I first want to say thanks to Graham for inviting me back onto this channel and sharing my experiences of producing music to help you guys take your next step in creating your music.
So, in this video, I want to share with you my process of taking an idea that you might start off with, and fleshing it out into a full demo.
This is a process that was used heavily when working on the EP that Graham and I worked on in the good life, where we had a bunch of rough sketch ideas.
And then there was a process in which we took those rough sketch ideas and fleshed them out for a, you know, arrangement and a demo, which then we could then finalize and take to the finish line.
So I want to show you how to take this simple idea or inspiration, such as this drum loop, and turn it into a full demo like this.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. It could be coming across a drum loop, or playing a chord progression, or just a melody that I might have in my head that I want to put down.
And then revolve ideas around that.
And so in this case, I started by coming across some drum samples that really, really caught my attention, and then created a drum groove.
So let me start with that, because that is the basis of this rough idea.
So I got this monstrous beefy type of drum groove going on.
And immediately, I thought, Okay, this is gon na be like a big anthemic kind of vibe.
And I started experimenting with some synth sounds and things like that, and came across a progression that really just fits the mood that these drums are bringing across.
With the drums and that progression now in place, I went ahead and just added a couple more details to create more of the atmosphere and mood that I was looking for.
So for this, I’m using a plugin by output called arcade.
And I’m using this just to kind of add some fillers and make sure that it locks into the same key signature as the time that I got this session set up.
So let’s check those out.
So then, with these three elements, we have the overall general vibe.
Now what I mean by the general vibe is that these elements became the foundation I started building my vocal melody ideas from. It was at this moment where vocal melody started to come to mind.
And I know, okay, cool, I have enough for me to be inspired to come up with a melody that I’m really happy with.
And usually that might be one or two elements, or six or seven.
It all depends, because what I’m trying to do is just throw a bunch of paint on the canvas, until I can take a step back and see if what I’m throwing on there resembles something that really speaks to me.
And that’s kind of what we do here.
And that’s how I normally work.
It’s normally just not like five elements. It could even just be a piano chord progression.
And that alone could, you know, have me come up with some ideas or have a singer-songwriter that I’m working with. That alone might be a springboard for some vocal melodies, whatever is going to allow you to draw out the most creative way of expressing your melodies.
That is what you’re aiming for.
So let me play you the vocal melody that I have on top of these elements.
Now I’m just singing gibberish and immediately the word that came to my mind as I was singing was standing my ground. It’s got that grit, you know, it captures the overall feel and mood of the drums and the synth and just the grit that I’m getting from this vibe.
So I thought about standing my ground.
Yeah, that’s a really good staple there.
I’m going to start working everything around that.
And, and as you can see here in Ableton Live in the Session View.
I’ll throw a couple of different ideas down. I’m treating my session view here.
These little slots that you see here.
These are clip slots and I’m treating them as basically ideas. I’ll just play lists for those who are coming from a Pro Tools world, but just basically throw a bunch of ideas down until I arrive at a melody that really sells me.
And then, with that vocal melody in place, I wanted to create some more energy and just amp this up a little bit more.
So I figured, let me just go ahead and double that vocal.
So I’ve doubled that about four times, recording four separate vocal tracks here.
And I’ve got it panned hard left, hard right, somewhat almost all the way left, almost all the way right.
And yeah, and this is just going to help create more than an anthemic field with the vocals.
And then now, with that vocal in place, I can kind of just write some more instrumentation around that.
So I know I won’t do things that will get in the way of the vocal melody.
So I went ahead and put this pad in.
Now I can be tempted to just continuously add more and more and more, and then I will just be stuck in his eight-bar loop vortex and not know where to go from there.
And so I think right now, we’re in a good place with all the elements that we have here.
And what I want to do is now structure this into a song skeleton.
And it’s good that I don’t have all the things here yet. What I want to do is map out where I’m going, what’s the journey that I want to take this arrangement or this idea on. Usually, what we have here is the destination, right?
So this would be the course or the drop, if you’re working on, you know, electronic dance music or things like that.
So here is the statement, that declarative statement that I’m trying to make.
And what I want to do is now work towards that.
So I want to walk you through my process of forming this out into a song skeleton, so that I have a structure that I can then take to the finish line.
I’m going to be exiting the Session View here in Ableton Live, and then focussing on my Arrangement View.
And so let’s go ahead and open up my group’s, which covers everything that we’ve placed there, the background vocals, the lead vocals, so these are all the elements.
And since this is my destination, the chorus, I’m just going to set a marker here, and I’m going to use it as a placeholder. I’ll just say, chorus, right.
And I’ll make sure that, okay, that’s where I’m kind of taking this, like I said, this is the destination, this is where I’m taking the listener to get to here.
So, so far, those are all the elements that I want to be heard in this section.
So I’ll have everyone selected, with the exception of the vocals, and just drag them over to the left. Since this is a loop base, and I was just working on an eight-bar loop, I can pull them over to the left or to the right, in a continuous manner.
And so let’s start at the beginning of the song.
Now, that might be too much information to start off with. We want to create some dynamics, so maybe hold off on all the drums until bar five, and then maybe kind of give a little bit, maybe this coming in towards a pre chorus or something like that, and maybe start off with the bass progression.
And then just move this over so we get the full progression like that.
Or I might actually just create a new progression.
That will be, you know, that will set up the course much better.
So for right now, I just want to make sure okay, the drums feel good coming in here.
And maybe this could be the first reverse, right, and let’s just play it from there.
And let’s just draw this out.
So we have just maybe a vocal melody with the drums and the progression here.
Now I do have some automation that I was doing in the Session View.
So let me show you that.
And I also need to copy that over from the course section.
So let’s copy that over here.
And I’ll do the same thing for this track here.
So what I was basically doing was I was opening this cut off filter to open up and then close it and that’s what gave that swelling effect.
So that might even that might even be cool to have the intro with the progression and filter it in, you know, put some more ambience or something like that.
And so then the verses will have that automation creep in.
And then, you know what, let’s double that, because that felt like another part should come in.
And this is where we can start to introduce these guys here. What I’m trying to do is just borrow from the overall destination. I’m just building up to that.
So here now I’ll put a marker down.
And I’ll say, you know, this will be like a PRI or something. We’ll leave that there as a placeholder.
And so the progression is going to run one more time.
And then and then we can go into the course. I might actually be cool as we dropped out, and I’m just kind of playing this by ear right now.
But if we drop everything out for that whole bar, and do some really cool automation and effects to just introduce the pickup note, the pickup melody here where I’m standing my ground with the vocals.
So yeah, so that’s good. That gives a nice little runway for those vocoded to really just scream out. All I can do is, now that we have the first initial pathway to the course, I’m just gon na go ahead and copy that duplicate this time.
And, and now I have the same structure out here.
And let’s see, you might want to double that second chorus or add something there.
But for right now, let’s just kind of scoot this over. That’d be the second chorus. I’ll give myself like another eight bars or so. I’ll call this the bridge.
So let’s put that there.
And then right after that, what we’ll do is select the core section.
And again, this is all just quickly mapped out.
And all this is obviously subject to change. I can add or take away. I’m trying to build a general roadmap, because that’s going to really help guide me to creating the peaks and valleys that I want the listener to experience when listening to this song.
So this is a course one.
And it will extend these out so that we can double this course here.
Now ultimately, what I’m trying to do is take the listener on a journey. I want to create some peaks and some valleys, and overall, a dynamic experience through this song.
And so, having the song skeleton really helps me kind of get the lay of the land, see where I’m going and how I can create that journey for the listener.
And so now I have started to work on vocal melodies.
And where am I going to go from verse to pre? What do I need to transition from each section there? And then start incorporating the supporting instrumentation that really starts to bring some contrast between the sections. Either make the courses a lot louder by incorporating maybe some guitars or some more elements, or just strip more away from the verses in pre courses so that the regular course that I have now stands on its own.
So I’ve decided to go ahead and put some guitars on that course to do that to build more of that out.
Because now that I know more or less the structure, as well as some transitional effects here.
So here are the guitars.
And it’s just for a placeholder now until I can actually maybe stack them a little bit more and create the right type of balance.
And then we have some effects.
So they just kind of announced each individual section, as well as building up tension and release.
So just some white noise here.
As you can see, I have them scattered throughout the whole arrangement.
And I’m just using these effects to kind of announce certain sections.
So when we get to the verses, we have a little bit of that tail and noise to introduce the beginning of the song.
So now I can start putting in some more elements, such as putting in a low n or maybe a sub-bass to kind of beef up the chorus as well, because the bass we have the scent that we have there is gritty, but I really want to help cover that low end.
And this is what I’m starting. I can start to fill the meat on the skeleton. I could put the muscles back on the bones here.
But what I’m really going after is where my head is and this is how I this is my process of taking that initial eight-bar loop vibe and structuring it into my song skeleton.
So let’s just take a listen to where we’re at right now with the demo, putting the guitars and transition effects back in my mind.
So there you have it.
It’s my process of taking a simple idea and turning it into a full-ready demo.
And I hope it was helpful and encouraging in any way.
And this process is also how he created all the demos for the EP that Graham and I worked on. There is a lot that goes into the making and releasing of an EP.
So if you’re interested in wanting to create, make and release your own EP, I’ve put together a PDF guide that walks you through the 10 steps to make that happen.
This is something that you can print out and use as a checklist when you’re making your EP to make sure that you’re on track.
Graham and I will also be reopening our BEP blueprint course.
This is an in-depth video course that walks you through every step of the process of producing and releasing your very own EP.
Just visit the recording revolution.
com slash EP guide, or click the link below in the description box to download this free guide. You’ll instantly be notified once we reopen the EP blueprint.
Thanks for watching.
And if you found this video helpful, be sure to subscribe and like this video. I’ll see you next time.