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Catching up with Beatport’s remix competition winners

By Beatport News Editors
1326913650_Winners

For over three years, Beatport’s remix contests have given contestants access to the parts to some of dance music’s biggest tracks, from classics like Moby’s “Go” to current club mainstays like Martin Solveig’s “Hello.”

Providing a platform up-and-coming talents to show off their production skills, we have seen thousands of entries across the years that have ranged stylistically from dubstep to the hardest techno.

Along the way, we have helped some spectacularly talented individuals make names for themselves. One of our contest winners, Zedd—a two-time champion, in fact—went on to work with Deadmau5 and Skrillex and is now a global phenomenon. Zedd is undoubtedly our most successful alumnus so far, but many winners have gone on to secure positions on a range of record labels.

We caught up with several of our past remix competition winners, including Zedd, to see how the recognition has changed their lives.

Acida Corporation – winners of the Umek remix competition

What’s been the biggest impact of winning the Beatport remix competition?

First of all we want to thank Umek, who has been our hero since we started to listen to techno many, many years ago, and this is the reason that makes us crazy for the victory. Obviously, thanks also to Beatport, which has made all this possible.

About your question, for sure the biggest impact of winning the contest has been the clear perception of the transition from the recreational to the professional context of music. After winning the competition, the biggest result has involved the relations between many artists and us. We were only classic “wannabe” producers, but now people refer to us as “the ones that won Umek’s contest,” and that’s pretty cool!

Winning the competition has had a tremendous impact on us. We don’t ask any more labels to publish our music, because every day we receive so many requests that we can’t satisfy everyone. But the biggest goal is that we have started to collaborate with many top DJs who didn’t even know that we existed before. Now we work with the same big passion as before, but we get a lot more satisfaction.

Now we are much more well known than before, and every day we receive some congrats for this or that track, and this thing is becoming bigger and bigger every day. The Beatport contest has been a super boost to our career, and we will pay back every single supporter with the best music that we can.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about entering a remix comp?

Do it professionally, and do it with your heart. Don’t do it just to try, and don’t do it only to demonstrate your music ability. We skipped a lot of contests just because the original was not a suitable track for us. You have to feel the music and be inspired by it; then you will reach a good result.

What projects have you been working on so far since winning the remix competition?

We are now collaborating with many great djs such as Alex Di Stefano, Norbert Davenport and MGJ, Simone De Caro, Angy Kore, Sisko Electrofanatik, Paolo Pellegrino, Libex and many others. We have published almost 30 new tracks in one year and we have worked for a lot of labels. Anyway, the biggest satisfaction is going to be included into Binary404 and Union Label projects.

We believe in techno and we believe into high quality music. We still have a lot to learn from the biggest DJs and, now that we are in touch, our professional career is rising incredibly faster!

Did winning change or affect your outlook or approach to your work?

For sure, we have learned that working hard and with passion always has a good payback. That’s why, just to mention some of our favorite producers, now we work harder, better, faster and stronger!

Our approach is now more critical and mature, just because we know that a larger public than before is judging our music. This doesn’t mean less fun while making the tracks, but only that now we have a much more critical approach in deciding which project we are going to publish and which one we are going to throw away.

Have you had any releases or major shows out since then?

Yes, we have had a lot of releases and shows and we have collaborated with big DJs. The most important goal that we have reached due to this contest is linked to the collaborations with many great producers and labels that we have always considered unreachable until now. Now we are planning our gigs for next season and for the first time it seems that our music will make people dance also in France, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and many other countries.

None of these results would have been possible without Umek and Beatport, so thanks again. A big appreciation goes also to the amazing staff of 1605, Press&Play and Binary404 who have supported our work.

We also personally thank Alex Di Stefano, who has always believed in us, Norbert Davenport with whom we collaborate on daily basis, Christoph Absolum from IBZ, Spartaque (who always supports our tracks) and Phunk Investigation (other super producers that we love), Alex D’Elia (Frequenza) and Nihil Young (Ready 2 Rock) our big friends. A big thanks also to our promotion staff, which is always doing a good job, in particular the technosession.com staff!

Zedd – winner of the Armand Van Helden and Fatboy Slim and competitions

What’s been the biggest impact of winning the Beatport remix competition?

My career basically started with the Armand Van Helden / Strictly Rhythm Beatport Remix Contest. At that point I had just barely begun producing electronic music; I did it more for fun. The remix competition was the first song / remix I had really tried to master, and so for me, it had a great impact. Through entering the Beatport contest my remix caught some people’s attention and I got asked to do other remixes. Winning the contest raised the interest of others a lot, and labels that didn’t reply to my mails suddenly were interested in releasing songs.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about entering a remix comp?

First of all, it doesn’t matter which genre you produce; it’s just about delivering an incredible product. When you do your remix, ask yourself: Is this really amazing? Is it better than others? Is the quality at the level of professional production of songs that are up on Beatport or being played by a lot of DJs? Is my remix any special? Would whoever is judging the competition be proud picking your remix and presenting it to the world as the winner? Do you have something special or unique in that remix that others don’t have? I can’t say if it’s right or wrong to ask yourself those questions, but I did when I entered the remix contests I won, and it helped me to push myself to the limit and try to be even better than I could be at that point.

What projects have you been working on so far since winning the remix competitions?

This is hard to put together in a short answer. I’ve been making tons of remixes for artists like Lady Gaga, Skrillex, The Black Eyed Peas, Diddy, Swedish House Mafia and many more; I’ve been releasing tracks on OWSLA, Dim Mak and other great labels, I’ve reached Beatport’s #1 several times, been on tour with Deadmau5 and Skrillex and worked on countless pop productions.

Did it change or affect your outlook or approach to your work?

I’m sure it did. Maybe more subconsciously, but it did or does for sure.

Seven Lions – winner of the Above & Beyond remix competition

What’s been the biggest impact of winning the Beatport remix competition?

Having a release on Anjunabeats was definitely the biggest impact of winning the competition. I have been a fan of Anjuna since I first got into trance and even submitted a demo to them back in ‘07. It has helped me build a relationship with some of the artists on the label who have been amazing with their support and advice.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about entering a remix comp?

I would say having realistic expectations is what will keep you sane and happy. If you see yourself making music 20 years down the road, regardless of where you are in the industry, then you are on the right path. Your passion, persistence and dedication will get you where you want to be. Learn all you can from your friends and people who are willing to teach you and then take that knowledge and make your own individual sound.

What projects have you been working on so far since winning the remix competition?

I just recently finished a remix for Velvetine (Myon & Shane54, Aruna). I also have a 4 track EP out soon on Viper Recordings.

Did it change or affect your outlook or approach to your work?

I know that my music will reach many more people than it did before the competition, so I feel like I need to work that much harder to make it special. The hardest thing for me now is to not be influenced by what I think people “expect” of my music. I don’t want to be known as only a “melodic dubstep” producer. I still love breaks, d&b, trance, electro… everything, really. The upcoming EP on Viper Recordings will showcase those other sounds.

Have you had any releases / major shows out since then?

Up and coming releases will be Velvetine – “The Great Divide (Seven Lions Remix),” an EP forthcoming on Viper Recordings and also a project that I am VERY excited to announce is a collaborationwith my good friend Amurai. We started working on this in the middle of 2011 and it is now pending a release on Armada.

I would also like to say thank you to Beatport for being such an active part in the electronic music community. You have given me the opportunity to reach some of the most influential artists of my life and I am so grateful!

Defence & Technique – winner of the Chromeo remix competition

What’s been the biggest impact of winning the Beatport remix competition?

I think the best thing is just the sheer exposure. We’ve had plenty of new SoundCloud followers since the competition. The Native Instruments prizes aren’t bad at all, either!

What advice would you give to someone thinking about entering a remix comp?

The best advice we can give is to just be yourself in your remix. Let it come naturally; don’t try to recreate the current styles. It always sounds better when you have a unique sound all your own.

What projects have you been working on so far since winning the remix competition?

Since the competition, we’ve been working hard on plenty of new remixes and originals. We’re working on building our local and international fan base, and finding new ways to spread our music around the world.

Did it change or affect your outlook or approach to your work?

If anything, it made us feel more confident with our work. It’s amazing to be recognized by the panel of artists that are the judges; it gives a great sense of accomplishment.

Have you had any releases / major shows out since then?

We’ve played many shows in the Denver area, and have had releases on Big Beat Records and Velcro City Records since winning.

A.R. Electrik – winner of the Tensnake remix competition

What’s been the biggest impact of winning the Beatport remix competition?

It’s definitely assurance that I must be doing something right.  Working hard always pays off.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about entering a remix comp?

Whether you win or not, It always comes down to the passion for music and creating.  It’s always a great way to promote and gain new fans and gets your foot in the door with the Beatport community.

What projects have you been working on so far since winning the remix competition?

I just finished working on several remixes, some are contests and others just collaborations. I should be starting an electronic movie soundtrack sometime in the next month if everything falls into place!

Did it change or affect your outlook or approach to your work?

Every remix and project I have been a part of since the competition has been a very different approach as I am constantly experimenting with new sounds, genres, and overall production.

Have you had any releases / major shows out since then?

I have recently released my new dubstep original mix PIHPSKTS on iTunes. Still waiting on release dates for some new remixes. On December 16th I had the privilege of opening for Mord Fustang and Candyland at 118 West Studios in Simi Valley, CA. 

Caveat – winner of the Martin Solveig Remix Competition

What’s been the biggest impact of winning the Beatport remix competition?

The impact of winning the contest has been tremendous—it has opened a vast amount of doors for me. I have begun talking to a lot of big people in the industry as a direct result of the “Hello” remix contest. More official remixes have sprung up, including my remix for Dada Life, as well as my first gigs being offered to me. More than anything else, I think the biggest impact has been the fans I have gained, and are deeply interested in my music.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about entering a remix comp?

As cliché as it might sound, my biggest advice would be not to give up. There were several points in the contest where I thought to myself that I could never win (especially after hearing some of the amazing entries). The more I heard my “Hello” remix, the more I thought that it sounded horrible. Nonetheless I decided to upload it, and despite what I had thought, I ended up winning!

What projects have you been working on so far since winning the remix competition?

Some the projects that I have worked on since winning the remix competition include my official remix of Dada Life’s “Happy Violence,” and my yet to be released debut EP. Hopefully I’ll be able to give out some more details about this in the coming months!

Did it change or affect your outlook or approach to your work?

Winning the contest affected my approach tremendously. I learned to continue working on things despite how bad you might think it sounds at the moment, to put into the mix every idea that pops in your head. “Hello,” for example, transformed dramatically: it was originally a dubstep remix, which sounded pretty horrible. The first half of the song was done and I was about to give up until I thought, “Hey, maybe changing the drumbeat and tempo wouldn’t be a bad idea.” The song evolved and that eventually turned into the remix that won the contest!

deepFREQ – winner of the Tim Berg remix competition

What’s been the biggest impact of winning the Beatport remix competition?

The coolest part of this competition for me was receiving support and recognition from one of my favorite producer/DJs. Tim Berg/Avicii‘s music has inspired both me and my music, and getting feedback from him on my own track was awesome.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about entering a remix comp?

Just go for it and make a tune that you want to make; I almost didn’t even submit my remix because I wasn’t really feeling it, but decided to send it in at 11:55PM on the last submission day. Make a remix that you like, stick with it, and send it in!

What projects have you been working on so far since winning the remix competition?

I’m always working on something. Right now I’m in the process of finishing up an original tune and working on a few remixes of some of my favorite tracks at the moment by artists like Afrojack, Bingo Players, and Coldplay. I’m also working on few hip-hop projects with some friends back home. So psyched to release all of them!

Did it change or affect your outlook or approach to your work?

For sure; this was my first competition I’ve entered and my first official release; it’s definitely given me some more confidence in my producing. I feel much more comfortable trying out new ideas when I am working on tracks.

Have you had any releases / major shows out since then?

I haven’t released any new, finished tunes yet, but there are several in the works that I cant wait to finish up. I have been having a blast DJing more events around my local area in the last few months; next year when I move out of my small hometown to go to college (and am old enough to actually be in the clubs) I hope to expand my music in a much bigger setting.

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