30 Jan '23 - blog / Event report, Knowledge

Remix your Way to LA – Five Tips for a Perfect Trailer Remix

Following up on the do’s and don’t’ article we shared about when it’s time to pack your bags and move to Los Angeles to make it big in composing, we’re now sharing hands-on tips and tricks on how to create a breath-taking remix that will land you jobs there. Jake Versluis is Vice President of A&R at Position Music, where he develops, signs, and licenses artists and music. He specialises in music for film, tv, video games, and advertising.

Taking the Buma Music In Motion panel at the ADE Conference last October as a starting point, Versluis guides you through what makes a remix for a trailer or video game a true winner. These are his five top tips:

1. The trend of artist songs, trailer cues, and cover songs is still going strong

Since 2013, the trend of using cover songs in trailer mixes has been going strong. Jake Versluis thought it would taper off by 2017, but covers are very popular. His tip: ‘Look at the marketplace and see where the needs are. Position Music gathers data from clients from all over the world and draws from existing records to make new music.’

2. Understand the structure of remixes

‘It’s important to understand the structure of remixes. Put in the time and do your homework. If we ask for a remix with loud subwoofers, we’re not expecting trailers with four-to-the-floor club beats, for example. A good tip would be to not listen to the whole song like “normal” music listeners would do, but to pull up the .wav file and see where the song spikes, rises or drops in the structure. Match that with the moving image and define the character of the trailer track.’

3. When clients ask for a remixed artist song, enhance it

‘Ask yourself: To what degree are you serving the original song, and to what degree are you displaying your own music and emphasis? Ultimately, when clients ask for a trailerised version of a song, they want the original artist song highlighted and enhanced, without losing the original characteristics. Don’t detract from what makes the song so syncable, which made the song do well in the first place.’

4. Take vocal elements from the original song and use it as an instrument

‘Something good to think about when you’re making an arrangement: How do you use the lyrics properly so that they make an impact? People tend to take the original song as it is and start composing around it, but that’s not necessarily what a good remix is. You don’t need to do that. It’s about taking the vocal elements and using them as an instrument. See it like you are making a new composition; you don’t have to follow the original song lyric by lyric. Instead, bring it in and drop it out in the right places. Blow people away and make them feel something.’

5. Mixing is a crucial component of creating

‘Should you submit to trailer companies or record labels, do the best job you can in terms of mixing. I spent a lot of money and time on mixing to get it right when I started. That was one of the first things I learned when I entered this industry. Also, call upon your buddies to get an extra evaluation before you submit it! In this fast-weaving world, if somebody loves something and can get the paperwork done quickly, you might run into people who want to pitch your track the same week. So, have the mix ready.’

Written by Meike Jentjens
Pictures by Roxanne Wilm
More info on Position Music