I produced a pop track! (No 7 strings were hurt during it's production)

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Stijnson, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. Stijnson

    Stijnson SS.org Regular

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    I've been working on my production skills, predominantly outside of the rock and metal world of music I usually delve in. It's really fun and challenging to have a go at stuff like this and I wanted to make it as modern sounding as possible, big reverbs, 808's and trap style hihats! Hope it sounds alright! https://soundcloud.com/stijn_bos/sbg-what-if
     
  2. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

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    Cool to hear something different on this forum!

    I'm listening on a Macbook but it does sound very good! I would've liked the chorus to be a little bigger, maybe something like a fat saw pad filling out the midrange and high end. Sidechaining it would be an obvious thing, but maybe too generic. Switching that boppy electric pianoish synth for a faster, arpeggiated thing with lots of delays would probably make the chorus open up more, overall the beat is a little oompa which is cool if you like that, but not all that "modern". Vocal harmonies might be cool too for a melody like that. It's interesting because the production is pretty pop but the song itself isn't, it's more like a singer/songwriter kinda song to my ears.
     
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  3. Stijnson

    Stijnson SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the compliment and tips my good sir! My intention was to make a modern pop like production, so I'm glad that came across a little. But I always somehow seem to make something slower/downbeat, and making it better for a singer/songwriter like you said. Maybe the next track I make i'll purposely go towards a dance style, instead of this being more hip hop beat wise. I might be totally wrong there, but that was my mindset making it, pop with some kind of hip hop or trap influence. Although pigeonholing any kind of music is not my greatest skill, especially not in those genres :p. Thanks for the tips for the chorus, had some trouble making that explode so to speak. Still want to mess with the vocals more and also the keys, to create a real chorus vibe.
     
  4. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

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    Not really hearing the hip hop/trap influence, but then again influences aren't always obvious in a finished song :) I think this song could be really cool if it was worked on more, it's a good melody and that's really everything you need in pop (I think). But when I think about modern pop/Max Martin style what I always hear is music made for people with short attention spans. So minimal intros (like, 3-5 seconds at most), chorus hits before 40-50 seconds, something new entering the mix every 4 or 8 bars, things like that. Every chorus is bigger than the last, and the production is constantly moving. For example, that reverse cymbal you use before every chorus? That would probably be a different sample each time just to keep it from sounding repetative. Your track is fairly "underproduced" by radio standards, if that's indeed what you're aiming for. There's also a lot of instrumental "kolhydrater" which is just not allowed in modern pop :)

    Another huge influence from the hip hop world and working on MPC/loop based hardware that you hear in most modern pop today, is that the drums are pretty static (loops, duh) so the vocalist has to switch up the rhythms to keep the song interesting. It's good practice to go from long, flowing notes for 4 bars to short, snappy 8ths in the next to give contrast. Your song is the opposite, the melody is quite samey (especially rhythmically), whereas the kick pattern changes throughout the song. Nothing "wrong" with that but it sounds wrong if you're comparing to modern pop :) That's kind of why I think your song sounds like a singer/songwriter song rather than a modern pop song, because people who come from a background of writing for a live band (or no band) write vocal melodies and drums quite differently from people who write over loops in Ableton/MPC/Maschine etc. So even if you've got hip hop sounding drum samples, the beat really doesn't sound like it was played by someone who listens much to hip hop, if that makes sense.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
  5. AdenM

    AdenM Illuminaughty

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    Listening on a pair of M50s I normally mix on. Compositionally, this is quite pleasant, I like the downtempo electronic vibe. I like the rev. cymbals/ambient hits alot. Transitions are nice. Some notes:
    1. Kick/subs seem kind of anemic - doesn't really punch me the way I would expect the it to on an EDM track; would like more stereo width to it? Maybe upping the level and adding some limiting would do it.

    2. Same with the staccato synths - would like to hear them a bit louder/more saturated. I sometimes find that doubling and panning synth leads can help as well.

    3. Vocals sound kind of phase-y? Delay might be nice on the pauses around 1:07, 1:10. The harmonies are a nice touch.
     
  6. Stijnson

    Stijnson SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the in depth recommendations man! I personally don't have as much insight as you have into what makes a pop song etc. It is as I mentioned a style I don't delve in to often. And the song essentially came about from what felt poppy or trap etc to me. Obviously, it is probably not either of those styles, and that's fine by me too. In the end I guess it's more me this way. And obviously I dont mind what genre it falls into, as long as it sounds cool basically. But like you mentioned with the drum patterns, totally true that they are usually more static, but me coming from a metal background I apparently like changing kick patterns hehe. But my mission is still definitely to keep working on the track, and you're input will help me a great deal, really appreciate it!

    Thank you for the crit and the listen too man! Really useful stuff! (is it weird that the most useful feedback I've probably gotten on here was for a track that's not metal at all?) I'll look into what you mentioned for sure! How do people in this scene go about widening a kick? Stereo wideners or something?
     
  7. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoil Enthusiast

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    No problem :) I think I somehow got the impression from your title/OP that this was kind of a one-off production exercise to see how closely you could emulate modern pop/hip hop, but if it's more of a serious artistic "I'm finding my own sound thing, this is my main music project" then you obviously should take what I suggested with a grain of salt :)

    And to clarify about the static drums thing, I'm not saying drums in pop/hip hop are usually static, what I mean is that a rock drummer might play a lot of varied rhythms using a few kit pieces (kick, snare, hi-hat and crash mostly), whereas a "drum machine" user might build a kit of 16 or 32 different sounds, create a separate 4-bar loop for each of them, and then mute/unmute them in various combinations throughout the song. For me, who also grew up in rehearsal spaces with live drummers, that's a really different and interesting way of working with drums that can really inspire new ideas.
     
  8. Stijnson

    Stijnson SS.org Regular

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    It was essentially an exercise from the start yes, but I'd still like to do the exercise properly so to speak, and that means improving on it :) So I will go back to the track soon.
     
  9. AdenM

    AdenM Illuminaughty

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    No worries, happy to help - it's cool that you're trying something different in the first place.

    For a good EDM kick, its about starting with a good sample, of course. There are plenty of 808 libraries out there, or you could try synthesizing your own. Could be helpful to trigger subby sine wave at the same time as the kick and blend them together, and also run a saturator/compressor type deal on the submix for unity. Lots of EDM guys like the Camel Crusher (freeware) or the Waves RBass plugin. Could also try Softube Saturation Knob.
     
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