How to make TRACKS and not just LOOPS | Andrew Huang


Hey! It’s me! (Clap) All right, first off: my deepest, widest, tallest, apologies if there’s any background noise in this video; there’s some construction happening outside… We’re gonna get through it! I want to do that thing today where I go on Twitter and ask you guys which music I should work on, purely based on the weird titles that I give my works in progress… Let’s go! *B A S S* *bass-heavy asking Twitter theme* (Wah—)
*bass-heavy asking Twitter theme* *bass-heavy asking Twitter theme* (*higher pitched* WAH—)
*bass-heavy asking Twitter theme* *bass-heavy asking Twitter theme* Alright, the votes are in. You guys picked a folder called JK which, uh, does not stand for just kidding; it stands for… J and K— I was listening to a lot of J-Pop and K-Pop… at this time… And then within that folder, you picked a song called “Bang.” So, let’s listen to this for the first time since July 2013. *subdued beeps* Aw man, my presets aren’t loading righ— Okay, maybe this is a Live Ten thing. Oops! Go baaack… go back a version! I know I just dropped my big Live 10 video… Why aren’t you loading my Massive presets? *music plays, now with loaded Massive presets* There we go!
*music plays, now with loaded Massive presets* *music continues* Club time!
*music continues* *music continues* *first section repeats* (sip)
*first section repeats* *first section repeats* (places cup on table)
*first section repeats* *first section repeats* Oh, there’s gonna be this awful demo vocal in here…
*first section repeats* *first section repeats* *transition* *gibberish singing* Okay… *laughs* *more gibberish singing* *new section of demo vocals* Hmm… alright If you don’t know, this is a thing I do: I just sing kind of gibberish stuff to get a melody down. That was not as bad as I thought it would be. I think I was using a proper microphone; sometimes I’m doing stuff so fast that I just sing into my laptop microphone to get the demo vocals down and it sounds awful, but I just need to remember my melodic idears— Idears… I don’t think we’re going to be recording proper vocals today because of the, uh… *construction noises* Let’s make this more of a producing video; Let’s build up… this beat. I think I could still make a nice track out of this that I would like and that wouldn’t immediately scream 2013. Let’s hope. There’s no bass part yet, so… let’s add it. Let’s do… let’s do bass to this. Ah, haven’t used that catchphrase in a long time! I’m really bad at my personal brand… (Clap) Let’s do bass to this! *A I R H O R N S* Wait, it’s “Do bass to it…” Is that what I… *sighs* *music starts* *montage of doing bass to it* Let’s talk about something that a lot of people ask me about, which is coming up with B Sections. One way that people talk about song structure is using letters: so A is the first thing that you’ve come up with, and then the first big change— the first different section— is the B section. And something that I think probably every composer, or producer, or songwriter comes up against is those times when you’ve got something really good going, but it’s just looping; it’s just this one thing, and you don’t know where to take it next— how to make something else that’s different, but that still fits with what you’ve got. So, let me show you some of the things that I do. Sometimes, you know, it just comes out of inspiration, but there’s also certain techniques and tricks that you can apply— that you can just… experiment with, see what happens— and often, that can lead to a natural, nice sounding… B section. The easiest, most basic way to think about it is: you’re trying to make something that is a bit different, and a bit the same. So if you’re thinking about all the different musical elements you’re using, whether it’s instruments, or effects, or a chord, or a part of a melody… you want to something the same, and you want to change something. Like with anything, there are going to be exceptions to this rule where you just throw a total non-sequitur in sometimes, but this is kind of a general rule that most music abides by. Even though things are changing, there is something connecting the parts together. So, like, in our track so far, I’ve been looping pretty much the same thing over and over: the trance synth is in there the whole way through, I added some drum layers, I added the bass in; but the chord progression is staying the same, the rhythms are staying the same… In terms of dynamics and energy, there are no major changes… So a few things we could do to make it different: take away a major element, like, maybe remove that synthesizer or remove the drums. We could change up the chord progression; or we could have a different instrument come in, and replace the current chord instrument. We could filter a whole bunch of instruments, or we go the other way dynamically. What if we keep everything that we’ve got but add a ton of new stuff at once? A bunch of guitars, and sound effects, and a whole new set of drums. And so, with any of these approaches, you’ll have something carrying through, like the chord progression or an instrument or a vocal… That’s your glue, but then enough things are changing and spicing it up to keep it interesting. Change something, keep something the same. I don’t know what we’re making where we’re mixing glue and spices together, but… it’s gonna be tasty! So looking at our track, even as I’ve just been thinking about this, I already know what I’d like to experiment with for the next section of this song: I’m gonna take out the drums… I’m going to keep the synthesizer, but I’m gonna change what it’s playing both, ah, rhythmically… and, uh, in terms of the chord progression. Goodbye! We’re gonna loop this… *small laugh* Just keep it going… Maybe I’ll filter it here… Just dragging this around here with my mouse. (la, la, la) *filtering it here* Y’know what I’m hearing now for this buildup? And maybe it’s just because I recently made that stupid Sandstorm video… *sandstorm video flashback* Think we need one of those classic 909 snare drum buildups. *insert classic 909 snare drum buildup* *silence* That’s freaking funny. So here’s what I’m feeling now: we’ve been building up… What have we been building up to? How about… a drop? I feel like doing one of those… weirdo, sparse drops? Do you know what I’m talking about? Heavy-hitting drums, but kind of just sound effects and a little synth stab here, little bit of bass here… Just, like, cool stuff sprinkled all over… and you know what? Let’s go back to Twitter. Let’s get some sound effects… from you! *B A S S* *return of the bass-heavy asking Twitter theme* (Wah—) While we’re waiting for that stuff to roll in, let’s go have some lunch! Sound tracked by my newest release on Spotify and iTunes and— *lunch break, sound tracked by “Love is Real”* I’m microwaving leftovers. It’s… whatever. Let’s look at some stuff! What do we got? *pop* *fluttery inhale* *fl-tnk* YOW! Yeh— *clink (x3)* *ffffp-ts k-p-ts p-ts-k tshh* *alien noise generator* *dissonant piano plinks (x5)* *inaudible room chatter* *Link sound files (x4)* *keys hitting a table* *slinky hitting a table* Andrew Huaaaaaaa— *Ooh, oooh, OOOO—* *baby babbling* *skull decoration jostling* *human trumpet playing a tune from Mario* *sproing* *walking on icy gravel* *wrrrrrr* *g-kh… bkng* *shweep* *tss, ptsh, chng* *woo, woo; beepboop* *inaudible* *SMACK* Oh! Ahaha— *Oh! Ahaha—* *laughs* *Oh! Ahaha—* Physical pain! OH! AHAHA— *loud squeak (x2), khh* *low buzz* *inhale* *hahh (x2)* Kobe! *clink, bonk* Whoo! Woop! Woo! Also, let me point out: I’m doing all this in stages right now, so there was sample collection, which you guys made really easy. Now I’m doing all the editing of the samples, just making each one sound as cool and musical as I can without totally knowing where it’s gonna fit in; and then I’ll move on to actually composing, and producing this drop. I just find it way more effective when I group all the similar tasks together like this because it starts to feel a lot more cumbersome and a lot more like work when you’re working on your music and you’re like: “Okay, let’s find another sample” “that could maybe fit here…” “Let’s edit that sample, let’s put it in…” “Let’s do that all again, so many times…” Nuh uh. This is just… smoother. So after a few hours of working with these samples, here’s what I’ve come up with. Let’s start it from the buildup. *starting it from the buildup* *Ooh, oooh, OOOOH* *B A S S* I’ve been mangling these samples in some really fun ways and I wanna be able to share that with you so I think that’s gonna be its own whole separate video… And I’ve been kind of thinking of, uh, making a slight tweak to the way I do these videos anyway because usually my goal is to finish a track in the video, which, uh… y’know, doesn’t matter who you are— that’s pretty ambitious. So I think sometimes, like today, maybe we’ll just delve into certain parts of the process and pick it up again… like do a “To be continued…” episode and honestly, it just makes it easier… for me to make more content… So yeah, let’s leave it there for today. Subscribe, turn on the notifications, with the bell… Um… Andrew Huang out! (Clap) *B A S S* Yea 😀