In the past few years, Ableton Live has become one of the most popular DAW’s in the production world. In all my experience with DAW’s, Ableton has been the most intuitive and innovating pieces of software I have ever seen. One of my favorite features is the two different views. There is arrangement and clip view. Arrangement view is the same view that other DAW’s like Logic or Pro Tools have. However, clip view is where things really get interesting. Clip view is the best for laying down quick ideas and looping them to create different sections of a song. In a matter of minutes you can have many different sections laid out. Soon after, you can trigger each section to preview what it will sound like when it is put into the arrangement view. Once you have your different sections, you can record each section into arrangement view in real time. This innovation is why I think Ableton is far greater than the rest of the other DAW’s for sale.
Writers block happens to everyone. Here are some ideas on how to get over it!
-Work with another song writer to help spark ideas. Even talking to a friend who isn’t a writer can help. Bounce ideas off each other and use the other person’s unique point of view to come up with new ideas
-Do something new
-Take a walk, visit somewhere you’ve never been before, or try out a new recipe you’ve been saving. Break out of your daily routine and habit
-Try writing in a new way
-If you usually write on the computer, try writing by hand. (and vice versa). Go to the library, to a park, or a new environment to write.
-Just write anyways
-Sit down at your computer or journal and write without breaking for five minutes. It may not be a masterpiece, but at least you’ve written something! If you make it a daily practice, ideas will come to you quicker and it will become habit.
Using delays on vocals is very important to create the best possible pop sound. Not only is delay a cool effect, but delay will also help thicken up your vocal, and create the feeling of having more space behind it. We do all of our post production in Pro Tools. So, in the session template, I have 3-4 different delay sends that I can send my vocals to. Each one is synced to a different note value (quarter note, eight note, etc). Typically in a song I will have one fast delay running the entire time behind the vocal. Then I will go through the song and make “delay throws.” Delay throws are automated delays that come in on the last word in a phrase before the next line. So, if the vocal says, “breaking down this wall,” I would automate the delay to only turn on for “wall.” Throws help fill up empty space before the next line of the song. Adding these two different delays makes a huge difference in the song.
Reverb is one of our must used tools when crafting a song. During the production of the song, I put reverb on almost everything. Now, that’s not to say I drown everything in reverb (though sometimes that may be your desired effect), but every instrument and drum usually will have a varying degree of reverb on it. Putting reverb on your tracks will help the whole song sound more cohesive - as if the instruments were recorded in the same space as the vocals. The only exception for reverb would be on the kick and bass, unless you are going for a very specific sound (but generally we will not have reverb on the kick or bass). Reverb is especially helpful in the making of pop music today, when live instruments are rarely used. Reverb can also help you create new sounds while producing a song. Try experimenting with having more than 50% wet on an instrument. With some instruments, this can create a very cool effect.