The Unoffical Rules Regarding Remix Naming

There’s a few unspoken rules that have developed on how to name remixes. Let’s start with Nice and Soft and Smooth as an example.

I feel it’s important to give remixes interesting, catchy names when you’re doing the remixing yourself. Normally, remixing takes on the name of the person doing it. So if this song was remixed by Daft Punk, it’d be called “Mixer Jaëxx – Nice and Soft and Smooth (Daft Punk Remix)“. You don’t need, or want, to name the remix individually since the title’s already long enough with the remixer taking credits.

Now, if Daft Punk did mutiple remixes of the same song, then that’s when you’d see need to specifically call out the remixes with their own name or at least description. The first one would likely be called “Mixer Jaëxx – Nice and Soft and Smooth (Daft Punk Remix)“, but then the second one would need to be called either “Mixer Jaëxx – Nice and Soft and Smooth (Daft Punk’s Happy Remix)” or “Mixer Jaëxx – Nice and Soft and Smooth (Daft Punk Club Remix)“. Either giving a remix a name or simply calling out the type of remix (club).

When Remixing Your Own Music, Special Rules Come Into Play

I like giving my remixes names instead of just calling them generic descriptions. You gotta’ generate interest in people wanting to listen to the remix by just looking at the name. But the problem with that is, if I don’t call out that I’m the one doing the remix, the interesting names I give to my remixes will instead sound like the name of another artist.

For instance, take my first official remix release, 5 AM Awake. It had been given the remix name “ghetto speed”. So it’s the “ghetto speed remix”, cool. But look at the problem when I apply the rules above: “Mixer Jaëxx – 5 AM Awake (Ghetto Speed Remix)“. See the problem there? It looks like there’s an artist or grouped named “Ghetto Speed” that remixed the song.

I could just call it “(Remix)”, but that doesn’t add anything interesting for people to listen to the remix. Also, what if I ever wanted to do another remix of the song? It’ll have to have something else added to it, so might as well name it something identifying now.

What’s needed is to call out that I’m the one who did the remix. But it can look a little unprofessional and slightly egotistical if I do it like “Mixer Jaëxx – 5 AM Awake (Mixer Jaëxx’s Ghetto Speed Remix)“. Yuck, what a mouth full. (That’s what SHE said…) And, to me, it just looks so stupid. Imagine artists, groups or bands with longer names and it gets even worst. Now, I could just use my name, “Jaëxx”, and that don’t look too bad, but what about the acts that are group names, such as “The Crystal Method” or “Pretty Lights”, they don’t have the option of doing that.

Instead, what looks better is to use an acronym. “TCM’s” or “PL’s”. So what it turns into is “Mixer Jaëxx- 5 AM Awake (MJ’s Ghetto Speed Remix)”. This clears up confusion on the listener’s part, greatly reduces the length of an already long title and looks even slightly prestigious. If you gain a following, your fans will even start to look forward to seeing your acronym for a remix.

Ace of Base: Remix Masters With Confusingly Bad Remix Titles

Ace of Base pioneered remixing. I consider them remix gods considering remixing is something other mainstream groups looked down on or simply had no idea what a remix was (we’re talking 1993 after all). Keep in mind they were an unsuccessful techno group before renaming to Ace of Base. A lot of their club remixes are rooted in their nature. Before they even had an album or more than one song, they released their (not-technically) first and only song, All That She Wants, as a remix CD, then called “CD singles”. (CD singles from other popular acts were simply 2 to 5 songs or “radio edits” / “clean versions”, BS versions of songs adding zero value to the consumers who bought them.)

The track list for this version included the original, an extended mix and three remixes. Three remixes! They repeated this process again and again long after they needed to. For Ace of Base, doing remixes and finding collaborators to do remixing became as important as releasing new albums (their album list consists more of remix albums than normal albums).

Because Ace of Base pioneered the modern concept of remixing, it wasn’t possible for them to foresee the issues of not adopting a consistent remix pattern.

Look at the screen shot of this one remix album. Keep in mind this is their big, huge “best of” remix album. Zero consistency. The fact that the list is this confusing on one album speaks wonders. “Happy Nation (Moody Gold Mix)”, is that the name of the remix or a person? Plus, the song isn’t a “mix”. The Beautiful Life remix literally has a dash like it’s a completely new song. “Ace of Base – Beautiful Life – Lenny B’s House of Joy Club Mix)“, it’s not a mix, it’s a remix, and it starts as a dash but ends with a parentheses.

Probably the most confusing are the two songs with “(2009)” in them. Now, they can slightly be forgiven as what they’re doing is actually a new, unnamed thing to my knowledge. They’re doing remakes… recreations, of those songs. Not only is everything completely new, but it was made with only three members of the group.

It’s not a remix, since everything’s new and has a modern, updated sound… It’s not a new song, since they’re using the same lyrics (hence the name of the song staying the same). It’s more akin to a band doing a cover… of their own song?

See how confusing it is, especially that the two songs appear on a remix album! The songs are a sorta’ new breed of doing a song and Ace of Base really should have taken any attempt at creating a term for it, even if it’s not the catchiest term. “(Recreation 2009)” or “(Reimagined 2009)”. Heck, even “(Redo 2009)”. Anything is better than not giving this “recreating your own song” thing a name. If they had, other people in the industry could have latched onto it.

This is why it’s important to follow the unofficial remixing rules to avoid these issues.

The Difference Between Remixes, Mixes And Edits

It’s pretty clear what remixes are and we can define what is or isn’t a remix by describing when a song is a mix or an edit.

A song would be considered a mix when not much is done to the song. If a song has certain channels muted or highlighted, that would be a mix. Say a song has all elements removed except for vocals and a piano, that falls under a mix. Instrumentals and accapellas also fall under mixes, though adding “mix” is optional (but technically best practice).

When a song is an edit, it optionally can be considered a mix. Times when a song would be called an edit / mix are when the song is edited for the radio, such as being shortened or having curse words censored or when a song is stretched out. Also, anytime a song is edited for an unusual purpose, such as removing a vocal intro or cutting out a drum solo to fit a TV show or to make a song easier to play in a podcast, these would be considered edits or mixes. Either term used would apply, but generally, anything that is described in this paragraph would technically be called an edit.

Many times, songs that have club versions created are called “club mixes”, but this is incorrect, it isn’t a mix, it’s a remix. A true “club mix” or “club edit” is when a song is untouched except for having the beats extended at the start and end of the song with no fade outs, making it easier for DJ’s to beat match and cross fade a song.

The general rule of thumbs is; if the song gains any new elements or alterations to the arrangements, however small, it’s typically a remix.

That clears up when songs should be called a remix, mix or edit. Once you learn the differences, you start getting pretty annoyed when you see songs labeled incorrectly (constantly) by people who swear their Elvis Presley dubstep remix version is actually an “edit” or “mix”.

The Meaning Behind The “Ivory Melt” Remix Name

In Nice and Soft and Smooth (MJ’s Ivory Melt Remix), what’s the meaning behind naming the remix “ivory melt”? Ivory Melt has two meanings… The first is that ivory is a hard, smooth, non-liquid, such as marble. It’s impossible for ivory to melt (only burn and crack). So, if ivory could melt, I’d imagine it being like melted vanilla ice cream but hard as marble and impossibly smooth. A good way to describe is to say it’s nice and soft and smooth. …Boom.

But the second, more important meaning is just that it sounds cool! And ivory is a play on the white keyboard keys.

Later. – MJ