What You Focus On Most In A Track

Discussion in 'Production' started by Mason John, May 24, 2013.

  1. Mason John

    Mason John 21st Junta

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    I guess this is more a question for all of ya'll just starting, but it'd probably apply all the same to an experienced producer. I'm under the belief that you can't focus on every single element to be the big draw of a track, the one you're going to let shine and define the track. Something's gotta take the lead, be it the drums, bass, pad,...I guess vocal x3.

    Right now I'd say my weakest area is drum programming. I can definitely cut up some beats, chopping hits from samples and going from there, but if you give me a raw untouched snare or kick I will struggle to give it some life. Probably why I'll focus on doing drums from scratch in a new project. I guess for starting out, it's maybe better to try and not overload myself on a bunch of shit that all requires tight expertise.

    So my question is, when you're working on a new track, do you try to focus it around one element in particular and-if you're learning the ropes-do you try to make it the element you feel you're weakest in @ that moment? It's been working well for me that approach, just thinking others maybe do the same and it works for them too.
     
  2. SuBKA

    SuBKA Member

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    Clean drums, a good drop and some variations basically.
     
  3. akubenz

    akubenz New Member

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    I personally pay, what I believe, is way too much time on drums. Sometimes close to 4 hours just hiding kicks and hi hats behind the "meat" of the tune. I have trouble with melodies so those 2 things are my main focus.

    Sent from my EVO using Tapatalk 2
     
  4. cohma101

    cohma101 Member

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    Lately Ive been just the opposite. I lay out drums in about ten minutes, from raw sounds. I spend most of my time getting the mix down just right. I have an awful tendency of just messing with it after its already as good as its going to get.
     
  5. Mason John

    Mason John 21st Junta

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    Damn everyone seems to work pretty fast xD. It'll take me days to make a pad and sorta less on the bass, depending on the kind. But then again I fuck around a lot just trying different approaches...they don't always work out!
     
  6. sam the dnb man

    sam the dnb man Variation

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    I spend too much time on elements. I over produce certain sounds until they are clean and shiny. It really sucks the soul/vibe out of my music. I feel that a lot of D&B is like this at the moment. Lots of really well produced music but it sounds uninspired and it's boring to listen to. Much like pop music.
     
  7. Mason John

    Mason John 21st Junta

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    Funny you mention that man; some scientists did a study on pop music and figured out why it sounds so generic. They wouldn't be able to say the same thing about dnb (imho), but there are tracks out there I think would sound nicer if they had more fuzz and grit. I guess since tech is much better now, it's easier to clean up the sounds, but sometimes it's best of a sound seems "unpolished", w/ that old sort of quality to it.

    Course if the artist is making the tune w/ emotion, it's gonna sound good regardless ;)
     
  8. ApeCat

    ApeCat Human Dubplate

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    My workflow usually goes something like this:
    - Get a beat going.
    - Chuck some bass on it.
    - Try to create an atmosphere with pads and incidentals.
    At this point I've usually got a 32 bar (assuming the numbers on top of the playlist in FL represent bars...) loop that sounds pretty good.
    - Next step is to grab the drums and make a new, simpler pattern out of them, ie if I have a lot of different edits and things going on I'll pick one of them as a repeating theme and another as a sort of punctuation mark at the end of each little segment, usually a -a -a -b in 16 bars, which I copy and paste into the 64 bars following the original 32 bar loop.
    - This pattern usually has the pads completely removed, low passed or edited somehow to make them much less present and I'll add some kind of "signature" sound(s), this is where I get creative and try to make the tune stand out somehow.
    - Then I copy the original 32 bars and paste them in the end.
    At this point there's a kind of intro theme that comes in after the drop - which hasn't been created yet - and builds tension and expectations for the "real" tune. Then, once the "real tune" has done its thing we're back to the start, the original 32 bar thing with the pads and the original drums and the bells and the whistles.
    - Now I've got 128 bars of foundation for my tune an it's time to make edits and things to get the tune groovy, make it interesting for the listener and take them on a proper journey.
    - Once I'm cool with my 128 bar ting I'll make an intro, just to stick to the example I'm using let's say I slowly low pass in the pads while high passing in the break over some hats, chuck some drums on and let them build up to the first part of the original loop.
    - ctrl+a, ctrl+c, ctrl+v! Copy paste that shit!
    - Change up the "intro" the second time it comes in, make it more of a break down than a build up.
    - Mess around with the edits in the second part, maybe change the bass in the first 32 bar segment, or the snare, or the break or whatever.
    - In short; apply lots of change and repetition, build expectation and create surprises.

    Sooo.. What do I focus the most on? Making all the different elements gel together, sound good as a whole and to get a good groove going that I think people will enjoy listening to and will want to hear more off, while showing off a few of my skills along the way.
    To me, the drums are really important and I tend to put in a bit of time to make them sound real nice and tight, not saying I'm very successful at it, but that's what I usually try to do. I like making edits and try to use as much of my real life drumming expertise as possible when working on drums.
    I also spend a lot of time on my mixdowns, always watching the master meter and the master frequency band to see if anything is sticking out, hogging head room or whatever.
     
  9. miszt

    miszt BASSFACE Royale

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    i'm not sure I focus on any particular element tbh, certainly if I feel something is unbalanced in the mix I will, but the mix should work all together as a single entity imo, each part working with all the others too produce the overall sound - the sounds should all be talking to one another, think of it as a musical conversation between each element, drums, bass, melodies, pads, fx and vocals, all as one
     
  10. Mason John

    Mason John 21st Junta

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    WAY tighter than my process atm xD; I'm still trying to establish a workflow that suits me, and it's challenging given my rig isn't a beefy system, but gotta make due. I tend to start w/ pads, then bass(es), accentuation sounds,...the drums kinda come a bit later. They are my weakest area atm, but I'll atleast try to structure everything else w/ the foresight of giving the drums some breathing room and help structure the track.

    I also got the mindset of designing most of my sounds in tandem and just deciding what way to go w/ 'em....probably b/c of my lack of experience, I'm using my emotion on overdrive to pull things through.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Definitely this. They should be telling a story, on a journey.
     
  11. kama

    kama benkama.net

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    Usually bass takes most of the time for me. Sometimes not though, if I just go for some plain sub or LP's reece.
     
  12. MisterApe

    MisterApe 8bit junkie

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    I tend to focus the most on weird FX sounds that accompany a track, it's what gives it the character imo.