With great soundproofing, even a beginner acoustic guitar can sound good on your recordings. I want to talk specifically about a few things you can do to improve soundproofing in your home studio, but if you’d like a bit more information on acoustic treatment, check out this Flypaper article on acoustic diffusers.
Let’s say that you’re mixing a project and it’s arrived to you with phase issues built-in. You have a natural snare recording, but when you turn up the accompanying trigger track, it sounds awful. Usually it’s the above comb-filtering and/or a disturbing lack of low end. You can start by flipping the phase button, and see if that gets you where you need to be. Alternatively, you can zoom in on the waveforms and see what’s up.
But that being said, inspiration isn’t always easy to find, and when you get stuck in your journey to find it, sometimes it’s not clear where to turn to hunt for more. Yet one of the most overlooked places to find fresh new ideas is actually right in front of your face, like right now: blogs!
By the time I was 16, I was making a living as a professional DJ. Over my 16-year career, I touched on many other areas of the music industry, including A&R, bookings, event management, promotion, music curation, and ultimately a seven-year club residency with Pacha Ibiza.
Funnily enough, the biggest breakthrough came with our approach. We are dealing with music here, not 1s and 0s, so we made the early decision to not trust the data. We engineered the user experience and worked our way back to the data. When we were faced with a problem, we looked at music theory and DJing to solve the user experience rather than rely on what the data was telling us.
I would describe Capsule as sort of a Japanease version of France’s Justice. Producer Yasutaka Nakata provides the hard-hitting techno beats and Toshiko Koshijima sings those catchy, auto-tuned vocals. Their music is often licensed by Japanese TV shows so there is a chance that you’ve heard some of their songs as themes floating around. Plus, they released their fifteenth album (!) Wave Runner in 2015, so they’ve been on the scene for a minute. While their influences are varied, they use bossa beats, British acid house bass lines, and a variety of other notable source styles, but it would be difficult to describe their music as anything but simply their own.
Mix buss compression is a great way to add a little bit of excitement and glue to your mix. Some people like to slap it on the master buss after they have mixed it (Ryan West for example, whose credits include Jay-Z, Eminem, Kid Cudi, Maroon 5, T.I., Rihanna, and Kanye West). And some engineers like to slap a little bit of compression on in the beginning and mix through it. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way when it comes to when to put it on.
According to the Ed Sullivan website, the popular host struck a handshake deal with Beatles manager Brian Epstein for, rather than a one-time appearance, a three-time opener/closer appearance. This offered exposure to over 23 million American homes on that very first performance, and thus, the ensuing Beatlemania took the United States by storm.
Here’s a winning formula: the guitar starts out with the song’s main riff, completing a full cadence, before the bass ensues with a countermelody high up on the neck, building up a suspenseful intro until the drums kick in and carry the song into its full tempo. “Hotel California” operates the same way.
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Sırma loves working with students at the intersection of songwriting and production, helping them figure out how to produce the sounds they hear in their heads using the software at their fingertips. In particular, she specializes in vocal production.
Like it or not, your visual presentation is an incredibly powerful tool in how your music comes across. If you play your cards right, you can use visual aids and style to develop from a random Tuesday night bar band into a national weekend headliner that people are excited to see. You can choose to subvert your audience’s expectations and keep them guessing, or play into them to create a well-established and expected result — either direction can suit your band as a tool to entertain. It’s up to you to decide and execute.
Veteran sound engineer Vishal Nayak of Black Lodge Recording will take you through the process of recording a professional-grade demo in a day using only two microphones. The course covers the “basics” — how to record all of your instruments and sort out your arrangement so you have a track you can be proud of at home. Don’t think of it as recording a “demo” — you’ll be learning how to do a lot with very little. Throughout the course, you’ll follow along as singer-songwriter Arthur Lewis records his original track “We Ride.”
One chart taught me love / one chart taught me patience / one chart taught me pain / this is amazing / thank u, next / I’m so freaking grateful for these pop-song specs.
One final note is looking at contrasting the delivery of words per second for an audience. High-speed, high-energy lyrics need careful delivery to hit the spot for a first time listener and one of the ways songwriters can meet the hunger for surprise, sass, and audibility is highlighted in this song by Lizzo, called “Jerome.”
Does the solitary fact that Once Upon a Time in Shaolin eschews all forms of distribution and mass-listenability effectively set it apart from its counterparts? I’m not sure the answer is yes, but I would argue that it’s at least a very good step in that direction.
Modes and Key Signatures have a variety of different characteristics and are great for outside-the-box songwriting. Here’s a cheat sheet to remember them!
Simply insert a de-esser on your vocal channel and sweep through the frequencies in “listen” mode to find what’s causing the problem, then increase the threshold until the sibilance is squashed.
Rather than starting by writing lyrics, try exploring different themes and topics through reading, writing, visual art, or anything else that inspires you. Keep a notebook with you at all times. The more you explore art, the more frequently ideas will come to you, and if you don’t write them down, you’ll likely forget. That way, when you start writing lyrics, you can first look at your list of ideas to see if there’s something interesting to start with.