Remix culture and why it’s so important

“A remix is an alternative version of a song, different from the original version. A remixer uses audio mixing to compose an alternate master recording of a song, adding or subtracting elements, or simply changing the equalization, dynamics, pitch, tempo, playing time or almost any other aspect of the various musical components”.


Over the past few weeks Tetu Shani and Mayondes song Chemistry, produced by Jinku, has been treated to one of the best musical phenomenons #NuNairobi has. The song has been remixed/reworked/refixed by a host of producers whose interpretations have been almost as good as the original. I was chatting with Tetu and he told me why he put up the stems and vocals for producers to use,

“I’m really huge on remix culture and open source creation so, pretty excited.”

That’s honestly one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever been told by an artist. The phrase ‘Open Source Creation‘ gives me CHILLS yo!

The original track

Chemistry isn’t the first song that’s been reworked by musicians here in Kenya. No I don’t mean Fifty artists jumping on one track and adding new 30 second verses to a song, I mean songs which have been rearranged by producers such Delas’ Mafeelings has been or Sauti Sols’ Nishike. These songs are important because it shows artists that not only is their work being listened but it’s inspiring more work. As Tetu says

“Open source creation is where you truly find innovation”

Hear the remixes on Tetu Shani’s Remix Challenge page on #NU

Yeah sure you trust your producer wholeheartedly but if you allow for remixes/reworks of your song then you might just find out that one of the hundreds if not thousands of producers working in studios bedrooms and classrooms in Nairobi, may just improve your song.

So it completely bothers me when there’s so few artists who allow for remixes. I know there’s always the worry of having your work stolen or you may believe that true artistry is completely and ABSOLUTELY protecting the integrity of your work, but ask any of the artists whose work has been remixed, and they’ll tell you that they never felt robbed or insulted, in fact they felt complimented.

Artists put your work out there and let other people show you their interpretation of it, and remixers/producers don’t fvck up the opportunity when it’s handed to you. Having a musician, on the soundcloud post of your remix, typing “blasphemy” after every misplaced high hat is not doing anyone want favours.