Week 5 – I’ll forget where you’ve really been (DEMO)

I know this is up super early BUT I’m out of town (back to Sydney) straight after work tomorrow night and won’t be back in Brisbane (where I live, look at us getting to know each other) till next week SO here we are.

This week was super fun, quick, but fun. I managed to have a play with a few different things because I had the drums finished by Monday night as originally this song was meant to be last weeks, explanation in the previous post if you’re interested. Plugins, buses, and bass lines were the accidental main focus this week. After being stoked about my “bouncing drums out and pulling them back in” method I’d developed, a friend of mine showed me an even easier, better, and annoyingly simple way to gain the same effect: setting all the ‘outputs’ for my drum tracks (I have different audio tracks for different samples [kick/snare/etc]) to the same “Bus” (no idea why an audio bus is called an audio bus, but it is), then create a new ‘Aux’ track, set it’s ‘input’ to what you set the drums ‘output’ to and viola! You now have a cheeky master track for your drums. Makes it super simple to play with plugins on the entire virtual drum kit while still being able to adjust the drums as you go. E.g. if you are listening and realise you want a double kick into the chorus rather than a single you could just add it in rather than adding it in, re-bouncing the drums out, re-pulling them back in… hopefully that makes sense.

Speaking of plugins, they’re freakin’ incredible. There are a thousand plugins that all do a thousand different things and I have no idea how to use any of them, but, it’s fun. With the drums this week I used both a ‘Drum Comp’ and ‘Drum Room Air’ preset on a compressor on the master for the drums which made the drums sound more real and less sample-y then started playing with EQ and Comp plugins for the kick and snare, you could kill an entire day getting the perfect sounding kick, it blows my mind. So that’s a fun journey I’ve started (not just the kick thing, plugins in general, so many possibilities).

Something that both worked well and not at all was the way I wrote this song. I had the chord progression recorded on my iPhone from ages ago and decided to use it this week. I recorded a scratch guitar track, did the drums, re-did the guitar, recorded bass then added a second guitar. I did all this before humming a melody or writing any lyrics. On one side it worked well in that I think the instrumental of this weeks song are really great, I actually really like it (especially that moving bass line in the chorus, a step up from my usual “follow. the. guitar. chords.” method) BUT I kind of shot myself in the foot because as you may hear, it’s a little out of my comfort zone vocally. God that sounds wanky, I mean I can’t sing it no good (you may notice I’m just a little off the majority of the song, which is quite painful to listen to and I’m sorry). The two songs where I’ve written and recorded the instrumentals before the lyrics/melody are Week 1 and this weeks, both of which have pretty sub-par vocals. I think my voice sounds okay when I’m singing a song I’m comfortable with/in a style that works for it, unfortunately this weeks isn’t really either of those. If I had more than tonight to finish it, I would have dropped it down a tone (maybe two, whatever) and re-recorded the vocals, that way the verse melody could be higher (easier to sing) and the chorus could be lower (easier to sing). Not sure if that will make sense to anybody not in my head.

Main lesson this week is to write a song before you start recording a song… super simple stuff. Best way for me to write a song is sitting down with an acoustic and nutting out the chords/melody/lyrics while everything’s still at it’s most basic form. In future I’m going to stick with doing it like that before I even think about getting close to ProTools.


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