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TOM SWOON'S GUIDE TO REMIXING

The remixking opens up his studio to DJ Mag

Tom Swoon Remix Studio
Tom Swoon Remix Studio

Polish EDM star Tom Swoon is an artist in ascendance. Earlier this year he debuted at No.46 in our annual Top 100 DJs poll, confirming his place among the World’s very best. His rising status as one of EDM’s go-to remixers has led to him being dubbed the Remixking in certain quarters. We caught up with Swoon in his studio in Poland to find out how he approaches the art of the remix.

Hey Tom, Please can you tell us some of the artists you have remixed?

“For me, it’s always such a big honour to being asked to remix someone I’ve been looking up to as an aspiring artist. So far, I’ve had a pleasure to remix huge artists including Linkin Park, Leona Lewis, Kelly Clarkson, Dido, Owl City and Steve Aoki. It’s an amazing feeling to be a part of something made by such legends!”

Why do you think you have gained such a big reputation for remixing in a relatively short time?

“It’s hard to be objective here, but I feel that gaining support from the non-EDM fans of a song’s original artist is the biggest reward a remixer could get so I want to thank the artists who have given me such a great opportunity.”

If you could remix any track or artist, who would you choose?

“I would love to remix Lana Del Rey! I hope she is reading this…”

Do you think it is easier for people to get into remixing these days, with the abundance of online competitions, NI Stems, and widely available accapellas etc?

“Definitely. I actually first got my break by entering a remix competition for Melanie C’s track ‘Your Mistake’ – the CD and a letter with congratulations were the first thing I won as the beginning producer and gave me an incredible dose of motivation to keep producing more and more.”

So, how do you approach each new remix. What is the first thing you do to get started?

“The chord progression and the main hook are my base. The moment I’m happy with those two, it feels like the rest is just falling into the right place, piece by piece.”

And what software and tools do you use?

“I produce with FL Studio 12, but on tour I also work with Logic. My favourite tool to use when remixing has to be Fruity Slicer. I chop the vocal and other stems up this way in almost every remix.”

Do you tend to use the same strategy with each remix? Would you say you have a kind of ‘formula’?

“I start every remix the same way as I start any other production, playing around the given vocal with piano, and looking for the right melody to ‘click’ in. The thing what differs for each remix, is that I never use the old projects as a base for a new ones. Starting from a complete scratch is my way to go.”

How do you approach remixing tracks that are a totally different genre - like a pop track, for instance?

“It really depends on each track, because sometimes I worked with the pop records as if they still would be a dance track, keeping my 128bpm vibe on! I’ve worked this way with a remix for Dido’s ‘No Freedom’. But for some remixes, I’ve decided to try something new, with a different tempo and mood – like when I remixed Leona Lewis’ ‘Thunder’ and Kelly Clarkon’s Invincible.”

What tips would you give to upcoming producers who want to get into remixing?

“Try to flip things over, forget about the original record’s structure and think about it as if you would be working on your own track. Also, see if maybe any other element you find in stems apart from vocals could really compliment your track’s interpretation.”

Check out Tom Swoon’s remixes on his official Soundcloud page.