Music Production Tips, News, and more!
Have you ever struggled to get your kick and bass sitting just right? Have you ever found it hard to get them fat while still being in the same key? You are not alone, and you might be making things unnecessarily hard for yourself.
I've been hearing more and more about this lately. Just like the "high pass filter everything" rule, here is yet another Youtube tutorial tip that has been blown out of proportion. If you haven't already heard this one, a tip has been spread that "you must have your kick in key with your song". As you know, I am highly against the concept of rules that apply to every song. I am a firm believer of listening and approaching things case by case. Here is my take on when you should tune your kick, how you should, and when you shouldn't.
The time to tune.
The only times I think you need to have your kick in key with your song is when you are using a long tonal kick that has a clear note to it. e.g. big room boomy EDM kicks, Trap 808 kicks, and sometimes long...
A while back I did a colab with my longtime friend Tommy Trash (under my alias TAISUN). It was a fun experience writing it. Tommy and I had been meaning to do a colab for years. Way back since we used to live together in Australia. We had remixed each other, but never a colab. So, we finally put some time in in the studio. It is always extra fun writing when it is with one of your best mates. I can’t recommend it enough. There were plenty of good times, laughs, and whiskeys. However, there was also lots of hard work and even some learning. Some of the main things that I picked up from working with Tommy were….
#1 Less Is More
I was already aware of this and am a strong advocate, but he took it to the next level and really emphasized it. Especially towards the end of the process. Once the track was basically done, we would go through, and mute/delete absolutely anything we could. If we could cut it, and it didn’t make much difference, then it was outta there....
Layering is pretty much the opposite of our recent subject Separation.
In this case, you are trying to combine sounds and make them feel like they all come from the one instrument (most of the time). However, just like separation, you also don’t want the sounds to fight with each other.
I generally use a combination of Instruments, Transposing, EQ, Overdrive, Compression, Stereo processing, and space. Here’s how.
Firstly, the choice of instrument is fundamental. It might even be the most crucial part of it.
When I’m about to layer, I’ll usually already have my core sound. e.g., a Synth. It probably sounds mostly the way I want, like 80% perfect, but is likely missing something.
I will rarely layer that synth, with another sound from the same synth. I try to use different ones or even better, use samplers.
The fact that the sounds are coming from different sources naturally helps them to sit well right from the start. Also, it’s a good excuse to remind...
I’ve been doing mixdowns (and masters) for myself and others for over 12 years now, and I’m often asked for mixdown tips.
One of the most popular ones is dealing with layering and separation. These two things are like polar opposites.
When layering, you are trying to glue sounds together, and when working on separation, you are trying to give them space from each other.
Layering can help make parts sound more full and robust, whereas separation can give your mix clarity, punch, depth, and also power.
When I am going for separation, I try to achieve this through EQ, Space, Pan, and Colour.
I think EQ separation is probably the most important so I do that first.
If I want two sounds to be separated, I’ll make sure they don’t have a lot of frequency content in the same frequency. e.g., Kick & Bass.
If the kick has a lot of 100hz, I’ll cut the bass a bit at 100hz. Some EQs like DMG Equilibrium will even let you overlay the analyzer waveform from one...
If you are on my email list, you may have noticed me mentioning there was a new Bass Kleph track coming out soon! :) The song is called Damn Fucking Right and I’m excited to say that it will be released October 14th on Hysteria Records! Home of the Bingo Players. Not only that, but I designed the entire song from the ground up to be playable on Maschine with pad drumming. So, like my other Maschine Kits on my site, there will soon be a new one, along with an instructional video, and a sample pack.
How did I design my song to be playable on Maschine? The secret is to start with a pattern. This pattern has no sound initially. It’s just something that is easy and fun to play on the pads. e.g. My right hand could be playing the drums like usual in my songs, and my left hand could be playing a few stabs etc Once I have decided on my imaginary pattern, I record it into the sequencer (there are still no sounds assigned at this point), and afterward I start assigning sounds....
A little while back I did a live Maschine demo and Q&A at Icon Collective Production School in Los Angeles. In case you missed it, here's the video that shows the Maschine Performances and Q&A session with the ICON production students. Topics covered included Maschine, live performance, how I do my thing, genres today, studio tips, and music production in general. Hope you enjoy!