matt skiba
Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba performs in . (Flickr/Victoria Morse)

Audio remixes give songs alternate lives. They reinvent music by shining light where darkness was in sight. Remixes break barriers and transcend genres.

It was September 2000 and the course of my life was about to change. Attending school in Boulder in a time when punk rock was center stage in my life, one of my favorite bands—Face To Face—was coming to Denver for an event that I would not skip. My hazy recollection tells me that they put on two back-to-back shows at the Ogden Theatre and that I attended both nights with two different friends.

The show's three opening bands were all new to me: New Found Glory, Saves The Day, and Alkaline Trio. The venue was uncrowded during the first set, New Found Glory. By the time Saves The Day was on stage, Denver's punk-rock fans had begun to fill the room, and we had magnetized to a position right up front at the rail. The first two sets rocked, but it was the third set—Alkaline Trio—that altered the course of my life.

Alkaline Trio's straight-up intensity and heart was undeniable and I was hypnotized. It was their performances those nights that inspired me to learn to play guitar and later write my music. Maybe it would have happened anyway—I'll never know. This was the spark that started the fire. When Face to Face was up next, the venue was surging!

Flash now to Alkaline Trio's recent "I Found Away" remix contest. Had I been in the loop earlier about this contest, I would have been all over it and contributed my own remix. There's no chance I'd have topped the winner, MacLes Music Factory, who remixed pop punk into dub. Punk rock and dub both had their alpha stage in the '70s. This song works so remarkably well as a dub remix because punk and reggae are similar in that they often share lyrical themes like social criticism, angst, and love. Alkaline Trio lyricizes dark subjects in an upbeat way.

Punk and reggae also tend to share simple chord structure and 4/4 time signature. Regardless, there doesn't need to be a reason—if it sounds good, then it is good—so why ask why? This is just a great example of creative collaboration and music 2.0 promotion. Open remixing gives genre-crossing artists a stellar way to broaden their fan base.

There's no doubt that collaboration brings brilliance to life. Collaboration is king. Online collaboration is still embryonic. Open remixing will put more diverse and imaginative music into scene than ever before. Genres will blend. Interpretation is in the ear of the remixer. With the thriving emergence of online collaboration platforms, it's easy to be a remixer. The music is there and you can be a part of it. You know you want to. Go remix the planet.