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Songwriting and Home Recording Thread • Page 66

Discussion in 'Music Forum' started by nfdv2, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. MexicanGuitars

    Chorus’ Expert on OTIP Track #8 Supporter

    Which one might this be?
  2. manoverboard365


    I use an AKG P220 condenser for both acoustic guitar and vocals.
    MexicanGuitars likes this.
  3. manoverboard365


    So I gutted that demo I posted a few weeks back and tried making this electropop/rock hybrid. Couldn't decide if it worked or not, so I'm just putting it out in the universe:

    bradsonemanband likes this.
  4. bradsonemanband

    Prestigious Supporter

    Damn! That song's a jam, dude! The only thing I'd criticize about it would be the mixing of the vocals. They're pushed back a little too far where it's hard to make out what you're saying. Especially when there's vocals overlapping. Maybe the vocals just need to be turned up? Other than that though, this song's great!
    manoverboard365 likes this.
  5. manoverboard365


    Dude thank you! Urghh mixing vocals has been my kryptonite! I got complaints on my last song that they were too low, thought I raised them enough here. I swear I'll nail it on the next one haha
    bradsonemanband likes this.
  6. Preserved Moose

    Amateur Hour

    What program did you use to make the video?
  7. bradsonemanband

    Prestigious Supporter

    mixing in general is the worrrrst. but i'm too much of a DIY son of a bitch that i'd rather do it myself every time... haha
    manoverboard365 likes this.
  8. manoverboard365


    Oh I would LOVE to take credit for the video, but this time I actually just paid someone on Fiverr to make it lol.
    My last few videos I made myself using Kapwing, but it would take me like a full week to make a crumby looking thing. It was well worth the $10 to have someone create it for me in a couple of hours haha
    bradsonemanband likes this.
  9. Preserved Moose

    Amateur Hour

    Haha it looks good at least! Fits the vibe well. Cool song.

    I'm maybe gonna post a lyric vid for a song I've been working on later but I can't think of a title for the damn song! It's driving me nuts. Haha.
  10. tomdelonge


    Has anybody made the jump from Logic to PT?

    I switched on a whim for a work thing but I’m thinkin I might hang around. Some editing things I def prefer in PT, maybe for reasons of familiarity, but Im finding a lot of the Logic workflow to be breezier

    Also I love mixing!
  11. Preserved Moose

    Amateur Hour

    Made another lyric video if anyone would care to listen. (I know I can't sing but any other feedback is cool haha). The song is supposed to fade out but the video maker decided to ignore it and just stopped it abruptly at the end but I kinda liked the way it looked so kept it anyway!
    manoverboard365 likes this.
  12. manoverboard365


    This is great man! Kinda reminds me of early The 1975, brings to mind Head Cars Bending
    Preserved Moose likes this.
  13. Aldahir


  14. bradsonemanband

    Prestigious Supporter

    I wrote, recorded, and released this whole EP today!

  15. ImAMetaphor

    the gore of our hearts Prestigious

    Over the summer, I decided to buy an interface and learn how to produce my own music. So, I recorded a 4 song EP that's coming out next month. The first song is out today. Let me know what you think :heart:
  16. bradsonemanband

    Prestigious Supporter

    Just released my second EP today!

    It'll be on streaming services tomorrow
  17. Preserved Moose

    Amateur Hour

    This is cool. I really like the bits when the reverby higher second voice comes in.
    ImAMetaphor likes this.
  18. ImAMetaphor

    the gore of our hearts Prestigious

    Thank you! I had a lot of fun with the vocals on this. At times there’s like, 7 vocal tracks going at the same time.
    Preserved Moose likes this.
  19. Smittzerland

    First time long time (FKA musicfan9795) Prestigious

    Got really bored this morning so started demoing a beat

    Preserved Moose likes this.
  20. Kyle Max

    Trusted Supporter

    Can anyone recommend a good vocal plugin for pro tools?
  21. Hey everyone. A friend of mine asked how to pick which songs should be on an album. I wrote a pretty extensive response, so I thought I'd share it here to potentially help anyone who's struggling to figure out which songs should or shouldn't be on your album.

    So, there are a lot of different ways to approach this, and I've done it differently for each of my albums. The first question to ask is -- what type of album am I making? If it's a mixtape, then you can throw whatever you want on there; if it's a concept album, then you probably already know which songs to use, since every song is connected to the concept or tells a piece of the story.

    However, most albums tend to be a solid mixture between "mixtape" and "concept album," where the "concept" that ties an album together tends to be a loose connection between the songs -- either a thematic connection between the lyrics or a sonic connection between the music/styles.

    There are a few general "rules of thumb" that usually work pretty well:
    1. Songs written by the same person or group of a people will tend to fit together nicely
    2. Songs written during a certain season of life or within a short time frame (less than two years) will tend to fit together extra well
    3. Songs recorded in the same sessions with the same producer will create a sonic unity that ties songs together, even songs with disparate styles/genres/lyrical topics

    (Please note: for pop music, most of these rules get thrown out the window. The connection that ties pop albums together is usually nothing more than the singer(s). Pop music can go in a bunch of different directions, with many songs on a pop album written with different writers and recorded with different producers. So you can break all the rules and ideas that I'm putting forward and still end up with a solid pop album. The difference here is that a pop album, more than any other genre, will focus heavily on singles and potential singles, with fewer "deep cuts." Because of this, your generic pop album is going to play less like a thematically cohesive record and more like a good Spotify playlist.)

    I'm going to provide two pieces of advice from other artists before moving to my own stories.

    Adam Watts (an extremely famous producer who used to write songs for Disney/Hollywood artists such as Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, and Jesse McCartney) also releases his own Christian-rock solo music. His personal philosophy is to release a new album every time he's been through a full season of life, having gone through a personal fall/winter/spring/summer, having experienced a mountain and a valley. Sometimes the songs are written throughout those ups and downs, and sometimes he writes all the songs once he recognizes that the cycle is complete.

    Pete Wentz, the bassist/lyricist from Fall Out Boy, talks about putting albums together as a "spectrum." (This is one of the best explanations I've ever heard and it's influenced my own album-making pretty heavily.) He says that you should select one song that functions as the "center" of the spectrum -- the song that represents the most balanced version of what you're wanting to accomplish on an album. Then you allow yourself to go a certain distance to the "right" (songs that represent safer, more streamlined versions of your "center" song -- as in, your far-right song might be a really great single choice) and you allow yourself to go an equal distance to the "left" (songs that represent weirder, more experimental or more extreme versions of your "center" song -- these are likely to become deep cuts, super-fan favorites, etc.) So whatever you're wanting to be the core goal of the album (examples include things like making a statement about depression, making a great R&B album, mixing together two different genres, exploring the connections between religious doctrines versus real life application, etc.), allow this core goal to create the spectrum where you lay out the center, far right, and far left of your songs. And remove any songs that don't fit anywhere on that spectrum.

    (Another random note: if you have the budget to record extra songs, something a lot of artists do is to purposefully record too many songs. It's much easier to piece an album together once you're dealing with the final product rather than when you're writing and planning an album. And this practice of recording too many songs is what usually results in bonus tracks or b-sides. These bonus tracks and b-sides are usually left off because the artist/producer/label decides that the songs aren't stylistically good fits or because they're lower quality than the rest of the album. Which....not to get on another tangent completely, but that reminds me of a random Jason Isbell quote. In an interview, he was asked if he had a favorite song from his new album. He answered no, and he added that if he DID have a favorite, that would make him want to throw away the other ten songs and make a new album where every track is as good as his favorite.)

    So now to me. What did I do? For my solo debut Unfall (ignoring older projects for previous bands), I took this topic very seriously and actually organized an entire "album focus group" to help me find the answer. The focus group, made up of friends, music critics, and other artists, were sent the demos for all the songs that were in consideration for the album. Following Wentz's advice, I already had my "center" song that I was basing everything else around, "Matter." I tasked the focus group with helping me fill out the spectrum, from the far right to the far left, all revolving around the style and sound of "Matter." (The 20-ish songs that were in consideration weren't comprehensive of all the songs I'd written recently or even all the songs I'd written that I loved -- rather, my pool of potential songs was pieced together by finding all of my songs that fit the general emo-rock, riff-rock of "Matter." Ironically, the final ten songs of the album also ended up having a lyrical theme tying them altogether, "isolation." But really, this was a happy accident, and it wasn't until I was recording the album that I realized the songs all shared a loose lyrical theme.)

    I received loads of feedback from the focus group, as people told me not only which songs they thought fit the best stylistically, but also which songs they liked the best. This affected the album in a number of significant ways. Nearly every song on Unfall experienced changes/edits based on their feedback. There were a few songs in consideration that I was overzealous about, which didn't make the cut to the album because few (if any) members of the focus group were as passionate about those songs as I was. There were other songs that I was extremely sheepish and unsure about (namely "Humanizer"), which the focus group largely loved -- and that vote of confidence encouraged me to include those songs. Also, there was one odd song that was, on one hand, the favorite of many people, but on the other hand, was largely considered ill-fitting stylistically. This song was "Counsel," which was originally a grungy guitar rocker, and the focus group feedback inspired me to try switching the song from guitar to piano; this switch made the song a great fit for the album.
    So eventually we were able to drill down to the ten tracks that would comprise the album, but the final piece to the puzzle that really brought everything together was the track listing. I had the ten final songs, but it took hours upon hours of trying out different orders of songs and different transitions before these ten songs went from "playlist" to "cohesive album." I still remember the day that I listened to a burned CD in my car of the track listing that's very similar to the final version -- a switch literally went off in my head, saying, "Wow, it's finally an album."

    So, ironically, my upcoming album Development & Compromise basically throws all these rules out the window. In some ways, I call it Anti-Unfall, even though a majority of the album is comprised of those very songs that were thrown out by the album focus group. Yes -- my sophomore album originated as a B-Sides album to Unfall. It wasn't until I was recording these songs in-studio that I realized they were turning out so awesome, that it would be a shame for these songs to be known as "B-Sides" and instead deserved to have the same status as the songs from Unfall. However, because I didn't really know I was making an "official" album until I was already in-studio, I didn't have time to make any considerations of thematic or stylistic consistency. The original connection between these songs was merely that they were NOT on Unfall, so what happens when that connection gets removed? Well, through this process, I've learned that the very specific style-control I placed on Unfall might not be wholly necessary. The new album has one song that's just piano, bass, and drums, along with yet another song that makes exclusive use of samples and synth bass. In a sense, the thing that ties these songs together is the randomness of it all -- they're tied together because they display a bunch of different sides of what I write, while simultaneously still being songs that were definitely written by the Unfall-guy.

    To conclude, though, this is where the track listing comes into great importance once again. A great track listing can enhance the qualities of each song. The opening track should clue listeners in to how to listen to an album and what to expect. The closing track should tie everything together. Each song should prepare listeners for the next song, so great care should be given to make sure you don't have song transitions that clash or sound awkward or feel awkward. How one song ends will subconsciously affect how the listener thinks about the start of the next song. Back-to-back songs can either enhance each other with similar sounds, moods, themes, etc., or they can clash with dissonant keys, overly different feels, or inconsistent lyrics. A great track listing can make a collection of songs feel like a concept album, even if the concept wasn't there at the start. I think I've managed to do just that, after much trial and error, with my new album, and I'm very excited about how conceptually unified the results sound, despite this being a collection of songs that wasn't originally intended to be my next official album.

    I hope this helps!!
  22. Mr. Serotonin

    I'm still staring down the sun Prestigious

    Damn, that WAS extensive :crylaugh:
    Chase Tremaine likes this.
  23. Not sure if I was even expecting anyone to read the whole thing I literally don’t know how to be concise.
    Mr. Serotonin likes this.
  24. Mr. Serotonin

    I'm still staring down the sun Prestigious

    No it was good, haha.
    Chase Tremaine likes this.
  25. Smittzerland

    First time long time (FKA musicfan9795) Prestigious

    Off til next Tuesday, so demoing some ideas. Especially with fuzzy bass

    Preserved Moose likes this.