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#281418 - 01/22/15 02:30 PM [User Showcase] You Bring It Like A Storm
Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 66
Loc: Minnesota, United States
joesarahh Offline
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Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 66
Loc: Minnesota, United States
Ok, this one is fresh out of my studio. I did this one in the style of a song by Lorde called Yellow Flicker Beat. You can find that song here: Yellow Flicker Beat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PdILZ_1P74 I did this because song publishers are currently interested in songs with a Lorde "feel." They wish to purchase such songs for Television but don't want to pay the prices Lorde demands. Just call me Mr. cheap alternative smirk I will send it in soon and see if I get a result.

Fortunately, BIAB has added some stellar new stuff that is making my job waaaaaaaaaaay easier! For this piece I made heavy use of all the new acid loops included in the latest version. Here is how the song is constructed.

First a bass/synthesizer drone note that holds for the whole piece.
That is Drum n Bass 175 in A minor. I generally write in Ab as it's the sweet spot for my voice but a minor key was needed here to mimic Lorde's piece.

Next a nice heavy beat with lots of kick, offset by lots of stick. That is loop 90, lowrider. Now we have the basic feel and beat. We are off and rolling.

Next, add a haunting vocal with precise annunciation and an echo effect. gotta have high end preamps and mics for this kind of clarity. Ok, I'm liking it. for all you gear heads, Tascam's new UH-7000 preamp/USB audio interface is the Mishizle. Dead clear, no color, low price for the quality. I am recording with a Blue Reactor Mic. High quality on the cheap, sort of.

As we start the pre-chorus we want to add to the tension so we choose a chopped dirty electric guitar from a different genera. This is 642 HardRockThrashHollow. You should always ignore the genera and choose what feels right. If you stick with the genera for what you are creating your song will always sound canned. Don't ask me why, it just works that way.

Then we draw back most of the instruments just before the explosive chorus and replace them momentarily with a HEAVY grinding electric Bass that announces impending doom. 1009 Bass HardRockThrash

Then we hit it, the money shot, the big payoff, the massive chorus. We add percussion, percussion, percussion. But under no circumstances do we add much for cymbals simply because the genera this song is in does not like to interrupt the heavy driving beat with the high resonance of symbols. So we get out some realdrums, MetalSlowBigTomGroove, we add some shaker for color, then find we are edging on too low without much shine due to the lack of cymbals. Thus we add a new loop, House-Techno-Trance called dubbyhouse_130. It adds the percussive high end. and the chorus explodes.

That is more or less how the song was created. From there it goes to RealBand, I add some backup vocals myself but use the auto Harmonies to backup the choruses. For effects I use EZMix2 with a couple of expansion packs. I do love EZMix.

Here is the song. Sound Cloud - You Bring It Like A Storm https://soundcloud.com/joesarahh/you-bring-it-like-a-stormwav

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#281424 - 01/22/15 03:07 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: joesarahh]
Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 14876
Loc: Australia
Noel96 Offline
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Hi Joe,

This is fantastic! Everything sounded great on my system.

I'm also really appreciative that you took the time to explain the song assembly process in such detail. I'm very much a 'stuck in the way back when' kind of musician. Your approach has opened new doors of possibility for me. Thank you.

I hope publishers flock to your Soundcloud doorstep!

All the best,
Noel
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#281427 - 01/22/15 03:10 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: joesarahh]
Registered: 08/09/10
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rsdean Offline
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Joe,

This is an excellent production - loved everything about it.

Bob
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#281432 - 01/22/15 03:16 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: joesarahh]
Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 4978
Loc: South Carolina
Charlie Fogle Offline
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Loc: South Carolina
Great write and great production. I listened to the Lorde song and you did an excellent job getting the feel. I also enjoyed the details on your setup and your production thought process.

Excellent listen.

Charlie
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#281434 - 01/22/15 03:19 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: joesarahh]
Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 66
Loc: Minnesota, United States
joesarahh Offline
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Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 66
Loc: Minnesota, United States
Yes, folks to seem to like seeing how these songs are constructed. I hate to explain to much for fear of sounding more knowledgeable than I really am, but it seems the songs make more sense to people if they can see some of how it's put together, even if that construction is wrong it's helpful.

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#281438 - 01/22/15 03:37 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: joesarahh]
Registered: 05/22/11
Posts: 2988
Loc: Florida
tommyad Offline
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Registered: 05/22/11
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Loc: Florida
Joe, Welcome to the forum. This is some really good stuff. Very different from what is usually posted here. Nicely produced and very well sung and mixed. I also enjoyed the explanation. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to hearing lot's more from you. Tom

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#281439 - 01/22/15 03:42 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: joesarahh]
Registered: 11/15/14
Posts: 306
Loc: Belgium
FredM Offline
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Registered: 11/15/14
Posts: 306
Loc: Belgium
Hi Joe,
Welcome on the forum!
This is so professional! Much to learn here.
The song never lets go, it holds my attention right to the end. I believe you understand very well the art of creating constant tension, musical and emotional.
Very well done!

G

Fred

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#281443 - 01/22/15 04:23 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: joesarahh]
Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 66
Loc: Minnesota, United States
joesarahh Offline
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Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 66
Loc: Minnesota, United States
Well, I shipped it off to a publisher, fingers crossed and all. I will let you all know if they liked it. I have two more to send it off to as well.

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#281472 - 01/22/15 07:19 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: joesarahh]
Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 6327
Guitarhacker Offline
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Good job.... I had to listen on 2 different computers.... one with speakers and then the lappy with cans. What I heard on the speakers, I wanted to either confirm or not, on the cans. Since you have sent this off to a publisher.... that tells me you're obviously trying to play the game with the "big boys and girls" .... I will give you my thoughts on this mix. And understand that this is MY OPINION. The pro's are submitting their best and the publishers now days will accept nothing less than perfect. The song must be top quality in every aspect to be competitive in film & TV. What you submit will eventually be used "as is" if it's selected for a cut.

I'm not trying to be mean or discouraging here.... this is intended to simply point out the things I hear that would result in the producer passing on your cut and give you a differing point of view so that, if you decide, perhaps you can work on these things.

Yes, publishers do want to use "other than the big names" but less costly stuff that sounds like the artist style and sonically sounds very similar.

To understand what I'm saying here, you should A/B the song you did with Lorde's version. There's quite a difference between the sound quality of the 2 tracks. The genre style is similar enough and you did a super job on the genre/style match, but it has to go much deeper than that when you are trying for a spot on TV./film with a "sounds like" cut.

First thing....and I don't know if this is the case... but if they are asking for a "sounds like" this song, from artist Lorde....and the artist is female....... you might want to consider a female vocal unless they specifically say the gender of the vox don't matter.

Beyond that.....I think you're still lacking on the overall EQ and reverb quality of your mix vs the pro mix.

To my ears...and this is the short, quick, eval version..... the mix you did has a vocal that is much dryer and in your face a bit too much. Find a good reverb and set the vox back a bit into the mix. make it smoother sounding. Laying and doubling the vocal track might help in this area..... if you listen to Lorde, she has layered the heck out of her vocals especially in the chorus where the sound gets huge. I would also use vocal fixing such as Melodyne on something like this that's being submitted to film & TV.

The EQ of the instrument track is off as well... compared the the sound of the pro mix. When the chorus comes in the pro mix has a really clean, deep sounding bottom end that comes in and just kills. That is lacking from your mix. The mix you did has a lot of "confusion" going on in the bottom... and that makes it much muddier than the pro mix. Simply A/B the two mixes and listen on some good speakers or cans. Your mix is well on the way, you simply need to make some tweeks and do a bit of work to get it closer to the pro version.

Production chops.... where you come into the chorus... "You bring it like a ......." I'd mute the instruments for a second there to make the impact of the instruments hitting the chorus larger on the word STORM... little things like that make it huge.


I know you put in a lot of effort. It shows and your OP also documents it. I think what you have done here is really close.....and no harm in sending this to publishers.... heck you might get it signed to a library. It's not easy to get close to the sound of the pro's without a lot of hard work and production skills. I applaud you for doing this. But... have another look at the things I mentioned..... improve your skills in this area and keep working.

Do keep us posted on the publisher's comments on this.


Feel free to ignore this post as the ramblings of a nut case.


Edited by Guitarhacker (01/22/15 07:19 PM)
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#281475 - 01/22/15 07:48 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: joesarahh]
Registered: 05/23/10
Posts: 1654
Loc: New Zealand
RichMac Offline
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Registered: 05/23/10
Posts: 1654
Loc: New Zealand
Verrrrry interesting Joe!
And thanks for the production ideas.
I think the whole song is great! Lots of energy.
Cheers.


Edited by RichMac (01/22/15 07:49 PM)
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#281485 - 01/22/15 09:21 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: Guitarhacker]
Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 66
Loc: Minnesota, United States
joesarahh Offline
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Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 66
Loc: Minnesota, United States
Oh hey, great review. Just what I was hoping for. This is the kind of thing that makes me better with each song.
Let me explore the vocal presence issue with you a moment and get some more thoughts from you. I know the vocals are way out front, I suppose I do it out of fear. My thoughts go like this. I know the strengths I bring to the table are my ability to write, and my voice. I believe the weakest link is my reliance on software like BIAB. Don’t get me wrong it’s great stuff! But it does produce a very noticeable sonic signature if you’re not careful. I fight hard to overcome that signature then, I finish the process by bringing the voice way out front and hope nobody notices this is BIAB. I feel like I am trying to be sneaky. In addition, the publishing guru I read a great deal of tells me the modern music I am working on really wants that voice way out there. But . . . perhaps I have taken too far. I would love to hear you thoughts on my conundrum.
As for the EQ, you are obviously correct. Here the problem is honestly that I have reached my current level of incompetence at engineering, particularly pop engineering. I have yet to really understand how this genera of music gets a clean bottom end in a mix of nearly all bottom end. I continue to study and learn. I am sure I will get better in time, but I do hear the problem. Another problem I had here is the Drone note loop. It was the first loop I added to start the piece off with, and it was the wrong one. I found myself fighting it the rest of the production cycle and never really overcame it. I am sure you are hearing some of that struggle. The lesson here is more patience while I work. Get it right before I move on to the next phase.
On the positive side, there are a few saving graces. Yes I am submitting to publishing houses that are taking both male and female voices in this genera and style. Second, I am submitting to places that are asking for “high quality home studio recordings and production.” I think this meets that mark, but . . . . . . maybe not. It’s taken me about 6 years to get to this level and I can feel that I am right on the edge of crossing over. I know sending this in is jumping the gun just a little, but I need to start getting some professional feedback now to get a truer benchmark for just how close I am, or am not. Your critique helps a lot.

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#281534 - 01/23/15 05:15 AM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: joesarahh]
Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 6327
Guitarhacker Offline
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I don't really get into this genre very much... so I have not explored the possibilities that BB has to offer.

Quote:
Here the problem is honestly that I have reached my current level of incompetence at engineering, particularly pop engineering. I have yet to really understand how this genera of music gets a clean bottom end in a mix of nearly all bottom end. I continue to study and learn. I am sure I will get better in time, but I do hear the problem.


Hearing the issue is the first step to learning how to do it right. One thing I have noticed with the few styles that I have played with is that the bottom end is not full and clean enough (to my ears) to do a good job at a competitive level. The bass IMHO would probably need to be done manually with a synth using a sample or patch that does have that enormously huge sound. There's not easy "do this to fix it" that I can tell you.... it's what you have already acknowledged....keep leaning and keep doing. You will figure it out eventually. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Hint... go to other recording website forums such as Cakewalk and register to use the forum. Listen to the songs posted there. In Cake's forum there are songs from ALL genre's and very few of them are using BB so when you hear something that you want to emulate.... ask the person how they did that particular thing. Much of what I learned about recording and production came about in that very manner. Find people who already know what they're doing and ask them.

You are wise to understand that BB is pretty weak at times in certain genre's when it comes to being able to do contemporary sounding things. In most cases, it's simply that the "contemporary style" has moved on from where it was 12 months earlier.....remember that BB tracks are last years styles. Cutting edge stuff on the radio now, might be in BB in a year, maybe 2. So you're at a definite disadvantage in that area. I recognize that even in country. I don't see any Band Perry styles, or Florida Georgia line styles.... and by the time they show up, country will have moved the line again.

Quote:
Another problem I had here is the Drone note loop. It was the first loop I added to start the piece off with, and it was the wrong one. I found myself fighting it the rest of the production cycle and never really overcame it. I am sure you are hearing some of that struggle.


I did hear some things in the song that I didn't mention since I felt I was hitting some other things and no need to hit every nit. But yes, there are places where things didn't jive musically all on the same notes and such things....I call it combing the nits.... you have to go through your song with a critical ear. If things don't fit, if you hear something that's off or a click or anything that detracts from the song..... go through it and find and fix the issue. Often I will hear something in a song...sounds like a click or something like that, or a flubbed note.... I go back before that one measure.... and solo the tracks one at a time to find it. Sometimes it's not a single track but the interaction between TWO tracks. In this case, once I find the issue, a selective mute by envelope on one of the tracks for a single note solves the issue....

So if you hear things that don't work in the mix after a certain point in time into the mixing process, delete the track or at least mute it. It doesn't matter if you spent 10 hours of time on that one track... if it's not working, get rid of it. Referring to the loop you mentioned. I generally have 4 to 6 muted tracks setting at the bottom on any given project of tracks that didn't work in one way or another....or that I just didn't need. Never leave a track just because.....

One of the things I do is use the minimum number of tracks to get the job done. Less is more. That might be something to consider when it comes to the bottom end of the songs you are doing.... Use volume envelopes too. Listen to the target song you are working to emulate and see how the producer built that song.... use of instruments, when things are brought in and taken out... any obvious FX or reverbs, echo, EQ,,,, lots of things to consider.... you are reverse engineering the mix... so listen carefully and make notes if you need to do so.

On the vocals.... listen carefully to the target track and where the vocals are with levels and reverbs. NOW.... listen to how they have multiple layers in the chorus. Getting layering right isn't easy, but it's doable with time.

Here's what I do on vocals... I'll use Dust on the Floor, my latest song in the forum as the example. The lead vox was tracked 3x. One was up the center and it was fixed by Melodyne to correct for pitch drift and other minor pitch/timing issues. The other 2 lead tracks were panned 100% L or R respectively. I pulled them down to -18db to -20db below the lead. My test is by ear..... I solo the vocal bus and I can hear the other 2 leads really low. I un-solo and back in the mix I can NOT pick out the other 2 leads easily. With harmony, I record 2 tracks and place them -12db to -16db, panned 50% L/R and set the final levels by ear. I don't pitch fix the secondary leads or the harmonies unless something in the final mix sticks out as needing it. That would be a starting point for you to explore.

With pop, you want the harmonies to be "there" and almost like a part of the lead vocal.....with you DO NOT want is Gatlin Brothers, and Statler Bros style harmonies where all the harmonies are clearly heard.

I have used BB tracks in many of the songs I place with publishers. Several of the songs were 100% BB/RB tracks and the publisher's in question signed the songs. Some were submitted for several high profile current TV shows. So BB has the ability to get you across that high bar mark. Pay particular attention to the vocals. Use pitch fixing. An off pitch vocal will get you a pass rather that a cut.

On the other hand, I have had several publishers come back to me and tell me the music sounded "too midi" and to use "real instruments" and record the song again. In that case, there were no midi tracks in the song.....they were all real band renderings. So yes, some pubs have the ears to be able to pick that out and will turn you down before you get in the door. One thing to try to avoid that issue is to use tracks that are in the key of the song you are writing so that there isn't a need for major transposing with it's inherent artifacts. Careful editing in a DAW is also super critical.

I submitted a few jazz tracks that I thought sounded below broadcast quality to a library listing I saw a few years back. Knowing this was a major player in the market (from the listing info) I figured I was wasting my time but hey... what the hey... So I sent 2 tracks. One was accepted and sent on. The library contacted me in a few days and I sent them the other song as well plus a third. All were 100% BB/RB and not really the best quality recording.... not close to what I do now... but surprise, surprise... all 3 of the songs were signed and added to a CD this library was sending to the producer. You can never tell until after you send things in.

Remember, you are competing with the best of the best anytime you are trying to get a cut in film or TV. Doubt me? Simply listen to the quality of the music in the hit TV shows and films.... it's top of the heap.

Getting to broadcast quality is a milestone in itself..... but then, you still have to get the innovation and cool factor going to have your tunes stick out to the producers in the shows. They are listening literally to thousands of songs and cues to pick that one perfect cut that fits and works for them.

Keep working, keep learning, keep writing, keep exploring.... it will come together one day and start to work.


Edited by Guitarhacker (01/23/15 05:56 AM)
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#281594 - 01/23/15 12:34 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: joesarahh]
Registered: 08/10/12
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Loc: Florida
floyd jane Offline
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Joe,

Interesting song and a good start on your production.

The vocal is terrific. But the background (vocals) lack the sheen they need to have that ethereal sound. I would suggest duplicating your background vocal track(s) and experiment by adding effects - delays, echos, reverbs - play around until you find that magic...

As it seems you are aware, you are also lacking that perfect kick that defines the genre. Loud and proud, crisp and clear, driving the rhythm - everything else just sitting on it. That's why there are plugins specifically for it..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwvB639S_iU

If you plan to continue in this direction, it would be a good investment.

I enjoy your stuff.

floyd
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#281610 - 01/23/15 01:39 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: joesarahh]
Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 6327
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 6327
The right tools for the job.... ^^^^^^^ exactly.

As good as BB/RB is, it's not good for everything. Get the tools that are.


great advice from Floyd.


Edited by Guitarhacker (01/23/15 01:41 PM)
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#281614 - 01/23/15 01:48 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 66
Loc: Minnesota, United States
joesarahh Offline
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Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 66
Loc: Minnesota, United States
Yeah, I hear ya on the low end, problem is I do have the right plugins for it and still couldn't get it right cry

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#281615 - 01/23/15 01:56 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: joesarahh]
Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7691
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Pat Marr Offline
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Joe,

I liked that quite a bit, but I also think Herb and Floyd offered some good insights.

Are you familiar with FLStudio? A lot of people writing the kind of music you want to write use it. In the same sense that BIAB has a signature sound, so does FLStudio... and that appears to be the sound they want in this case.

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#281623 - 01/23/15 02:31 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: Pat Marr]
Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 66
Loc: Minnesota, United States
joesarahh Offline
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Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 66
Loc: Minnesota, United States
Yes, I am familiar with it at least a little. But, I really don't write in one genera, I write in a pretty broad selection, and I really do think BIAB is the better software for my goals. I am pretty excited about the direction I see PG Music taking BIAB. I feel like they are trying very hard to draw people like myself into the program. I will stick with it and I am sure I will get where I want to be. You Bring It Like A Storm is imperfect and I have every intention addressing the issues brought up, I find them very valid. But I notice that each passing tune is better than the last as I move forward. I think with time, study and work this is going to happen.

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#281641 - 01/23/15 06:23 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: joesarahh]
Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 14876
Loc: Australia
Noel96 Offline
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Registered: 10/31/08
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Joe,

Have a listen to the following by Boehm. It might give you some additional, useful thoughts.

Space Owl

Regards,
Noel
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#281644 - 01/23/15 07:05 PM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: Noel96]
Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 66
Loc: Minnesota, United States
joesarahh Offline
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Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 66
Loc: Minnesota, United States
Well . . . .I feel sheepish saying I really did not care for that remix. It wasn't even remotely poor, in fact it showed some tremendous technical skill. He got such great separation on all the instrumentation, really crisp, and I thought that destroyed the overall feel of the piece. Just my thoughts anyway.

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#281685 - 01/24/15 07:38 AM [User Showcase] Re: You Bring It Like A Storm [Re: joesarahh]
Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7691
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Pat Marr Offline
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Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 7691
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Originally Posted By: joesarahh
Yes, I am familiar with it (FL Studio) at least a little. But, I really don't write in one genera, I write in a pretty broad selection, and I really do think BIAB is the better software for my goals. I am pretty excited about the direction I see PG Music taking BIAB. I feel like they are trying very hard to draw people like myself into the program. I will stick with it and I am sure I will get where I want to be. You Bring It Like A Storm is imperfect and I have every intention addressing the issues brought up, I find them very valid. But I notice that each passing tune is better than the last as I move forward. I think with time, study and work this is going to happen.


I agree regarding PGMusic's capabilities. BIAB and RB can now do a lot of what FL Studio can do, but FL STudio can do very little of what BIAB and RB can do.

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