You are a DJ too – the idea remix strategy

If you’ve ever seen me DJ live, or watched a recorded set, you’ll know one thing about me right away: expect the unexpected.

In fact when I was first gaining traction as a DJ back in college I was known as the Oh Sh!t DJ.

I’d mix tracks together and the crowd would be like: “Ohhhhhh, Sh!!!!!!T”

This was because I was blending genres (ACDC with Eminem or Spice Girls into ABBA) or musical eras (Biggie’s Juicy into the original Juicy Fruit by Mtume)

The OH SH!T moments that an audience experiences occur in the transformation of the familiar into something new and exciting.

Let me explain:

Now I’ll date myself here and remind you this was before anything digital. Just two actual vinyl records mixing multiple genres live on stage.

But back then DJs were fairly limited to the amount of manipulation we could do live and most “remixing” was done in the studio – like the classic alternative version remix you know about.

We had fewer inputs, tools, and techniques we could deploy.

In today’s digital world, additional strategies are more accessible and the technology makes them available to do both in-studio and also live, in key and on beat.

As you realize by simply looking around you, you have a limitless supply of inputs, tools and techniques as well.

Take a look at some ways you can remix a song, then below that you’ll see how remixing applies to you:

  1. Layering: This involves adding multiple layers of sound to the original track. This could be additional harmonies, melodies, or rhythms that complement the original song and add depth to the sound.
  2. Sampling: This is the process of taking a portion, or sample, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a sound recording in a different song or piece. It’s a common technique in many genres, especially in electronic and hip-hop music.
  3. Effects Processing: This involves using audio effects like reverb, delay, chorus, or distortion to change the sound of the original track. These effects can dramatically alter the mood and feel of the song.
  4. Mashups: This is a technique where the DJ combines two or more songs, usually by overlaying the vocal track of one song seamlessly over the instrumental track of another. The result is a unique blend of the songs that sounds like a completely new track.
  5. Looping: This involves taking a small section of the song and repeating it throughout the track. This can create a hypnotic effect and is often used in dance and electronic music.
  6. Key Change: Changing the key of the song can give it a completely different feel. For example, moving a song from a major key to a minor key can make it sound more melancholic.
  7. Genre Switching: This involves changing the genre of the song entirely. For example, a pop song could be remixed into a techno track, or a rock song could be turned into a ballad.

Again, when I first started we didn’t have many of these luxuries to use live, but nonetheless, one thing holds true:

The OH SH!T moments that an audience experiences occur in the transformation of the familiar into something new and exciting.

You are a DJ too

Now you understand what a remix actually consists of.

You understand the essence of the remix and why it’s impactful to an audience.

Can you think of how the art of remixing could be applied beyond the dance floor?

This powerful strategy is not exclusive to music.

It can be a game-changer for your life and business as well.

In effect, we are all DJs.

And every single thought you have is a remix. 🤯 

It’s some combination of all the inputs you’ve ever taken in since the moment you were born!

The idea you’re having right now is a transformation of the familiar into something new and exciting.

I’ve used this strategy intentionally to produce remixes and curate set lists.

Now as a business strategist, I apply the same principles to create valuable content and strategies for you.

It’s time to see how you can harness your new superpower.

How to Consciously Remix Your Ideas

You realize now that everything you read, watch, study, hear and learn becomes a tool in your arsenal.

Every breakup, every birthday, every evening walk, literally EVERYTHING becomes a file stored in your brain’s version of a digital production studio.

Now you can intentionally apply tactics like layering or sampling to take existing concepts, blend them together, and produce something new and valuable.

Here’s my step-by-step guide:

  • Identify Your Tools: Just like selecting records for a set or sounds for your layers, you need to identify the ideas or concepts you want to mix. These should be strategies, techniques, or insights from different industries or disciplines.
  • Understand Your Audience: To be successful I had to know my crowd and play the right music to keep them engaged (see below). Similarly, you need to understand your customers’ needs and preferences to create a product or service they’ll love.
  • Mix and Remix: Experiment with different combinations to create the perfect mix. Combine your ideas in various ways until you find a blend that works.
  • Test Your Mix: Before playing a set, I would test my ideas by sending them to other DJs or playing them for friends. Similarly, you should test your new idea in a small, controlled environment before launching it fully.
  • Iterate: Based on feedback, I would tweak my sets and sounds. You should do the same with your ideas. Refine and improve them based on customer feedback.

Idea remixing is not just about creating something new.

It’s about adding value!

It’s about taking the familiar – the known – and presenting it in a fresh, exciting way that resonates with your audience.

It’s about standing on the shoulders of giants and seeing further.

So, are you ready to become a DJ of ideas?

Are you ready to remix, innovate, and add value like never before?

Remember, we are all creators, and we are all DJs with our ideas.

Until next time, keep rockin!

Brian ‘this entire letter was a Remix’ Orr

Bonus Insight:

Adapting to different audiences

As a performing DJ, I had to curate sets based on the varied musical preferences of different audiences.

Here are some of the varied demographics I encountered:

  • Age: Was it a young college crowd who demanded current hits? Or an older crowd who appreciates classics?
  • City/Region: Different cities and regions have different musical tastes. What works in New York might not work in Miami.
  • Country: Different countries have unique musical tastes. A set that gets people dancing in the US might not have the same effect in Sweden.
  • Event Type: Nightclub? Festival? TV appearance? Red carpet movie premiere party? Every one of them carries a unique set of characteristics that should determine what you play.
  • Set Time: I wasn’t always a headliner. Playing to where the crowd is at is highly important.

This experience taught me the importance of understanding and adapting to my audience, a lesson I’ve carried into my business career.

Just as a DJ must adapt their set to the audience, so too must you adapt your products or services to your customers. Understanding your customer demographics is crucial to delivering a product or service that meets their needs and resonates with them.

Consider the age of your customers. Are they younger, more tech-savvy individuals who value innovation and trends? Or are they an older demographic who appreciate tradition and reliability?

Think about the region your business operates in or the markets you’re trying to penetrate. Cultural nuances can greatly influence consumer behavior and preferences. What works well in one region or country may not be as effective in another.

Reflect on the nature of your business and the context in which your customers will use your product or service. A product meant for leisure use will have different requirements from one intended for professional use.

Consider the timing of your offerings. Are your products or services more relevant at certain times of the year, or do they cater to a specific occasion or event?

Understanding and adapting to your audience isn’t just about making sales—it’s about building strong, lasting relationships with your customers.

By showing your customers that you understand and value their unique needs and preferences, you’ll earn their trust and loyalty.

This is a lesson that holds true whether you’re spinning tracks at a club or running a business.

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