Pt. 1 Template
I cannot stress how important it is to have a clean and organized Pro Tools session. In this series of posts I’ll cover some of the things I do to keep my session is order. This is how I personally do things, but as long as you know where everything is in your session, you can do what works for you.
The first thing I would recommend is to create a template that works for you. Make sure you have everything you need in the template to start a session. When the artist comes in, you can open your template and be ready to go. Some things that I put in my template are individual buses for drums, instruments, vocals and effects. I have my vocal chain for recording and some plugins that I use regularly for instruments so I don’t have to go looking for them. These things seem small and might only take you a minute to set up, but after 50 sessions these things quickly add up.
“Summer Forever” was inspired by Mumford and Sons and other acoustic folk songs. We wanted to create a song that had an uptempo, happy and uplifting vibe. Colton started off the idea with recording the acoustic guitar loop. He intentionally tried to keep it loose and “jangly,” similar to Mumford. From that point, Brandon programmed a live kick drum sample to hit on all four beats. This allows the song to drive more. We also recorded all of our claps together in order to give the song a strong 2 and 4.
We were able to stray away a little bit from the typical Mumford style once we hit the chorus. Colton added some tasty synth patches to fill it out the sound, and Brandon added live bass afterwards. This song is special to us because it was one of the first pop songs of ours that includes an equal amount of live and electronic production. Sonically, we are very proud of this song, and hope you enjoy it.
This song is all about capturing the feel of the summer. We wanted it to be a song that recalls memories of throwing a makeshift band together and singing by a campfire. The song has a light and innocent feel to it - one that matches youthful days spent at summer camp or at home from school. I tried to recreate the feeling of a summer crush, or fling - a relationship that feels like it should last forever.
Overall, for this track, we wanted it to sound bouncy and “semi-live..” If you listen closely, you’ll hear live hi hats in the choruses and second verse. A live snare drum is also layered in the chorus, creating a wider backbeat, along with some tambourines and other percussion toys. Rather than using only electronic elements, we were able to create a more unique sound by adding in live instruments.
Imagine you are at a bar, a club, or a party. You see someone across the room just as your favorite song comes on. Maybe you lock eyes, then look away, just to look back again and see if they're still there looking back at you too. That’s what I wanted this song to feel like. I wanted to write a song that felt like you were at your favorite place and you see someone that you want to get to know. It feels like the night you always want to have when you get ready to go out with your friends, but don’t always get. I wanted to capture the feeling of the excitement of having a new crush. It is such a unique and amazing feeling and I think that the melody of the topline, along with the vocal chops in the beat work really work together to bring that feeling to life.
This song started off with Tori's idea of writing about “ghosting” someone. It was an awesome concept, and we set out to make the production as creepy/ethereal as possible. Colton started it off with a “creepy sounding synth” he found. Overall, we wanted the track to sound more modern, so I programmed light trap snares throughout the composition. I filtered them down a bit, giving the beat a darker feel. My personal favorite drum sound in the track is the layered “2 and 4” in the pre chorus section. I layered a couple of “block” sounds with a thick clap to build up the track. As a musician, I tend to want things to drastically build and drop, section by section, similar to a live performance. To acheive this, we layered the pre choruses and chorus with uplifters and downlifters. This also helped to modernize the track a bit. These effects are coupled with filters, thus creating much smoother transitions.
The New York Times article on “Ghosting,” was the inspiration for this song. Ghosting is a cultural phenomenon in which a friend, partner, or lover cuts off all communication with you and disappears from your life. Obviously this isn’t something someone would want to experience. While this may not be a totally new thing, it seems to be happening more often in the age of the internet and social media. The article explains that this seems to be happening more today because people have poorer communication skills because they often text or speak on the computer instead of in person or on the telephone. While some people ghost because they are in a dangerous or abusive relationship, others ghost because it is easier - they don’t have to deal with the fallout and emotional baggage of a breakup, or they simply don’t care. After talking about this with a couple friends, I found that many of them had personal experiences of being ghosted themselves. This was happening to them by anyone - from people they had met a couple times to longtime friends that simply stopped communicating with them. It somehow feels more personal in an age when you have access to a person in so many ways and in a constant way when someone decides to "unfollow" your life and relationship.
I told Colton and Brandon about this phenomenon and my idea to write a song from the perspective of someone who has been ghosted. I wanted to capture the essence of the feeling of abandonment, of broken trust, of despair. The beat that they started to make in the session completely encapsulated the ideas I had talked about with them. The beginning of the song starts out explaining the situation that this girl finds herself in. This person has literally become a ghost to them. She questions every moment of the time they spent together - even questions herself for believing in them and not seeing through to his true nature and his eventual actions. However, the second verse is a realization that she has been cheated and treated wrongly. She wants to take back control and reclaim her power. She won’t let his situation define her. She will not become a ghost of who she was.