How To Make - Fiction with Jerome Isma-Ae / 563

Fiction with Jerome Isma-Ae

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Following the resounding success of their last tutorial this week at Sonic Academy we are super excited to welcome back Jerome Isma-Ae and Alastor for another awesome course in making one of their tracks, and this time we’re checking out How To Make Fiction.

From creating the distinctive groove through to building the atmospheric chords and pads right through to arranging and recording the expressive automation, Jerome and Alastor show us step-by-step how this incredible track is put together in an easy-to-follow way both in Logic Pro and Cubase.

As undeniably astounding as any of Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor’s previous endeavours, ‘Fiction’ is a progressive masterpiece fuelling the sound of tomorrow. With magical chord progressions and harmonies, the song allows for minds to drift and thoughts to wander. A distinctive classic that takes you on a journey.

And it doesn’t stop there!

Also with this course, we are running another fantastic remix competition! - The How To Make Fiction Remix Contest is exclusive, here on Sonic Academy and you could be in with a chance of winning some cool prizes and ultimately getting a release on Jerome’s very own label Jee Productions which focuses on releasing cutting edge music and considered one of top Progressive House labels by beatport. Your track could be released on Volume 2 following on from the first volume which featured the likes of Robert Babicz, Third Son, Tone Depth and Kris Davis.

After the recent success of our other remix competitions, we’re proud to have one of the best music-making communities anywhere, and the level of production skillz coming through the forums is truly amazing.
So, ourselves and Jerome are super excited to see what you guys can come up with - we know you can smash it. You can now download the stems from this awesome tune and start working your magic!

We have shown you how to make the tune, now it’s over to you to get creative, make a dope remix of this track and show the world your production talent.

Just click the ‘Enter Remix Comp’ button above to find out more! This competition is open to all Sonic Academy registered users.

Contest ends - 02/02/2018 06:00:00 UTC

Oh yea!! Another series and remix competition from the man himself!

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great ! like the style :slight_smile:


Great Stuff !! Thank you to Jerome - Alastor & Sonic Academy. Really worse the purchase. This time I hope to have the time to drop a remix.
Talking about that, if you head up to Soundcloud and search for “jerome isma-ae fiction” you will find existing remixes of this track to give you an idea of what has already been done.
But let’s learn some good stuff before, back to the course !
Yeah !!


The biggest blast from Sonic Academny. I just can’t believe I get to see Fiction in making from the master himself.

Thank you Jerome, Thank You!


Really nice to have these modern melodic deep techno style tutorials! would love to see more of these! Lovely track aswell, its been getting hammered!
only thing thats annoying… once you notice it… the feedback noise is pretty heavy and it sounds like a gate is cutting it out when hes not speaking and its all i can focus on now lol.
Hands down best tutorial for quite a while on sonic. well done!


Really enjoying these, please keep more coming from Jerome or this Genre! :smiley:


Update for those looking to some references mixes. Of course they are on Jerome’s Soundcloud but there’s even an album named “FICTION REMIXED” with regular & extended remixes of the track. Here is the Spotify link :
Fiction (Remixed) - Single by Jerome Isma-Ae, Alastor | Spotify” ( without quotes ).


Hey everyone,

Jerome and I wanted to thank you all for being a part of our last guests tutorial video, ‘How To Make Kubrick.’ We were excited to show you how we made ‘Fiction’ in this brand-new segment, hosted by Jerome (I look forward to being more involved in the tutorial-making process in the future, nevertheless I was happy to find the time in my schedule to show you how we comprised the chord and synth elements). You’ll probably notice that the complexity in our tracks actually derives from how ‘simple’ they are. As cliche as it is, “less-is-more” is key here. While not always as easy to adhere to, we hope the general moral here is to break it down for and encourage you to do the same with your own catalogue of music. Have fun — we’re super-excited to hear your remix submissions!


I’m embarrassed to say that I have never known about latch automation until now. A whole new word has been opened to me. Haha Thanks Jerome Isma-ae

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The last series and this one has definitely opened my eyes to really making the most out of each sound through automation and an interesting arrangement. Big thank you to you Alastor for the chords section of the series!

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Wooow awesome tutorial guys! Thanks for all the insight! Each sound is so good lol


The song is definitely in F. If you copy the midi exactly like Alastor shows in his chords video and play it against the stem for the chords it sounds totally off. Drop the midi notes by one tone and hey presto, it sounds exactly right. I guess it’s just a transposition at some point throughout the process that hasn’t been shown.

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@Sonic_Academy could this be refreshed on the tutorial front page : Contest ends - 02/02/2018 06:00:00 UTC
since it’s now until the 16th of February.

New visitors may want to participate if they see that they still have time :wink:

Hey @Tekalight - done

Thank you Chris !

That’s exactly correct and thank you for pointing that out. My apologies! The track wasn’t originally in F and because I had so many different project sessions for Fiction as I was building the tutorial, I accidentally opened the MIDI chord session for the original demo I had built just before I sent it off to Jerome and said, “hey — what do you think about this idea?” It wasn’t until I had already produced the video and was on the road that Jerome said, “hey, dude — these are in the wrong key!” Because I was able to record my voice separately for the video — he simply transposed them to the correct key and was able to keep the pitch of my voice intact when joining my mic’s audio with the video. Long story short — my apologies!

However, an important lesson is learned here: it goes to show you how trying out a chord progression in different keys can completely change the tone or feel of a track. When you’ve written some dope chords, you should absolutely play around with transposing your written music to see which “feels” the best. Certain keys sound darker/happier than others. Please play around!

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Hi everyone,

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!


Thanks Alastor, some really great info in there, love reading the behind the scenes stuff. Appreciate it.

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