Week 7 & 8 – Write this down (DEMO)

Oookay I have some explaining to do. I made the decision last week to move from doing a song a week to one every fortnight. There are more reasons behind this than I care to delve into (or you’d care to read) but I’ll try to explain the main ones.

The overarching reason behind the change of schedule was that more often than not I was disappointed with what I was uploading. Every song felt either too rushed in the writing stage or too sloppy and basic in the recording because I just didn’t have enough time to work on it properly. Giving myself more time leaves more room for every single aspect of this project: I can take the time to write a song I’m happy with, if I’m not “feeling it” I now have the time to put down my guitar and pick it up again later (or the following day) I don’t have to smash out the first thing that comes to mind because tomorrow I’ve gotta start recording and drums still have to be programmed and how do I want this to sound and ahh. It gives me the freedom to be creative and not be stressed about time all. the. time.

It also gives me the freedom to really explore the recording process. Firstly, I have the time to do more than one take of every track, and secondly, I can spend time playing with settings/fiddling with plugins/mucking around with ideas and actually learning what the fuck I’m doing. I’m very much a “learn by doing” sort of person, sure I could read a book or watch a tutorial, but I learn best by spending time playing with/doing whatever it is I’m learning. I now have the ability to do that without stressing my balls off that I won’t get a song finished. It’s amazing how much more creative you feel when you’re not stressed or under pressure, I felt it immediately, and it feels incredible. Having the capacity to make and learn from your mistakes without a looming deadline is fantastic.

In a nutshell: I needed more time so I’ve given myself more time (and it’s already paying dividends). Side note before anybody says I’m slacking off or bailing it’s called the ’52 Week Project’ not the ’52 Song Project’ I’m still spending just as much time each week working on this, just trying to even up the quality/quantity scale.

ON TO THE SONG!

I’m actually really quite happy and proud of how this song turned out. With the extra time I now have I tried writing in a slightly different style to what I’m used to (I’m trying to write outside my norm to experiment and find my “voice” [for lack of a less wanky turn of phrase]). I quite like the vibe this song has, I can’t really put it in a genre, but I like the vibe. Production wise, having extra time made a world of difference in my opinion. Not only did I manage to get a few takes of the different tracks in (so most of it is even in time this week, shit yeah!) but I had room to play/experiment. I tried using some different percussion type stuff in the verses to separate it from the chorus a bit which I think flowed quite well, I like how the “real drums” kicking in for the first chorus seems to pick it up a notch and then keeping aspects of the real kit through the second verse means the other percussion doesn’t feel too out of place am I even making sense still what? I LOVE the hi-hats in the second verse, especially where they’re really quick and staggered, that was lots of fun to play with and I think turned out well (probably my favourite part of this track). Also, the reverse cymbal and clicks during the verses and breakdown were fun to play with and turned out nicely.

I think you can really hear the extra time I put into actually recording and producing the song. The extra things I don’t usually get around to like extra guitar parts (acoustic through the chorus to give it a sense of moving more/bigger, dual guitars in the chorus, extra guitar parts during the final chorus), harmonies, vocal effects (harmonies have a telephone/old school effect on them and are quite low in volume to sit in the mix a bit, the main vocals have a slight slap back delay as when they were dry they really stood out for some reason), finding new plugins (I had another amp simulator, just sitting there, waiting to be used!) and exploring the ones I had (auto-tuned the backing vocals so they were perfect, they’re in the back of the mix so it’s not reeeally cheating). One of my biggest achievements this week was finding a nice Rhodes-esque sounding keyboard, then actually getting it to work. I spent far longer than I care to admit trying to get my midi keyboard to connect to pro tools properly, and then learning you have to have a midi track with the keyboard as the input, load an audio track with a plugin (say Massive or Nexus) up and then set the output of your midi track to that plugin. Also for me to get Nexus to work I had to have Massive on the track before I could even see Nexus in the list, no idea why (and I ended up using Massive instead anyway ha), point of the story: check your inputs/outputs… then double check because you probably f*cked them up a little.

Holy shit this is dragging on. I think even though I’ll only post a song once a fortnight I’ll still have to write once a week to post about my learnings (mainly so I don’t forget stuff but also so the posts aren’t a small novella). I’m going to stop writing now because I’m tired and think I’ve banged on far too long already.

Talk to you on the weekend.

Cheers,
52WeekProject

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