Advice · Music · Personal

Music Production

Good day/evening, fellow reader.

I’ll go through few steps I consider are crucial on producing a song, following the patterns I got used to use.

Disclamer: I’m not professionally learned on how music is or should be processed. All I say here is from my emotional development point of view and what I learned throughout the years, of me producing music. I also don’t know how to write my music on music sheets, but I want to give it some time at some point.

Patterns

I like to think that many composers to artists use a specific pattern they fit with what they wanted to put out, produce and perform as. I’ve got one of that too, less prepared and less professional, but I’m personally pleased with my productions, so here’s what I follow:

Signature Sound

Specific type of sounds, style if I may say, which build up your whole record look and feel, that when someone’s listening to your production, reminds them about you or your name, if with less of a message in it.

Myself, I’ve got a few rules I do not limit myself at. I never use black keys. I love overlapping sounds which almost form a completely fitting instrument and let my music get as natural as possible – not talking real-life instruments, I mean about the sound architecture and the quality artifacts which makes the sounds, sound less studio like (dirt artifacts, I love those).

Breakdowns & Bridges

My most favourite parts of a song to produce are the (occasional) breakdowns after or before bridges (bridges would begin at —————|—— within the song). They – in my view – are meant to sound better, more mature and major than the rest of the whole song. Each one of my songs have bridges and I usually put 40% of the whole time spent into the bridge.

Breakdowns are the boost up of a song (for example, in my song Dear the breakdown is at 3:28), a specially produced little segment which feels different and more energetic.

Minimalism

I use it at least at a minimum level. Minimalism is when there are very few instruments in a song, feeling very empty and ambiental (especially if no vocals). I used it strongly to 2 of my songs from Glove and standalone TXT (Remix).

Bass

My key of them all (combined)! Bass play is basically the cherry on top, filling up everything that’s left out of a song, that’s why I invest enough time on producing very specific subwoofer melodical lines which compliment the kicks and lead instruments in a song. I personally love the bass in my songs. Makes the song feel so much more powerful when listening to a large audio system (car or home-cinema).

Love

Cliché and what not, but really, whenever I produce, I always fall in love with the sound. And as it gets better (more melodical lines and better sound), the motivation and happiness boost myself up at max. Then for few days next, I keep often relistening to my songs. I usually give it a play right the next morning as soon as I wake up, because I usually forget the whole song, so I’m gonna love it again once I relisten it.

Feelings

Another cliché section, fair enough. But definitely important. This is the root fruit of my inspiration and production of my songs. I love instruments and whenever I want to express something, I search for hours in my library for the most fitting instrument.

Percussion

Kicks, hats, snares and claps. These are very important. From the drum loops to the pitching and vibe of the kicks, that shapes the whole song. Basically the house foundation of a song.

I have a very weird way of producing. Not technically, but my loops do not follow any genre styles, so whatever it is, it is. I used to call my music genre Kobe. It was a made up word for a combination of soul + electronic + pop kind of music.

Arpeggios

Just don’t use them. Except it’s just background sound. I used them in 2-3 times maximum in about 40 songs I produced. They are a sequence of sounds, basically. Check my song named Night, the lead is an arpeggio, and still love the song, but it’s an exception.

I dislike them so much because they are so out of date of how music should sound like, saying this based on the predefined ones in my plugins, and they just ruin a lot of good ambience that should be existent.

Imperfection

As I stated before, I love hearing the quality artifact sounds, the little clicks, or like a vinyl scratch. These details make the song classic for myself and artistic, based on my style.

Technicality

I’ve always used FL Studio (began with a demo version of FL Studio 9), to currently FL Studio 12. I’ve worked with Ableton long time ago for Clouds and We Can’t Chill.

For instruments, I am usually using FL defaults and Nexus and Native Instruments Kontakt. For bass I’m using the good old FL Studio ‘Square’ instrument, which is a beep sound. If smoothed out and bring it up with 2 more octaves under, you’ll get a smooth, HQ bass.

My production steps:

  1. Remove Fruity Limiter
  2. Insert an instrument, choose one temporarily, create a loop and change the instrument if not fitting anymore.
  3. Repeat 2 for few other areas of the song.
  4. Insert Ozone Izotope mastering plugin, to have a good time producing (will be tweaked over time, since instruments create radically different frequencies).
  5. Choose drum-kits from FL’s defaults.
  6. Create a percussion loop and re-balance kick progression.
  7. Do exports and listen on a bigger device.
  8. Edit more.
  9. Repeat few more steps.

After the song is done and master properties sound good, I always export the whole song in multiple formats, higher/lower quality (mp3, ogg, flac, wav) and append metadata information to all the songs (title, song number, artwork, etc).