bootlegs and remixes
First a few things.
A remix is when you're officially engaged by the original artist to remix their work. When you take it upon yourself to do un-authorized remixes, it's not technically correct to call it a remix. It's really a bootleg or edit.
That said, edits/bootlegs can still be totally awesome! They can add to your sets and be your secret weapons.
Finding great bootlegs is usually done in the record stores because that's where you find un-authorized pressings. Yes, I reminisce about my vinyl buying days. The experience of getting to the city, going to the store. Picking up flyers and free magazines and throwing them in my shopping bag on the way out. That was all fun but one of the huge things I miss are those hard to find white labels.
One example that comes to mind is a mix of Depeche Mode's Only When I Lose Myself. Now, Lexicon Avenue did a fabulous remix Jon Digweed used to play. At the same time "DNA" seemed to have made an edit of theirs and released it on vinyl with a Lenny Kravitz mix on the other side.
The DNA mix was a big tune at New York's Sound Factory, I happened to have bought a copy.
It now goes for $20 and up.
I also recently got the Lexicon Ave remix along with some other old gems from Discogs.
One of which was the old classic pop dance song by Black Box "Everybody Everybody."
Hell of a tune. I love techno, house, metal, blues, and love a lot of 90s dance/pop of the time. Toni Toni Tone, Bell Big De Voe, Notorious Big, Dee-Lite. Shit like that.
One of my mates, a real vinyl junkie, buys a ton from Juno and has them shipped over. We were spinning a nice set. He plays this nice tech house groove. Some chords start, they sound super familiar. Ahh I know this tune.
Then more of the record comes on and I realize it's a boot leg of Black Box everybody everybody.
I recorded our set which made for a good commute soundtrack.
But I needed that black box track, so I was like fuck it I can make my own. I realized that the bootleg my friend had used this a capella which has the vocals plus some strings and keys. I wish it was just the vocal but oh well.
Anyhow, I got the 12 inch and recorded it into ableton and did the usual time stretching.
From there I started chopping the keys and adding a kick, bass, hi hats and other parts.
I didn't add a ton of stuff because I like the rawness of it. That's usually the vibe of these edits/bootlegs.
Good places to find material for edits/bootlegs are:
Beatport - look for tools and stuff.
Vinyl - shop discogs, get a turntable.
Once you've found a tune you want to try your hand at remixing you'll need to identify the musical key.
Not so hard with Rekordbox or Mixed in Key. These will analyze the root note of your track. I think Traktor does the same.
From there you'll probably want to find a kick drum that works. After that adding bass is easy because you know the key so start playing a bass note in the root of the song.
In the case of the Black Box tune it's "F."
From there you have to arrange the tune in a sensible way. If you need help on that go here.
Bootlegs are a great way to try your hand at producing!
You're starting with a lot great source material so things like a nice vocal, or catchy melody are already handled. Some of the arrangement is done so you can work w/ the flow of the source material.