Week 6 – Pass you by (Acoustic)

Eh. I can’t exactly pinpoint why, but I hate this song. I don’t mind the melody in the verse and pre-chorus, or the chords there either, but I hate the chorus (too whingy and those stupid little Mariah Carey vocal dancey things my god), it all feels too slow, and… just… shit really. The completely different/random style for this week was inspired by a video my friend posted of his cover of the Imagine Dragons song ‘Radioactive’. He used simple “plucked” chords and the same chord progression throughout the entire song. I thought I’d challenge myself to do the same: choose some chords, pluck them a few times, repeat, and try to make enough of a change with the vocal melody that it would work.

Moving past the fact I hate the song, how it sounds, and everything about it, I did actually learn a bit this week. I managed to play around with the guitar audio (compressor/EQ/reverb) and think the tone came out very nicely; main take-away being I’m slowly learning how compression and EQing affects the sound of an acoustic. I also played with reverb on the main vocals, somehow it seemed to make them stand out less and sort of fit into the mix a little better (if that makes sense?). No idea why or how, but it was a fun little experiment. The annoying harmonies/wailing behind the chorus were EQ’d to have that old school/telephone/thingo sound and a bit more of a “fuller” reverb, making them sound less like harmonies and more like “movement” behind, well, that was the idea.

Most fun experiment this week: I found auto-tune! Not that I didn’t know it existed (god bless T-Pain), but I’d never thought of playing with it before. To be completely honest I hardly played around with it at all, I just threw it on the vocal track in “auto” and kind of just let it do it’s thing. I don’t like the robotic sound it gives occasionally but do think it’s a handy little tool I’ll dive into deeper in the future. I don’t want to rely on it but I’m not the world’s greatest singer (obviously) so if I can use it to achieve the result I was aiming for without me sounding like Mr Roboto I think it could be a clever tool to have in the belt. I also wanted to muck around with it and some reverb to try and create a little “choir”. I’ve heard it done by professionals and it sounds very impressive. I THINK the theory is fairly simple (if this is how they do it): record a few vocal tracks singing different melodies, copy/paste/pitch-shift with auto-tune, add a tonne of big-ass reverb and voilĂ  a choir! Unfortunately I’m not a professional, nor have I ever sung in a choir, orrrr used auto-tune, all that mixed together results in what you can hear in the bridge-type-section.

It’s hard for me to be objective about what I learnt this week as I hate the song. so. much. It hurts to listen to. Maybe I’m just in a shitty mood because I spent hours working on something that turned out so shit in my eyes, BUT, that’s part of the process. The thing about playing with different styles of writing/singing/recording/producing while you’re learning to write/sing/record/produce is that it’s a f**king learning process. I honestly have no idea what I’m doing, which is exactly why I’m doing this, to learn. To try and figure out what style of music I enjoy writing, what suits my voice, to figure out how to record, how to produce, to find out what reverb sounds like on vocals/guitar/drums, what compression does, how auto-tune works, how *insert some audio effect here* affects and manipulates audio. There are going to be weeks where everything clicks and I think “shit yeah, that worked well, I’m learning” and there will be weeks like this where I think “holy shit why am I even doing this”. Some weeks will build skill, others will build character, this week is the latter. This is a “pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward” moment. It’s hard to put so much time, effort, and a part of yourself into something that at the end just doesn’t cut it, but that’s part of the ride. So tonight I’m going to let myself feel like shit (it’s how I feel and I’m not going to fight it), but tomorrow is another day and I’ve got anther song to write. Christ, that has the vibe of a speech by a college football coach to his team at half time while they’re losing the grand final in a 90s movie… the always go on to win though #UpliftingMessage

Catch you next week.


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