Another Week of Pressing Forward and Learning Things
Jan 24, 2021
Considering I spent over 10 hours writing, this week was definitely the most challenging so far. I’ve mostly been working through a backlog of songs so I’m not starting from scratch every time. But the main issue this week was that the snippet I had recorded previously was incredibly out of time so I had to re-record a lot of parts to make it all fit together. And it’s still not perfect.
Since the verse was already complete, I worked on a “chorus” and wanted to go with a Strokes-inspired guitar line. I really liked it when I recorded it the first time, but the more I listened to it, the more I found it too busy. The bassline I wrote also has a lot going on too but I like it. So I spent a good chunk of time working on a guitar part that I ended up not using. I may use it for something else though - I recorded it and put it in my Ideas folder in case. In total, I think I kept only about 25% of everything that I wrote/recorded for this one.
On the Standard Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus Song Format
You don’t have to use this! Remember - there are no rules. Typically what I do when I’m making demos is I’ll record the verse and chorus once and then copy & paste it to make a second verse and chorus. I’ll change a couple things or shorten it, but in general it’s just a straight replication. For this song, the first verse and chorus that I recorded were way longer than I’d normally make these parts. I probably did this to have enough time to try out vocal lines and melodies, but ultimately replicating it would’ve been too much and made the song over 4 minutes long. So I just tossed that idea and now the format is an A part and a B part. I’m not sure how common this song format is but…. we’re going with it.
You Should Know How Effects Work
Recently, an audio engineer friend of mine suggested that I add a compressor to one of my bass tracks. I generally understand what a compressor does in concept, but when I actually had to go use one, I was at a total loss. (Writing music is a lot different than mixing it.) For the time being I used one of the settings in Logic and made a mental note to actually learn how to use one of these things later. One of my goals for this year is to become better at mixing and I’m going to need to deeply understand these tools if I want to accomplish that.
A compressor in Logic. Lots to look at and work with here.
Other Lessons From This Week
- Always record to a metronome, even if you’re just getting the idea down
- Always specify what synth tone you’re recording with so you don’t have to search through every sound on a keyboard to find it later
- When you’re mixing, actually listen to what frequencies you want to bring up or push down
Another Thing I’m Thinking About
I’m trying to decide if I should release every song I write/record or not. If I do release them all, should they live on my Bandcamp? Every time I release something there it notifies my followers, which I think would get really annoying after a few weeks. What do you think? I may just make an EP for each month and then add songs to it as I make them. I think that will skirt the notification issue on Bandcamp? I’m also not sure what to do when I write a song that I just don’t want to release. This week is an example of that which is why I put it on Soundcloud!
If you’d like to keep up with this project, subscribe for email updates. I send the updates occasionally, but not enough to overwhelm your inbox! If you’d like a list of all the songs I’ve written so far, here’s a link!