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Mix Breakdown: Amanda Hardy “Love Me I’m Rich”

Transcript
Hi, it’s Warren Huart here. Hope you’re doing marvelously well. Today, we’re going to talk about arranging a rock song. This is a song I wrote a few years ago, and an artist called Amanda Hardy has just done it, so we’re going to talk about the different arrangement ideas that I did on this song, and you’ll get to hear it.

Okay, as ever, please subscribe, and of course, go to producelikeapro.com and sign up for the email list, and you’ll get some behind the scenes footage on our Vimeo account, you also get to download my drum samples, you can download a whole session that you can mix and enter mix competitions, I’m sure if you’re watching this in a year’s time, there’ll be another mix competition up, if not five since then. Also, you’ll get to know about videos as they come out, and lots of other fun stuff, and all the free giveaways we do, and all of that great stuff.

So let’s get started, let’s have a look at the song.

Alright, so what we have, we have a whole bunch of things going on. This is kind of a — as the Americans like to say, an homage. It’s paying homage to grunge rock. Amanda is from Seattle. She’s just turned 18 years old, so she’s an 18 year old Seattlite. Her favorite band is Alice in Chains. Of course, she loves Nirvana, and all of the other great bands from Seattle. So we’re sort of leaning towards a kind of Seattle sound, a grunge sound, but with some modern twists. So this song, it has a few of those elements in it, basically, with a couple modern things thrown in.

There is a live drum kit, as ever, playing through the song. The live elements are this. They’re recorded here in the small studio here, so very, very simple drum miking. There’s a kick, snare, overheads, floor, and rack. That is it. No room mics, it’s a small room. So this is the live drum sound.

[drums]

Very simple sound.

[mix]

You can see what we’ve done there is add our usual array of Addictive Drum sounds. What I’ve done is I’ve added Addictive kick — three of them, actually. We can go through an audition them. The first one is this.

[kick]

It’s just adding purely thump and kick.

[kick 2]

This one is all click. And the last one…

[kick 3]

It’s quite aggressive as well.

[mix]

So basically, what those kicks are doing is adding a little bit more aggression, a little bit more lows to it. I’m sculpting them a little bit, like I’ve done on the other ones, doing some 5kHz boost. Pulling out some 400, some low mids out of it. So I’m doing — and I’m doing all of that, I’m pulling out low mids on this one, the clicky one, low mids out of that. So basically, out of those three, I’m adding to the live kick.

[live kick]

There’s three snares — sample snares going on.

[snare]

And those I’m sending to a reverb as well. Here’s the first one.

[snare]

It’s kind of a hollow, mainly cracky kind of snare.

That one is low in the mix, going to the reverb. That one is pretty rock.

[snare]

Quite a lot of ring, but there’s also some, “pah!” And that’s the transient designer basically — oh no, that one doesn’t have the transient designer on it, so it’s probably already that sound.

[snare]

Yeah, a lot of spank, as we like to say. That’s kind of the dominant snare. As ever, I’ve got a grace note one up here, using the same three snares. If you look at my other videos, you’ll see how I’ve done that, create the grace notes, etcetera. Let’s throw in all the drums. Here we go, here’s the whole kit together.

[drums]

So this is all of the drums together. Now, what I did is I had this sample that I created, so if you listen to this song, it’s a verse, it goes to the end of our verse.

[mix]

So what I did is I added this more aggressive snare sample here. Pretty evil.

[snare]

What I did is I created that on — I took a ringing snare in Addictive, and I distorted it, and compressed it within the software itself. Then I just printed one, and I just lay it in where I want it to be. It doesn’t need any subtleties, it’s just, [mimics snare], every single time.

So let’s listen. We’ll see where the B section comes in, the pre-chorus.

[mix]

Here it comes in. So that snare, that more aggressive snare is coming in there to really help differentiate the sections. So we’ve got a first verse here, which is relatively mellow, and then that aggressive snare comes in on the pre-chorus, and then of course stays in through the chorus.

Okay, the bass effect that I’m using, I’m using a tremolo effect on it.

[tremolo bass]

So what it does is it allows us to have bass in the verse, but since it’s doing kind of a tremolo thing, it doesn’t take up the same kind of amount of space as it would if it was playing the whole time. Have a listen. So this is the first verse, the tremolo bass.

[mix]

The tremolo effect will come off. See, it’s automated here, and the tremolo effect comes off. So it’s just in that first verse. To me, I played the bass, and I felt like it was taking up just a little too much room, and I liked the idea of putting a tremolo on a bass. So I put a tremolo on a bass, and now instead of just, [mimics bass] filling up the whole time, it’s, [mimics tremolo]. So it’s just about getting creative and thinking of ways about emptying out sections, so that when new sections come in, they feel a little bit more dramatic. Now, the main rhythm is playing through this.

[guitar]

It’s just got a phaser on it. It’s a Carl Martin Two Faze. Nice phaser. Slow. Very slow sweep.

And again, I think the bass having that tremolo effect on it, and that guitar with that phaser on, allows us — you can hear the phaser a little bit more. If you had too much stuff going on there, you might not hear the subtlety of it.

Okay, then comes in a pair of heavy guitars with a Big Muff pedal on it.

[mix]

So what’s happened there is the Big Muff pedals come on, the tremolos stop going on on the bass, and the more aggressive snare sound I created is coming in there to lift it. Let’s just get to the chorus.

[mix]

Now there’s some fun synth stuff going on in there. We’ll go to that synth you just heard there.

[synth]

That’s cool. That’s sort of — that idea actually comes from Pink Floyd, even though it’s a modern synth thing. Just kind of reminds me of something off Meddle. You know. One of These Days or something like that. Okay, so there’s a bunch of stuff going on in this first chorus. There is some synths.

Obviously, you’ve got that announcement, and then you’ve got this synth.

[synth 2]

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This is actually mirroring an electric part you can hear. Now on their own, they’re kind of dance-y and pretty or whatever they are, but they’re there to kind of add some extra movement and melody against the main part of the song. The main things that are going on here are of course the heavy guitars…

[heavy guitars]

Bass. Drums, of course. Oh yeah, here’s another thing before I move on too quickly, is I’ve got a bunch of stuff announcing that down beat. I’ve got an additional crash cymbal, and I’ve got an explosion.

[crash]

It’s not super loud, but it adds to the aggression of the down beat, so when that chorus comes in with the riser coming up…

[mix]

Little riser. It’s like some kind of modern dance things that’s on rock songs. A little explosion on that cymbal. Just adds to the dynamic.

Okay, so the fun things that aren’t as generic guitar-wise are these. I’ve got these guitar parts that I wrote.

[guitar]

There’s Decapitator on it just to distort it a little bit more. Subtly overdriving it a little bit more. Then I’ve got a harmony to that.

[guitar with harmony]

Cool. Those, both those parts are doubled. So left and right. Go into the song.

[mix]

Cool. What you heard at the end there was a reverse cymbal going into the next section.

[mix]

So now we’re going back to the original — pretty much the same thing that’s going on in the first verse, but there’s no tremolo on the bass anymore, we’ve already established that part, we don’t need the tremolo on it anymore. It’s got that same electric guitar going through it.

[mix]

And we stay pretty much on there. There’s a cool little keyboard part here which announces the pre-chorus — second chorus.

[keys]

Just a little unnerving sound there. A bit of headphone fun. Then we’re using the same instrumentation now as on the other pre-chorus. Fuzz guitars come in.

[mix]

Here’s a synth.

[synth]

So coming into the chorus, there’s a different — there’s the riser again. There’s also a little kick explosion. Another one.

[synths]

Just to add to that down beat. Lead guitar. So that’s me — all of those effects are actually created going into the amp. All that is is an L1 Limiter to kind of push it across, but all of that I did with pedals into an amp.

[guitar]

Wah pedal.

There’s a tremolo on that. That’s just harmonics. Wah pedal again. It’s fast. Jonny Greenwood kind of guitar playing I’m doing there. Very Jonny Greenwood. I mean, that’s completely a la Radiohead. So in that breakdown there, let’s go back to the bridge.

[mix]

Another bass drop. It’s the same verse guitar. A little delay. So now I’ve got a reverse cymbal coming into that section, and another kick explosion on the down beat. This whole outro doesn’t go back to the chorus.

[guitar]

Chaotic synth part.

[synth]

Just some chaos in there to be honest. I mean, this song is full of vitriol. It’s about a guy who’s throwing his weight about because he’s wealthy, and he’s like, “Yeah…” So it’s got some anger to it, so once she gets to the end here, she lets loose.

[mix]

So you can see, some of those chaotic keyboards that don’t seem to make any sense, or that crazy Radiohead guitar part that I’m doing there just adds to the overall angst of the track.

[guitar]

Absolute chaos, but see, it’s all part of the chaotic nature, but the thing about production is to make it make sense with the song. Quite often, you’ll get a love song, and the song is super heavy, and that’s fine, but there needs to be a point if it’s heavy and chaotic, but it’s like, “Baby, I love you,” [mimics guitars]. Maybe that works on a specific level, but maybe you should be addressing it in a sweeter way, so you’re getting the point across.

In this one, the opposite. This is a song about somebody abusing, you know, their fame to get what they want, so you know, there’s a little bit of anger in this, there’s some vitriol in this, so the production is built around that, and vocals are running that distorted delay on it. If you go to the lead vocal here, there’s a few things that I’ve done just to kind of add some little bit of aggression to it.

[vocals]

Now what I’ve got here is I’ve got the delay with the Decapitator on it, I can crank it so you can hear it a little more.

[vocals with distorted delay]

So there’s like, a little slap delay here, which is the Reel Tape Delay, just a little slap, but it’s distorted going in, the signal going in distorted just adds to the aggravation. Just adds to it. So you know, doing things like that.

I’ve also got an Echoplex printed here.

[vocal, Echoplex]

Which is doing the same kind of thing. It’s adding some aggression. So those kind of things, there’s also some delay effects, if you listen to this, which we actually printed.

[vocal effects]

So these little extra production things just to make it a little bit more angsty.

[mix]

So fantastic. I hope you enjoyed that. That’s a — you know, it’s a rock song very reminiscent of grunge with some modern elements thrown into it as well.

Please leave some questions, some comments, I’d love to have a discussion about how you do things, and sort of techniques you use to get the same kind of excitement out of a track. I love hearing what you guys have got to say. And as ever, go to producelikeapro.com and sign up for the email list, and of course, subscribe.

Thank you ever so much for watching, and I look forward to talking to you again soon.

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Warren Huart

Warren Huart

Warren Huart is an English record producer/musician/composer and recording engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Learn more at producelikeapro.com.

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