Welcome to the last two days of producing the song “Lost in the Wind.” In this post we’ll be putting a wrap on the first song from my 10-song production marathon. And damn, it feels SO good to be done.
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Otherwise, let’s soldier onward and wrap this track up!
The Ninth Day of Production
I start the day off giving my ears a rest by playing catchup on these production write-ups.
It’s nice to take a break from using my ears and mentally review how far this track has come. From absolutely nothing, just blank vacuum, to this - a song I can dance to and sing to. It’s a good feeling.
What’s really left?
- Mixing and Mastering, basically.
- Automation, if I really want to go there.
- Any final Effects: EQs, Compression, Reverb.
- Master EQ and Master Compression.
I’m no expert. Instead of a typical studio producer “checklist,” I’m going to need to use my ears.
To get warmed up, I’m watching production videos on YouTube for new ideas… I have a few re-listens to my track, making very minor adjustments - just listening and tweaking by intuition mostly.
Minor Adjustments to Vocals
Even though I don’t really want to deal with it, I might need to rearrange a few more clips of the vocals - especially the hardest parts of the chorus in falsetto. It’s a pretty tough part and I’m not a very practiced singer, so some of the phrases come off as duds upon re-listening.
It’s time like this that I’m glad to be fairly patient with this whole songwriting process. I’m giving the sounds time to “settle” before committing to them.
OK, so I re-arranged a couple of the weakest vocal phrases by borrowing better performances from other sections. And now, I’m going to move on.
Beyond this point, I’d just be nitpicking. My time would be better spent A) writing more songs and B) practicing my singing as I go… not endlessly re-working a single mediocre vocal recording.
I might just need a day’s rest from this song to get some perspective. There’s no harm in that, if it makes the final product better. To step away from the song without abandoning music for the day, I’ve been practicing some extra piano.
Tuning the Kick Drum and Other Details
Then I get a bit of a second wind and do some tiny drum tweaks that have a big impact.
Most noteworthy was manually adjusting the electronic kick drum tuning and fullness. The result really sits the kick much better in the mix.
I also cut a few decibels on some of the higher percussion sounds to fit the overall “dark” tone of this track.
Last stop for the day - I’m going back to the Vocals tracks (again). Just experimenting - trying to make them punchier, more powerful, with balanced and effective dynamics. This includes compression, EQ, and reverb. I’m getting confused…
(This is where my notes end for the night).
The 10th and Final Day of Production:
Here we are. I didn’t know it when the day began, but this was the final day of production on “Lost in the Wind.”
It started off with a bit more mixing for balance. I was just doing whatever tweaks I could to improve the balances between sections and between instruments.
I also touched on the reverb and EQs (but not too much). I’m trying not to get stuck in sound engineering. That’s not what I’m here for. This is a songwriting marathon, not an EQ-ing and Reverb-ing marathon. Remember that.
Besides which… man, I really don’t understand how to EQ a vocal. I mean, like.. at all. I feel completely clueless. Although I did learn something after twiddling the equalizer knobs for 30 minutes, I’m not… not really sure what it was that I learned, exactly.
Polishing the Vocals
All this detailed focus on the vocals (I mistyped that as “vocus”, which is actually a great word for this situation) is making me realize just how far my voice has to go.
I want to get my pitches more accurate, for one thing. And improve the strength, consistency, and accuracy of my upper and lower ranges.
That’s ok, this isn’t not a singing marathon either. It’s a songwriting marathon. Remember that, remember that, remember that.
I keep tweaking things… the dynamics… more reverb… less reverb… trying more compression on vocals… actually getting some good results here.
There’s not much to say about it, this part was mostly done by ear.
I was working from a mix of instinct, intuition, really listening to my knob-twiddling, how the changes affected the overall mix… but even then feeling clueless.
I have to constantly check to turn off the effect and listen to the original sound. Sometimes my changes had only made things sound worse!
And Suddenly Everything Has Clicked
Yet suddenly I realize: I really like the way the track sounds on the whole.
It was when I pressed play and just danced uncontrollably all the way through it, then I realized what I had just done and laughed to myself.
At that moment, I thought “print it NOW.”
And then I hesitated, and then I was like - “fuck it, listen to your gut” and I EXPORTED that fucker.
So that’s what you’ll hear, the exact version that finally made me just press ‘play’ and dance and smile and laugh and feel something I liked. I hope it does the same for you.
Sharing the Finished Results
Be sure to listen to the results! And if you enjoy the track, please help me out by sharing it!
There are more new songs to come! Click here to join me as I start from scratch on Song Number 2.
Or, go back to Day One of this song to start the whole journey over again.