Inside The Mix | Music Production and Mixing Tips for Music Producers and Artists

#65: 2 Ways to Make Chords More Interesting | Produce a Song From Scratch IV

February 03, 2023 Marc Matthews Season 3 Episode 6
Inside The Mix | Music Production and Mixing Tips for Music Producers and Artists
#65: 2 Ways to Make Chords More Interesting | Produce a Song From Scratch IV
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This is the fourth episode in a mini-series of music production tips, and songwriting tips. The key to transforming a good song into a great song is keeping the listener engaged and interested. 

In this episode, I demonstrate two quick tips to make chord progressions more interesting. Starting with mixing up the chord length and phrasing, followed by modulation using the Kilohearts Tape Stop effect.

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Marc Matthews:

You are listening to the Inside The Mix podcast with your host, Mark Matthews. Hello and welcome to the Inside the Mix podcast. I'm Mark Matthews, your host, musician, producer, and mix and mastering engineer. You've come to the right place if you want to know more about your favorite synth music artist, music, engineering and production, songwriting and the music industry. I've been writing, producing, mixing, and mastering music for over 15 years, and I wanna share what I. With you. This is the first time we've ever dropped two episodes in one week, and it's because I wanted to continue on this journey of producing a song from scratch. So now we're into part four, so I'm just gonna play you what I came up with at the end of part three. Okay, so there we go. And I'm gonna continue building on this in this episode.. Okay folks. So to begin with, having listened back to this now, recording this episode, I've picked out something that I want to change. And this is a great example of how you can remove yourself from a session and come back to it a few days later, a week later. And you hear something different. You hear something, actually, you know what? That needs changing. And sometimes that's what you need as a songwriter and a producer, is to remove yourself from the situation, remove yourself from that project, and then come back to with, with a fresh set of ears. And the main thing is really. This, this pigments. I'm just gonna loop this sort of pigments and loop I've got going on here. It's cool, but all, all I'm thinking is I kind of want to just, I'm gonna use an eco in this rather than go into the actual, uh, patch and change it. And I just wanna roll off some of that top end. If you're watching this online, you can see there's a lot of low end action going on Act in, in this particular patch. And, um, I'm just gonna remove some of that from the time being, obviously during Mixdown I would, I would come back to this. So there's a lot happening here in the sort of, in the low mid, you're looking at around sort of three, 400. It can be quite easy for that area to build up and to sound quite muddy and boxy. But like I said, I'll come back to this during the mixing process because when I bring in the drums and everything else, I might find, actually, you know what, this sound is competing with a lot of everything else at the moment. It sounds okay, but I'm gonna leave it as this for now. And it might mean that I use something like a low shelf just to bring two or three DB down around three or 400 hertz, just so it's not competing with the drums. But once again, this is all hypothetical. This is just me thinking way ahead now. Getting ahead of myself, folks. But what I wanna do now is I've got these drop pads here. I'm just gonna highlight this section. I'm just gonna solo that as well. I'm on the wrong channel. There we go. Solo this. So these chords, so I wanna do is I'm gonna go a scaler and I'm gonna mid-cap these, cause I want to use these chords in the next section and you'll see why. So I'm gonna click midcap and I gotta play. Of course I've done that. Now what I've gotta do is I've got my second. Channel and I'm gonna drag the mid onto that and Nope. And what I find is it never drags it where I want it to go, but it doesn't matter cause I can, I can move it. And I dunno what patch I've got on here, to be honest. It's Anna Sue again. Let's have a listen. Okay. And if you're watching this online, you can now see the difference between the two. So whereas the first one was just me triggering single notes, I've now mid captured and I've captured the chords. So if I go into the piano role, you can see the chords in here. And uh, I've got my mid notes on there as well, or my rather my notation and I'm gonna just gonna. Sounded quite nice. I'm gonna delete those end notes. It's quite a nice pad, but what I wanted to do at the end is I wanted to, I'm moving everything now. Uh, don't wanna do that. I've just moved the pad into the wrong group. There we go. What I wanted to do is this. I want to get these pads. And I want to, uh, just at the end, I want like a numerous hits at the end. So I'm gonna change you and the moment's going, and I wanted to go, dun, dun, dun dun. As you can tell, I'm not that musical with my voice. Alright, let's change the. As again, folks pressing the wrong. There you go. That's what wanted, that's what I wanted. A bit of variation at the end though. In fact, I wanted to happen there as well, so I'm just gonna go and find out where that is. S w the audio captured not registered. Then it leads into the next part. So a quick play there. So what I've done is I've just used a different patch. So in Anna two, what if I use there? It's the eighties R back patch. And um, I might just roll off some of that. I'm just gonna play around with the filter on this actually. Cool. So there we go. Nice variation on that cord sequence. Okay folks, so the next thing now is this, but this actual, these pads here, they're quite, uh, they're not doing a great deal on their own. They sound cool. What, what I wanna do is add, add something different to them. So I might quickly go in and. I've got a bit crusher effect on them at the moment. That must be what that distortion is. I can hear. I wonder, I used this last time in, in episode 63, and I'd like this side chain effect that you've got. I'm just gonna solo it so I can hear it on its own. This is quite nice, but then again in context, not so. So what I've done there is using the side chain um, effects plugin in the Anna two. I've just increased the rate from to one eighth and I've said it to Retrigger rather than host. In fact, I wonder what it sounds like with one shot and then up the. So one shot obviously is just gonna do that side chain effect once, and then re-trigger. It's gonna re-trigger it, um, to the sink of the sink to the tempo of the, of the track. Just gonna play that in context. I'm gonna go back to retrial. I'm not sure I'm digging that. I'm just gonna put a pin in that for the time being. Let's get rid of that. I'm gonna try something else. Actually, I'm gonna go into Hertz and I'm gonna try the tape. I've used this before and it's only quite cool. So gives the illusion of the tape stopping. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go in and I'm gonna automate that tape stop. And it's the play. It's true. This is quite a tricky one to, to get in time, but I'm gonna give it a go and I just wanna see actually, does it start? It starts at play. And what I want it to do is, is come in. So it sounds like the tape's just kicking in as it starts. Dunno what this is gonna sound like. Maybe if we bring time. And so I'm just looking at the controls on this. We've got stop time. Time until the tape motor reaches full stop and stopping tape until the time it's increase the tape time. I think we need to decrease the takeaway then I wanted to do it. This is gonna, this is gonna take me a while to do this. I want it to do it on every note now, so it's gonna stop. I'm gonna have to copy and paste this automation at the end of every bar. So what I'm doing here faces, I'm, I'm just drawing in the automation. I could probably just do this as I'm playing, but I'm just gonna draw it in for the time being and see what it sounds like and it keeps snapping and I don't want it to, which is a pain. Let's give it a go. It needs to be shorter and let's keep that again. I think that sounds quite cool. Actually. Need to get it timed right. I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna play around with it too much now. I'm just gonna get the idea down. Trying to drag this. So that'll do for the time being. Otherwise, I'm gonna spend the whole episode refining these automations points, which I don't really wanna do. Uh, let's copy that will let me copy that and put it there is the question. No, it won't. So we'll have to draw them. Okay. What I'm gonna do is, folks, I'm gonna pause it there, draw this automation in, and then I'm gonna come. Okay folks, we're back and I've drawn the automation in, and if you're watching this on YouTube, you can see at the beginning of every bar I've automated the tape stop effects. Uh, this is what it sounds like. Remember, I will go in and fine tune this, but I don't wanna spend all this episode doing that. Has not actually done it on the first note of that bar, but um, I'm not gonna worry about that too much now. What I'm fighting is though playing it. I think it only sounds good on the lower register registered court. Sounds cool there. It doesn't really happen there, I don't think I've got it set quite right. Let's drag it across. It's better. I don't think it works there, so I might just get rid of it. I just have it on those lower cords. I like it there. And then I need it to come in on that one there. Let's strike that down. Once again, that one needs to be dragged out a bit. At the end of this bar, it's gonna go into the next section. So I might just have a tape stop effect that just dies there. So it's just gonna kill it, and then it's gonna go back into what is essentially the first section, somebody see it. I think that sounds quite cool. As a transition, maybe a bit longer, I've just dragged everything. Don't move. Little bit trigger. Happy with my, there we go. Strike that back a bit. So if you listening to this on the podcast, player of choice I've done is I've dragged the automation of that stop back. So if that sounds cool. So there we go. I'm just gonna play through the. Half of this section just so you can hear how it then leads into the next part. And then that's quite a nice transition. Obviously I will add more transitions to this, but I like that tape stop effect. So there we go. Tape stop effect. Automate it on your, Okay folks, so this is a shorter episode than the previous ones, purely because it is a bonus one, it's one that I've thrown in. And so we've got two episodes in one week, and, uh, all I've done in this episode is I've just taken the chords from the, the previous section, so the previous 16 bars, I believe it is, looking at my, yep. Doing my math route 16 bars. And I've just taken those chords. I've used scaler two and I've copied those chords, I've captured them, and then I've sort of, Drag them, pasted them into a different patch in Anna two again. And it's, uh, the patch itself, if you're interested is called the eighties are. And I trialed using the, uh, side chain effect in that, but I didn't particularly like it. So all I've used here is the really basic, and it's got, it's so easy to use the tape stop effect. And I think this will sound really caught at the end or beginning of a track as well. And all I've done is there at the end of, at the beginning of each bar and at the end of each bar I've got the tape starting and stopping or vice versa camera, which way around it is. And uh, then at the end, Just gonna stop and then it's gonna go into the next session section. So this is what it sounds like. Okay folks. So that is the end of this particular episode. But before we go, I want to make you aware of the producer kickstart session. So if you need assistance or help with production mixing, or content marketing to grow an army of superfans, please do get in touch. Head over to and you can book a 20. Minute Producer kickstart session with me where we'll just thrash it out and go through any of those particular topics that you need a bit of help with, and it'll also get added as an episode of the inside the mix. Podcast. So do go check that out. You hear me banging on about it for the next few weeks. Um, but I think it's gonna be fantastic and hopefully I'll get to meet some of you virtually and, um, see what we can do together. But as always, if you're watching this on YouTube, please do hit subscribe, leave a comment, let me know what you think as well. And if you're listening to this on your podcast, player of Choice, don't forget to hit subscribe and maybe leave a review as. Hey everyone. My name is Jonathan. My artist's name is ea, and I have to say one of my favorite episodes from this podcast is episode 41, which covers the topic of promoting your music and networking. The reality with being a new artist and working hard to create your material is that you need to promote and get it out there to listeners or else will never be heard. The podcast talks about networking and utilizing Spotify playlist as a tool to target listeners. One thing that I realized and have experienced on my own is how do you ask someone to put your song on a playlist without really asking them. The reality is that not everyone will be that helping hand to do that for you. One of the biggest takeaways and ideas that I've obtained from this particular episode was potentially being that person with a playlist. I mean, if that one Instagramer or Spotify user with the followers won't add your song to a playlist, assuming it fits the theme of the playlist, why not be your own promoter? With the playlist and followers, why not be that person to help other musicians such as yourself who are on the same level? Let's face it, it is easier said than done and will take time to network with people. But in the long run, if this can be accomplished, so many people, including yourself, can benefit. The idea was definitely derived from listening to this particular episode. I can't recommend this channel enough if you're a beginning musician. Ahu, thanks for giving me the opportunity to give my opinion and providing such great content.

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