Sometimes the only way to improve your own creation is to do it yourself. Almost every modern dance hit, prior to release is handed out to a selection of producers and artists who rip the innards from a song and fashion it in their own mold, with results varying from a minor tweak to completely restructuring and timing the song to suit the remixers own ends. However when an artist chooses to have a go at messing about with their own work, and create what is known in the industry as a VIP mix, which stands for 'Variation In Production' (and not as an acronym for celebrity endorsement), wonderful things can happen!
Often much more exclusively played, these mixes can gain a cult following amongst fans as the ultimate expression of a song's potential, less commercial and more focused on providing the ultimate musical journey. They delve deep into the artist's creative sphere and this list features a few of my favourite VIP's, though feel free to comment or tweet me if you think there are any stand out tracks that I've somehow skipped over!
Enter Shikari - Quelle Surprise (Rout VIP Mix)
Rou Reynolds, lead singer of the most exciting live band around (in my bruised and raved up experience) puts his production flair into quite a few of the band's songs, but for energy and uplifting power, nothing beats this belter! With a soft, trance like introduction that drops into a funky, popping riff over skank worthy beats before melting into a thuggish, battle ready cacophany of bass, beats, squeals
and wobbles before rising up from the murky depths to do it all over again!
Dillon Francis - IDGAFOS 2.0
Discovered on his Soundcloud, and providing all the thrills of the original, changes in the way the song builds, an emphasis on the arcadesque riff and a little bit of extra emotional pull serve to usher in another lovely chunk of moombah from someone who really does know all about it! Although the squealing leads and lack of vocals free from twisting may not be to everyone's taste, if your into this sort of stuff (as I rather am), then you'll love this!
Sub Focus - Timewarp (VIP Mix)
With the original already considered a classic by modern drum & bass heads, Nick's subtle reworking of this surprisingly accessible belter accentuates all the little production tricks that make Sub Focus's tunes quite so high quality. The basic song structure is unchanged, but adds extra little bits of drums, and reworks several of the basslines, most notably during the second build up, with a mangled vocal sample thrown in for good measure. If you want a template for a great VIP mix, this is probably it!
Pendulum - Different (Electro Mix)
An example of quite how rare VIP mixes can be, the first time anyone heard this mix was during Pendulum's explosive live show at Glastonbury in 2009 (it had only been written the previous day.) Two years later Rob Swire released the mix on Twitter, and it can now be found lurking in the bowels of the internet. Slowing the tempo down to a lethargic 115bpm, but upping the power of the beats, electronic sounds and all round whallop, it turned the song into a proper house banger and may have been part of the inspiration for Pendulum's later hit, The Island.
Digitalism - 2 Hearts (Techno Remix)
What makes this track rather special is that instead of merely fiddling around with little bits of instrumentation, Digitalism chose to complete rewrite 2 Hearts in a brand new genre when constructing this VIP. With a relentless, driving set of drums and a punchy new bassline that hold the synths and vocals together, along with the addition of plenty of new effects and little beeps and bleeps that give the track a unique flavour, creating something progressive and fun!
Nero - Must Be The Feeling (VIP Mix)
One of the VIP's that I've had the privelige of hearing live when Nero performed in Cardiff earlier this year, and was released on the Must Be The Feeling EP, this rewrite keeps the melodies fairly similar, with more emphasis on the organ sounds and a slightly more laidback tempo. The build up and reworks only serve as a light starter to the meaty main course of drop, which hits with growls, lashings of bass sauce (I really should eat before writing this!) and when it hit the speakers in Cardiff, turned the crowd into a seething, sweaty mosh pit. Top tune!
Available for free from Ayah's website, this is a slightly different take on rewriting your own tune by stripping back all the layers of production to create a classic combination of piano, voice and a little strings to add depth. Whereas the original is a 2012 club special, female vocals, bass wobbles and a thumping kick drum, by going back to basics the song packs so much more emotional punch, and brings the lyrics to life and unlocks a ballad that tugs at the heartstrings.
A Special Mention - Knife Party
This may initially seem like a controversial choice for a special mention, not just since both members of this DJ duo already feature here in a previous outfit (Pendulum for those of you who live under a rock) but have never actually sold a single VIP mix. Yet throughout the internet and at a score of live shows Knife Party's VIP mixes of their various songs can be heard and adored, and with Rob Swire's indication that they might release a VIP EP at some point in the future, they have quite a presence in the world of rewriting your on tunes. The current list of self made remixes stands at at least 4, with Rage Valley, Internet Friends, Destroy Them With Lazers and their own remix of Nero's Crush On You all providing a little extra flair to their already impressive branch of electronic music.