here we get a taste of a more subtle remix from the original work by Alina Baraz. Her original song has a very laidback and calm atmosphere to it, which gives me a classic Gwen Stefani vibe. The original song slowly builds but never really takes off, bringing her audience into a very chill chorus complete with guitar and a lazy tempo. The remix has a similar slow build, but the tempo has been turned up. We can hear a new electronic instrument set along with crisper vocal audio and, of course, a couple small Flume like drops added into the mix. This remix stands as a great example of an artist not tampering too much with the original work, and Electric Mantis does a great job letting the source material shine.
Original: Matt Maeson – “Hallucinogenics”
Remix: Matt Maeson – “Hallucinogenics (Vallis Alps Remix)”
Matt Maeson’s vocals are solid gold for a remix, and here we have another example of an artist sticking to the source material. The original song sounds like it pulls from familiar and popular alternative artists who inspire that almost rustic indie vibe, complete with a nice choir behind Maeson’s voice near the end of his song. The remix has a much slower tempo than the original, with the original instruments replaced with a chugging electric keyboard. Maeson’s voice has been altered to have more reverb, which lends itself well to the added keyboard and takes center stage in this remix. One could be forgiven for thinking this remix was the original upon first listen with the level of composure Vallis Alps has put into their new version of the song. Therefore, both of which are more than worthy of a few listens.
4. “I Dreamt We Spoke Again”
Original: Death Cab for Cutie – “I Dreamt We Spoke Again”
Remix: Death Cab for Cutie – “I Dreamt We Spoke Again (Louis the Child Remix)”
One of the better-known artists on this list, Death Cab for Cutie is another great starting point to creating something epic. With the original more focused on the lyrics and vocals, this song is just begging to be thrown into the cosmic void of the EDM genre. Louis the Child not only adds new instruments to their remix, but they also make those sweet chorus drops sound as though they are pulling your soul out of your ears and into a space lamp (a.k.a. how you create a space genie, of course). The synth and bass added to this song create a beautiful experience, which highlights and accentuates Death Cab vocalist Ben Gibbard’s amazing vocals while also having fun with the audio behind him. It’s another great example of how effectively an alternative tune can be mixed into EDM with a steady hand at the wheel.
5. “Cardiac Arrest”
Original: Bad Suns – “Cardiac Arrest”
Remix: Bad Suns – Cardiac Arrest (WoodysProduce Remix)
WoodysProduce brings us back to another example of a remix that creates something almost completely new with his reimagining of “Cardiac Arrest.” The original is an elegant example of modern-day alternative in its prime. The main guitar notes and riffs made this song a true listening pleasure back in 2014, and its remix chooses to go in a different direction. With a heavy use of snare and an expansive synth, this song (beyond the lyrics) has been thrust into another universe. The synth in the background gives the new song an almost dreary tone, and WoodysProduce teases the audience with false buildup before more restrained drops. It’s fascinating to see how different the end result of this remix is from the original work, which is only held together by Christo Bowman’s unique voice.
Honorable Mention: “Hurricane”
LUUDE – “Hurricane (Feat. Great News)”
Not a remix, but a collaboration between alternative artist Great News and electronic artist LUUDE, this song fits in very nicely with the above crowd. The song sounds like MGMT mashed up with The Beatles, and how can you not love that pairing? Since this song has never been released on its own, it’s another example of the mix of these two genres — and how well they can meld together.