First off, you should know that this article isn’t about any kind of secret formula or insider knowledge about how to make it in the music industry. In fact, you should be wary about reading any advice that claims to have… “the secret”.
Fact is that there are a lot of variables at play that determine who makes it and who doesn’t. A lot of these variables are random, and out of your control. But some variables are in your control and I’ve come to see time and again from artists and bands that somehow find a way out of obscurity (even if for a brief moment in time). You should know what you can’t control first. You can’t control things like cultural zeitgeists (what becomes new and cool, seemingly over night), nor can you control fortuitous happenstance (some A&R guy just happened to be at your performance, and happened to actually be listening, and happened to not be too drunk/just drunk enough to enjoy your act). Many artists often trace back their early success to such “lottery-winning” moments and can take no credit to such random success beyond simply buying a ticket along with the millions of others who also bought tickets.
Remember way back when wobble bass was all the rage? It was a heady time. Kids were getting started in synthesis with their very first iOS synth apps, Skrillex was a darling of all the awards shows, EDM was being heralded as the 2nd coming of Electronica, nothing like the late 90’s bubble-burst known as “Electronica.” Ah yes, I can remember it like it was yesterday. It was… yesterday, actually. Well, anyways, people still kind of like their wobble bass and iOS apps so why not give them a dose of neo-retro with a Animoog tutorial, mixed with a bit of wobbly-bassyness for good measure:
Have you ever found yourself building an elaborate sampler or keyboard patch made up of layers upon layers only to be disappointed when bringing it into your mix? You find out that either it stands out over top of everything else, or else you need to bring it way down to a barely audible level, making you wonder, “dude, where’s my sound?”
This doesn’t only happen with synthesized sounds; you may have layered your drum hits, vocal takes, bass or guitar parts and come to the same conclusion.
This article will help you understand why this happens, and what you can do to avoid it, or if necessary, fix it in the mix. You will come to learn one of the central tenets of mixing: sounds that appear great in isolation don’t necessarily sound good in the mix. The most common reason for why this happens is as follows:
One of the most aggravating things to deal with when writing a song is coming up with proper transitions, usually between verses and choruses. However, transitions can also occur as key changes, progressions, and tempo changes. This is not an exhaustive tutorial on the subject matter but rather an overview of some of your options.
Regardless of what kind of change you are dealing with, you should always consider an intermediary change, or bridge. Yes, this adds yet another change and must now also be connected with, both, the preceding AND succeeding parts. However, the intermediary part is usually a lot less musically dense, so it should be easier to lead in and lead out of than simply conjoining two completely disparate parts. Sometimes this bridge is as simple as a stripped down drum break, or even easier, a 1 or 2 bar sweeping effect. That is usually the best option if the chorus (for example) contains elements familiar to the preceding verse. If your chorus sounds a lot like the verse, there is no sense in drawing-out the suspense and tricking the listeners ear into anticipating some sort of big event (which will likely be a letdown if it sounds much like what was preceding it). Continue reading →