Beat Breakdown #1: How to produce a song from start to finish – FREE MP3 (Steemit Exclusive)
How are songs written and produced? Beat Breakdown is all about sharing the creative process and showing what goes into the making of a song!
The starting point is different for everyone and for every song, but for this track I decided to start off with a sample I’d found - “The Word II” by Shigeo Sekito. It has this unique murky sound accented with super bright chimes, whenever I find something like this I know I’ve gotta sample it:
And this is the song I made with it:
So what did it take to go from sample to song?
Once I’d chopped out the audio I was going to use from the sample, I raised the pitch up to a place where the energy felt better, and sped it up a little:
It felt much better, but it still sounded a bit messy – I used some effects to tidy up the sound and help it fit the atmosphere I was going to create with the other instruments:
Now that the main melodic part of the song was sorted I wanted to add a mellow dance feel to the track, so I started off by picking drum sounds that fit the idea.
I programmed each drum pattern into my project, layering sounds on top of one another and adjusting them with effect plugins. The picture below shows how these patterns can become quite complex - each coloured block represents a sound and its placement represent it’s timing. In the audio below, a new element of the drum pattern comes in every two bars; the layering really adds up – check it out:
So I had my drums and lead melody ready… Next I changed the drum patterns for each part of the song (the verse, chorus, etc…) to keep things bouncing, and then I got started on the bass line.
Bass really adds a lot of depth and feeling to music, so I really wanted something unpredictable in the chorus that would get people moving, and something a bit mellower to contrast during the verses. I played around on the piano for a while with a synthesizer and this popped out (it’s quite a low frequency so you may struggle to hear it on smaller speakers!):
That sounded way better - but if the chorus was going to pop it needed something else…
I pitched up the original sample an octave and filtered it a little bit so I could layer it on top of the main sample:
If the same sample just looped for the whole song it’d get boring fast, so I started working on a new section to keep the middle of the song interesting. I chopped the sample into smaller pieces, reversed it, added some slow down effects, and then layered the sounds together. The final touch on this section was a new bass line I added which ran through an old guitar amp – giving it a used, crunchy feel. Violà! Section done!
Now that I had all the different elements of the song prepared I arranged them into a structure that flowed, the drums created change throughout the song, and the bass gave it energy and movement.
Once I’d finished making these patterns I moved on to the final step, mixing.
The best way I can describe mixing is like this:
So a few hours later I’d mixed the song and added some finishing touches, and this was the end result: A production ready to be sent off to artists & songwriters.
If you like the track you can download it for free within the soundcloud player above, exclusive to steemit! If you have any feedback or comments for future Beat Breakdowns feel free to post them in the comments section below :)
I’m looking forward to sharing more of these with you, and if you’ve enjoyed it give me a follow to stay updated! 🔥🔥🔥
Till next time