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Church Sound: Remixing—You’ll Never Look at Mixing The Same Again

Think of your work as a remix of the original...
This article is provided by Behind The Mixer.


You are a live music remixer. 

Think about it, the majority of songs performed during a church service are interpretations of the original. 

They are new arrangements.  They are played with more musicians, less musicians, different instruments, no instruments, or in different music keys. 

It’s your job to take this new arrangement and make it sound great.

I hadn’t really thought about it as remixing until recently. A few days ago, I was thinking about a Hillsong song that I’d heard on CD and live at a couple of churches. They were all different but they sounded great. 

Then, this morning, I was sitting in my den and glanced at a book on my desk. The book is ”The Remix Manual.” And that’s when it hit me.

What Is Remixing?

When it comes to remixes, most people hear these as alternate versions of songs on the radio. For example, there are a couple of popular country music songs in which the song has been remixed with a bass emphasis and where rap music is interspersed. I see this as a sign of the second coming.

Seriously, though, a remix is an alternative version of a song in which there can be changes in the tempo, mood, groove, and arrangement. In some cases, the remix sounds like a completely different song. 

A remix is usually thought of as a version of a song in which a studio engineer has taken parts of a previously recorded song and changed, rearranged, and added new parts.

What Is Remixing For The Church Sound Tech?

As a musician, I wouldn’t say I was playing a remix of a popular worship song. I’d say I was playing a new arrangement. 

As a sound guy, I find it helpful to think of it as a remix because I have final control over the sound of the arrangement of an existing song. Remixing for the church sound tech, therefore, should be thought of as the mixing of a song in a new way.

Simon Langford, in his studio engineer’s book “The Remix Manual,” expresses the idea of remixing in a perfect way that I believe equally applies to mixing new arrangements in the live environment. He says:

“Think of every song as a story, a collection of words that conveys an emotion, or a journey; something unique and something personal. That story has its own language. That “language” might be pop, it might be R&B, or it might be rock. Our job, as remixers, is essentially that of a translator. We have to take that story and translate it into a different language, our language [that meets the desires of the audience] while keeping at least the meaning of the story intact.”

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