Hive Five: Our Daily Listicle of Musical Musings
For years, Chicago mash-up duo the Hood Internet have been on the forefront of musical fusion by pitching together vocals and instrumentals in bizarre pairings such as Drake and Beach House ("Walk in the Park Is Over"), Dizzee Rascal and Cyndi Lauper ("Girls Just Wanna Fix Up"), and the Clipse and Cat Power ("I Don't Blame You For Shinin' And Grindin'"). Here, the Hood Internet's Aaron Brink offers up five premium tips for making your own mash-up masterpiece. Let the party begin:
1. Match the Key
This is the most important thing to get right if you are using a vocal with a melody. Nothing gives mash-ups a bad name like a vocal track dropped over an instrumental that is in a whole other key. If I'm thinking of using a track, I'll figure out what key it's in by playing along on guitar, make a note of it, and then drop it in an iTunes folder so I can see what will work together just by looking at it.
2. Use What You Like
If everyone making mash-ups chose two really popular songs and mixed them together there would be no variety. Have a sound that's specific to your tastes and there are sure to be others who are into it too -- unless you have really horrible taste in music, in which case you can make mash-ups for your own enjoyment.
3. Listen With an Ear for Mixing
When you listen to music, be on the lookout for something you can use in a mix. We often get asked about where we get the instrumentals for tracks we make. Usually there are no instrumentals, so you have to keep an ear out for songs that have instrumental sections you can cut up.
4. Get Creative About Cutting Up Tracks
When you are sampling a song to make the backing track, it can be tempting to just find one part and loop it. The problem is, that can make for some boring mixes that will lose peoples' interest after 30 seconds. Try adding extra instrumentation, using effects, and layering different parts.
5. Have a Sense of Humor!
Your mash-ups are not redefining music or changing the world. You are not making the next Nevermind, The Chronic, or OK Computer. They are supposed to be fun and they can often be funny too. Have some perspective and don't take your music too seriously.
The Hood Internet's new album FEAT is out October 2 and features vocal contributions from A.C. Newman, Class Actress, Zambi, the Rosebuds and more.