I’ve been away for some quite some time but I wanted to remind you all that Jerome and I are very much involved and are eagerly anxious as the day draws near for the final remix submissions! We will go through all of them multiple times before selecting a winner. While I hate to sound like a parent I’ll have to tell you all why you’re winners here; please understand that winning this remix competition is just the icing on the cake to this tutorial. The real pleasure should come in actually learning for your own productions. If you’ve gained any knowledge during the viewing of these videos then you’ve already ‘won.’ That was the main goal and I just feel obliged to let you all know that; seriously — I can’t stress how much more valuable that is in the long-run than winning a competition (of course — winning a contest is always great, haha).
Earlier I mentioned I’d talk briefly about our sound and how ‘Fiction’ came to be, etc. In order to so, I thought it’d be cool to touch upon my production relationship with Jerome and why it works in our favor to [almost] always work together. I think he and I are really blessed to have found each other because we know which areas each other is good at and we stick to those areas; are productions are so stream-lined that we often don’t even communicate to one another what’s missing from an idea because we try to be the masters of the categories we’re good at and decide for ourselves what our individual parts are missing, which need improvement and so on.
Jerome is the beat/groove and bassline master and I knew this early-on. His expertise and years of being a DJ completely dwarf mine which is fitting for him to arrange all of our tracks, too. I, on the other-hand — like to see myself as a [decent] sound-designer (I hope), a melody and chords writer as well as an atmospherics/soundscapes/FX composer. I’ll usually start an idea by building a breakdown. Here is why: a breakdown usually contains all of the key musical elements in a track. All of my breakdowns without Jerome’s beats running through them sound like a movie score before they are further stripped-down so that they are concise enough for a dance track. Jerome could be working on a beat he hasn’t informed me on — I could be working on a breakdown he has no idea about — and the two can come together perfectly because we both have what the other is missing. In my initial breakdown ideas/proposals — I’ll have chords where the melody is directly built into the chord and the voicing is such that the melody runs between the bass and top notes. I’ll always have the chords filtered low just in case Jerome hears a melody of his own when he gives it a first-listen; my filtered-down melody works psychoacousically — that is, it can inspire or guide his own ideas without being intrusive. Speaking about chords, however — I know you all know what it means to have your own ‘sound.’ It can be one of the most difficult identities to obtain as a music producer. Did you know, though — that it isn’t just the familiar sound design that you use across all your tracks that contribute to your overall ‘sound?’ What if I were to tell you that one of those ‘identifiers’ could also be the type of music you write? In defining our sound, I spent a great deal of time learning how to WRITE chords and melodies that can identify us by those alone. Across our songs you’ll hear some re-used sounds which were deliberate but there’s also a common denominator in terms of musical writing. A lot of our music has that slightly melancholic yet hopeful finish at the turn-arounds or endings of the progressions. I am informing you on this merely to give you a different perspective/way of looking at things when building your own identity as a producer. While a specific method of designing sounds can separate you from the rest of the herd — so, too, can the style or way in which you write your music!
In the case of ‘Fiction’ — and coming off of tracks such as ‘Floyd,’ ‘Tiger,’ ‘Reflection,’ etc. I wanted to continue those styles of chords. A little background on how the track came to be: Initially, I wrote this track as a possible collaboration for my buddies Cosmic Gate who had asked me to work with them on their ‘Materia’ album; for some reason, the demo got lost in their inbox and after getting no reply, I sent the idea to Jerome and the rest, as they say, was history. About a year later Bossi of CG had wrote to me to tell me that my email was in his spam folder and he was bittersweet that the idea went else but happy to see that it became what it did. When Cosmic Gate and I finally did collaborate, I interpolated those ‘Fiction’ chords to write and produce a track with them entitled ‘Fight The Feeling.’ While this information is neither here nor there, I thought it would be cool to show that in the real-world — ideas get recycled and rehashed constantly; moral of the story is that nothing is ever ‘trashed’ — it’s ALWAYS on the table!
Just today I sent Jerome another “breakdown-idea” that I can’t wait for you all to hear. We play a game of tic-tac-toe until a song is finally finished: I’ll send an idea, he’ll send it back with a groove and an outline, I’ll add more sounds to it before sending it off back to him — rinse & repeat, etc. Well, I hope you all found this informative — I look forward to answering any questions or comments so, feel free to contact me at any time!