The remix deck is slowly picking up ‘traktion’, but rather than buying pre-made remix sets, which is a GREAT way to get started; I feel these remix decks will come into their own when people produce there own music loops. It is the simplest and best way to start getting into production and playing your own productions out! The remix decks will encourage people to branch out of simply playing other people’s music and push people into the realms of playing their own stuff. This is excellent for further developing your DJ’s skills too.
Why the Remix Deck?
As the remix decks are designed to play loops, you are able to experiment with short loops that you can create in any music production software. This way you don’t need to sit down and produce an entire track. You can start off small and make a short 8, 16 or 32 bar loops in your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and then export them to use in Traktor. This is the quickest way to get your productions infront of other people, even if they are only 32 bar loops.
In a recent article in MixMag, Ben Gomori writes:-
It’s true that in the vast, vast majority of cases, talented DJs can’t make a name for themselves these days unless they produce
Taking this into account, it might be a good idea to get into production. I consider the Traktor remix decks as the much needed stepping stone that will aid you in taking this direction.
Keep it simple
The simplest way to start is not even with producing, it can be sampling various loops from tracks you currently own. Take a bassline from the start of one track, a kick drum from another, a vocal sample from another and a synth line or some sort of melody from a fourth. Place them together and you have your own ‘mashup’ track. You can then do this with different tracks for each row in your remix deck. You can fill as many rows as you like, upto a maximum of 16. This way you have 16 new mashups to play out in your DJ Set. This is ‘producing’ in its simplest of forms.
Take the next step – Making your own loops
Once you have mastered the use of the remix deck, it’s time to start making your own music. You have many options available to you for this, including:-
- Maschine (including the free iOS version)
With free light versions of many DAW’s you can easily make simple loops to throw into your mixes. There is no feeling like playing something you made to a crowd of people, even if it is only a short loop. If allows you to test reactions and to experiment with sounds that work on the dance-floor.
If you don’t have the money to invest in a full DAW you can try out the light version of Ableton as a demo trial for 30 days.
Music Production in your pocket
Another option if you are an iPad or iPhone user, is to download the mini iMaschine app for iOS. This $5 app is exceptional for creating loops using either the built in factory sounds, or buy installing extra sound packs to create the sound you want. You can make beats anywhere and then export them to iTunes or your soundcloud account, making it possible to download your loops and use them in Traktor.
In this app you can set your tempo, and tap along to a metronome to lay down beats. It is most definitely the simplest way to get started with making your own loops. As it is portable you can practice anywhere and as a beginner, practice is the most important thing. It takes time to find your groove, but the more loops you make, the more groove you develop.
Buy or Download Free Remix Sets
Ok, ok, you cant be bothered with the whole production thing and you just want to hammer out some beats on the F1 right NOW! Thats easy – as Native Instruments have teamed up with Beatport, you can simply head on over to Beatport and lay down some cash for a pre-prepared and arranged remix set. This way you can see the remix decks in action without too much fuss. In an attempt to save you some coin, I remind you about the free remix sets on the NI site. Try these first and then if you are searching for a different sound you can head over to Beatport. It doesnt seem as if they have yet created a specific section for Remix Sets, but a quick search will turn up a couple of sets. Here is a set from Tom Trago.
The options don’t stop there however – Traktor Tips previously covered the website remixdeckset.com. This site contains user generated remix decks – once registered you can download these remix decks for free. A wonderful resource to get you started.
The choice is yours
Here I have given you a number of options in which you can begin to use the remix decks in your DJ Sets, there is no right or wrong way, creativity is yours. Experiment and have fun.
If you are still considering whether or not the F1 is something you should be investing in or not, you may like to check out the Traktor Tips F1 unboxing video.
If you have been using Remix Decks and have any other suggestions feel free to tell other readers here in the comments.