Writing and arranging your songs properly so that they work, even raw, is essential.
This will make mixing easier, more fun and way faster.
Book a free feedback call with Benedikt, the host of the show!
This week we answered a great question from our community member Jesse Crawford (Loma Roses)
Jesse sent us the following question on building arrangements:
“I was wondering if you would have input about arrangement concepts. Specifically about how to produce your songs to where the instruments/tones can be clearly defined from one another. I’m interested in hearing how other people approach this idea. To me, one of the main challenges is making tones that play well together.”
Now you might be asking: "Why is that even important? Can't you just shape the tones in the mix?"
The answer is: You want to write and arrange your songs so that they already work, even raw, before mixing. That way the mix will be easier, more fun and faster. You don’t want to fight your song in the mix.
So, in this first part of it (it's going to be a two-part episode) we'll address:
- GENERAL, BIG PICTURE ARRANGEMENT DECISIONS AND QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
- DRUMS & BASS - THE GROOVE
- RHYTHM TRACKS - GUITARS, SYNTH, KEYS, ETC.
Mentioned On The Episode:
TSRB 144 - Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed
Benedikt: really building the song, arranging it, filling in these holes and making sure the puzzle works has at least at this stage of the process, nothing to do with mix moves and EQ moves, but with choosing the right puzzle pieces so that later in the mix you can use them
to complete the puzzle and make them fit together. Hello and welcome to the Self Recording Band podcast. I am your host, Benedictine. If you are new to the show, welcome. Thank you for joining us. If you are already a listener, thank you for coming back. And if you're listening on Apple Podcast, please go there. Leave us a five star review. If you find these episodes valuable, if you got any value out of the past episodes that you've been listening to, or leave us review on whatever app you're listening on, there might be more options. But Apple Podcast is the preferred one to be honest. So thank you for that. That really helps us reach more people like you. And if you need personal help with your next project, the record you're making right now, or the record you're planning right now, if you want feedback on stuff you've already recorded, um, if you're confused about what steps to take to, in order to reach your goal as a band or musician, go to the self recording band.com/call and book a free one-on-one coaching call where you get answers to your most pressing audio questions and the step by step. Roadmap a plan. yeah, so you know what to do next and how to actually get to your goal as a DIY artist. The self recording band.com/call today. I'm here as always with my friend and co-host, Malcolm Owen Flood. Hello, Malcolm. How are you?
Malcom: Hey Benny. I'm good, man. How are you?
Benedikt: I'm good too. Had a fantastic weekend. Things things are going well. Again, now, listeners you might not know, but I had a wild fall or this year, like a pretty rough couple of weeks. We were constantly sick in the family, like the kids had, you know, all kinds of things. And then they, we got it from them and then they brought home the next thing from school. So we were constantly sick and tortured with all kinds of, you know, I don't know how to say it, but
Benedikt: Exactly. That was pretty much how the last, the past couple of weeks went, uh, into some other things that just happened. Um, navigated all of it, uh, successfully, eventually, and
Malcom: I, I
Benedikt: we're to normal.
Malcom: attest that it is so impressive how you soldier on when you get sick or anything happens to you, Benny, I'm so always like, Wait, we're, we're doing the podcast. You should be in bed , and you're a, a, a beast. Yeah, you keep going.
Benedikt: thank you. I mean, the truth, the truth is that I don't wanna do it actually, but I know that if I don't do it and stay in bed, which is probably the better thing to do in most cases, but sometimes the consequences of that are even worse because somebody's gotta do it at some point, you know? So I try to do the minimum at least, and, uh, but yeah, I, I get rest, so don't
No, you're great.
Benedikt: Thank you. So how was your weekend? Uh,
Malcom: My weekend was great. Yeah. Uh, I got, I have coffee chat for you. Um, my fiance Beth, is like a part-time fashion influencer on Instagram. And she got given, uh, well I say fashion influencer, but sometimes you get given other stuff for and whatnot. And we got given an espresso machine, which I have very mixed feelings about
Malcom: I'm enjoying the coffee very much. I feel like I live in a hotel room now because you just get to like click a button and get a dope coffee all the time. And we have all these different pods they sent us for like espressos and americanos and lattes and stuff, which is super cool. but they're terrible for the environment. I
Malcom: like such a waste. Um, so I've got mixed feelings, but I've been enjoying it. In the meantime, like I said, it feels like I live in a, a hotel room where I just have like a little convenient coffee machine right beside me. I kind of want one, like right beside me in uh, my built into my desk here. I think that would be really cool.
Benedikt: Yeah. Yep, totally. yeah, I don't have one of these for the exact reason, but also I think, dude, I had a long, I'm like, I'm okay. Coffee talk. Uh, I, I love coffee. And for the, like, for about 10 years or so, the past 10 years, I had also an espresso machine, but not one with pods, but one where with like, grinder on top where you put the beans into and then it makes it from fresh beans, you know, like fully automatic thing.
but not like the full thing with lattes and everything. I just needed the espresso and the black coffee because that's all I drink. And then, So I had that for the longest time and before I switched to the apress, because that machine at some point didn't work anymore, I needed something new. And then I switched to the apress, which I still use and love every day. But espresso is the one thing that I'm missing because you can't do that with the Apress. And I love espresso. And that's the one thing that I'm missing. But I kind of want to spend a lot of money again on a machine like that, just for the occasional espresso, because I'm really happy with Euro press. And
Malcom: I I hear you.
Benedikt: I don't know, like the POTS thing is cool, but I don't know if you compare that to anything with fresh beans. It's not quite there. And then there's the environment factor in all
Benedikt: is the convenience is of course. Awesome. So I totally get that. And if they would give it to me for free, I'd probably use it too.
Malcom: So our plan is to use up all of the stuff they sent us and then sell this machine I probably shouldn't say that, I, I really doubt Espresso was listening to this podcast to find out how Beth is gonna use her machine
Malcom: so yeah, we're, we're, gonna use it up and then we're gonna sell it and go back to our, our apress and French press situation for you live in Europe, where coffee is amazing over there like, or, uh, espresso especially is amazing there, like Spain. I just love it. You walk out, you spend a euro and you have this amazing little espresso. It's like the best. Is Germany good for espressos too?
Benedikt: not as much as like Italy or, or Spain, of course. but I don't know. I'm, It's different,
Malcom: I, I still think that more people drink espresso straight up over just in all of Europe than, than in North America.
Everybody over here big coffees.
Benedikt: Yes, yes. But Ger, but I think espresso is not too big in Germany too. Like, it, it's a sort of also an age thing. I think younger people, appreciate all the different kinds of coffee more, like, at least from, from what I know from my family and friends and all of them, but like our, our parents and, uh, the way we grew up, they just make a, a big, you know, can of coffee and then, you know, filter coffee, basically just, Yeah. That's what everybody does, which is not bad if you do it correctly. but the, the whole espresso thing hasn't really been a thing. And then I think people switched from the traditional sort of, or like the way we used to, to make filter coffee, they switch to these automatic machines more. So almost every household that I know has one of those, either the pot thing or something with pads or the, with the fresh beans, but some variation of that. Whereas in Italy and Spain and stuff, they have the, the espresso machines where you grind the brain separately and then you put it in this metal, fake metal thing and then, you know, that's the proper way to make espresso. But that's also pretty expensive if you wanna do it right. And that is something not a lot of people have. It's getting more and more, but this is definitely not the way Germans used to drink coffee. This is
just happening Now,
Malcom: okay. Do you, do people go to coffee shops in Germany and buy like 20 ounce giant cups of coffee and walk around? Is that normal at all or is that obscene over there? Cause that's totally normal here.
Benedikt: I can't really speak to that because I'm so far away from any bigger city. I mean, I mean, I am there every once in a while, but I don't really know what's the norm there. There's definitely no Starbucks around here or anything like that, um, where you could do anything like that. So here where I live, it's not the case, but it might be like that in Berlin or Munich or whatever. And you know, I, but I'm, I'm, I'm there, you know, five times a year maybe. Uh, or when I'm, when I was on tour with my band, I was there more often, but I, I have no idea what its like now. I'm
Benedikt: away from everything , so, yeah. No, no, not really. but yeah, coffee's wonderful. There's, uh, so many ways to make coffee it's just,
Malcom: I feel like one of the non-musical related bans we can have on this podcast without alienating our whole audience. Like running. I think we probably lose both our listeners, but we start talking about running. Somebody probably just quit at the mere mention of it. , but, uh, but coffee, I think most of our listeners are obsessed with coffee. It seems to be a musical thing.
Benedikt: absolutely. And it's funny you bring it up because I might or might not have a surprise for, uh, our listeners and our community in general. That is coming pretty soon.
has to do with coffee Yeah, actually, I talked to Christina about this, my wife, uh, this past week. And we can, we brainstormed a couple of ideas and where all kinds of different directions when it comes to the business. And one of it has to do with coffee. So
Malcom: I am very excited,
Benedikt: we'll see. We'll see. All right. what did we wanna talk about today? Um,
Benedikt: I would love to do a coffee episode, but that's not the, that's not the goal here today, I think. So, uh, we wanted to talk about arrangements and building. Arrangements and ranging your songs in a way that they, you will have an easier life mixing them or whoever mixes them. But you'll, you build your arrangements with the mix in mind. You choose your tones and the way you play the different parts and how it all goes together in a way that the mix will be easier, faster, more fun, and better overall. And it's such a crucial part of the, the whole music production process. Uh, so I always, I have this, this, this, um, process that I always sort of go through and I think about music production. It's what I teach and my courses and, coaching as well. And the first step is always like the big picture, what you wanna make or vision for the art you're gonna make. Then the next step is like the writing of the song. And then the next step is arranging the song and finishing it before you can record it. Right? So, and this is what we're gonna talk about, and this comes from a question that we got in our community in the, if you go to the self recording band.com/community, this, Leads you to our Facebook group that is entirely free and you can join it right now to talk to other self recording bands and get feedback and, um, yeah, it's a pretty cool group of people. And in there, we say the name here? Who asked the question?
Malcom: I think so.
Benedikt: Okay, I think so. So, Jesse, Jesse Crawford, posted under this name in the community, so I assume it's okay to uh, say it on the podcast. He posted a very interesting question a while ago actually, that I wanted to, that I wanted to address on the podcast because he actually asked us, um, if we could do an episode about this. And his question was, I was wondering, that's his words now. I was wondering if you would have input about arrangement concepts, specifically about how to produce your songs to where the instruments tones can be clearly defined from one another. I'm interested in hearing how other people approach this idea. To me, one of the main challenges is making tones that play well together, and this is definitely part of the arrangement conversation. There's a little more to it. So we decided to do a little mini-series on this. And, uh, thank you, Jesse, for that question because it's a very important topic and a great question. By the way, his band just released a new song or his music project, uh, I think, I don't know how to pronounce it properly, so please excuse me if I say incorrectly. Or maybe you know how to pronounce
Malcom: I would say Loma Roses.
Benedikt: Loma Roses. Yeah, that's what I would say too. So this is the name of the, the project the bands have. Check it out on Spotify just released the new song.
Malcom: Yeah, uh, a little story about how they recorded it in the self recording band Facebook community. hit on there, that's kind of thing you'll find there as well.
Benedikt: Perfect. Yeah, exactly. So Loma Roses, Jesse Crawford. Thank you for this question. Now, why is this important? You wanna, as I said, you wanna write and arrange your songs so that they already work even raw before you mix them, before you apply all kinds of processing to them. And that way the mix will be much easier, more fun, and faster. And the thing is, you don't wanna fight your song in the mix because that's what happens if you don't do this properly. You. You will always sort of be fighting your song, your arrangement when you're mixing. Um, so you're much better off thinking about the final thing while you're building the song. We're gonna show you how to do that actually. Now there's different aspects to this, Malcolm. I think part of it is what Jesse said, where it's about the tones and how they fit together. But to me it's also about like, what do you, what do you even play? Like what does each part of the inst of the instrumentation of the, the, the band, what does everyone play in which part? It's sort, I think of it as like, when you were, let's say you, you put together an orchestra or something, you know, where every single instrument, every section of instruments has a certain function and play certain parts a certain way, and there's not much you can do. It just happens in the room and it works, you know. And even if, if people mix classical music, it's not really mixed in the sense that it's processed a lot. It's basically just balanced because everything happened in the room already by just properly arranging it. This is like, I think the prime example here. If you, if you think of an orchestra, it doesn't happen in the mix. It happens right in the room and, and on the sheet of paper, actually
Malcom: Yes. Yeah. It's, it's the part that is being played, , and the instrument that is playing it as well, more so than it is the tone of that instrument usually. so if you're needing like a really. Bright energy, like something that's moving up in that high frequency trouble presence range, you are trying to get that out of a low power cord guitar by just brightening it up, brightening it up, that actually, maybe that's the wrong call. Maybe it's you're just trying to squeeze, orange juice from an apple. I don't think that's the same, but now it is uh, know, so you like, the, the answer to this question might actually come from looking earlier in the process, as, as far as pre-production.
Benedikt: yes, totally. 100% agree. And I mean, with the pre-production. This is always, but again, different people obviously have different workflows and ways to think about it. For me, pre-pro is, again, another step. I kind of like to refine the arrangement even before pre-pro and then really just prepare for the recording. But of course, in pre-pro you go back and refine the arrangement maybe. So, you know, these parts can be sort of mixed together or not, so yeah, but, but specifically about, about the, the, the arrangement. So, yeah, there is this part of like how the tones go together and what the instruments sound like, but you said it's maybe this is not even as important as like what each instrument actually does and which purpose it serves and how it serves the, the song. and, and it would always have, to me at least, at least as much influence on the sound of the final product as the mixing has. Or you can only do so much in mixing depending on what you did in, in, um, arrangement or pre-pro. so what we're gonna walk you through in this episode is gonna be a long list of things that I've prepared in advance because this has taken, actually this is actual content from, our flagship recording course that we have. In our academy. And this is also a concept that I teach in the, the self recording syndicate, our coaching program. And I've taken PDF slides that I give to students and I sort of turned it in the, out into the outline of this episode. So, because this was just the perfect way for me to answer the, the question that the Jesse sent us. So if you wanna have those slides, by the way that we're gonna walk you through these bullet points that can serve as a checklist for you when you're working on your arrangements. You can go to the self recording ben.com/arrangement, and then you can download these, slides. And you will also find that link in the show notes of this episode. So we're just gonna go through it in sort of groups because as we said, there's multiple ways to think about arrangement. It's the tones play a role, but it's also how certain groups of instruments or certain instruments play together as a group, what, which parts they play and all of that. So we are gonna go through that in a systematic way, and it's gonna be a little mini serious because it's just too much for one episode Now. Let's just, I think let's just start and, uh, and go through it in order, unless there's any sort of, thing you wanna add to the whole why it's important to Malcolm
Malcom: I think that anything I want to add is going to naturally come up as we go through some examples. Uh, so yeah, let's jump right into it.
Benedikt: All right, perfect. So once again, I'm gonna say that we said why it's important, but I wanna add, I actually wanna add one thing. So once again, I wanna say, The arrangement is very important, so you please take this seriously. Please make notes. Please use a checklist like that to work on your songs. And trust me that it, it really matters because I know from experience, from working with so many people in the coaching and also my mixing clients and people in our community, I just know for a fact that most people like to skip this stuff and move straight to mixing and plugins and, you know, shaping their tones and learning advanced techniques. But really don't, don't skip this. There's the saying, the pros never, don't do the basics. And that's one of those basics
Malcom: good saying. And actually to, to speak more to that point. This is a huge part about what I get hired for and I'm sure it's the same for you, Benny, is when I was producing bands in studio, I would think about it the way that we're gonna be describing here and come up with ideas just by going through this process. Um, so it's like something people paid me a lot of money to do, so you might as well try and do it yourself as well. And even as just somebody that's only mixing and mastering now I'm still bringing these ideas from the same kind of mindset approach that we're gonna be talking about today. Um, somebody emails me a song and I listen to it and I come up with ideas based on how I listen to it. So I this is like, this is literal. This will, this will save you money,
Benedikt: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely.
Malcom: save you money And, get a much better result. And every that is checked off on this, like, like, it just gets more and more perfect. So when you do send it to somebody like Benny or I for mixing, we're freed up to not be worried about that. And we may come up with an even better idea. You just like the, the progress meter just gets fuller and fuller.
Benedikt: 100%. I even think of mixing as kind of an extension of the arrangement sometimes. Like I, I wanna grab what's there, how the transitions work, how the par like the emotion that the parts create and like the music, it's, it's art. It's not just like, uh, frequencies and hurts and numbers. It's, it's art and whatever comes out of the speakers. When I hit play for the first time, I wanna take that and elevate it. And like, mixing is an extension of, of what is given to me. And if that, if the, the raw stuff that I, I, I'm given, if that is not really working, I have to do that first. I have to make it work first before I can do other stuff, which is not ideal. So I wanna hit play and I, and immediately get the song, and then mixing becomes an extension of that. And I have a very clear vision immediately of what I have to do because the song tells me what I need to do if the, if the arrangement is correct.
Malcom: so I got the perfect analogy. Mixing, this will really, I think, help people visualize what it is when we get sent a song mix. Mixing is being handed a puzzle and depending on how well you do the job of sorting out the arrangement and recording it, is if we have all the pieces and if those pieces fit together. Like we can´t put together unless can't we have all the pieces and they're the right pieces. Um, so the getting the right pieces is arrangement and them actually being from the same puzzle is probably tone.
Benedikt: Absolutely. I love this. I love this. yeah, absolutely nothing to add to this. Great. I never heard it that way, but that's, that makes
Malcom: That's three cups of coffee today.
Malcom: tip was brought to you by an espresso,
Benedikt: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. . Now people are gonna believe we actually promoting in this process. No. Um, so, anyway, yeah, let's, let's just, nothing to add to this. This is perfect. So, What is, what does the arrangement actually do now? The arrangement determines how much space there is for each element in the mix. How much freedom you have shaping the tone of each element. Because if it's very dense arrangement, if there's a lot going on, there's only so much you can really do in the mix. because otherwise things will, will get in the way of each other, you know? So the arrangement and how much space there is depend like, Determines how much freedom you have. And in a very, an easy example of that is like if there's only three instruments and each of those instruments, like there's maybe a slow groove and just a couple of sustaining chords or whatever, then there's a lot of freedom. You can do a lot of things sonically with this because it's a very open sort of arrangement. If it's a dense, fast metal song with quad track guitars and bunch of lead layers and then a vocal arrangement and double kicks and whatnot, there's only so much you can do. Or there's a very narrow range of things you can do for, with every single element of this, of this arrangement because it's very dense and everything has to fit into very narrow sort of places. And, um, The arrangement determines that. It also determines how well the song carries emotion. And, for example, the message of the lyrics, how each part makes the listener feel is largely, largely a matter of arranging it. Well, it's not only mixing tricks and tones, that's, that can be part of it, but it's really how it's, it's the song itself and, and how it wor how the parts play together and the emotion they create. It's, it just, it just happens or it doesn't, no matter what you do in mixing. and I think a well arranged song, like, let's say a, a well written song that's played well and arranged well, and then just balance, just volume will always sound more professional to me and will always have more impact than a poorly arranged song no matter what. Do what you do in mixing. So ideally you have both, but I think a good song that's presented well, only balanced is better than a bad song, bad performance, bad arrangement, and then a bunch of mixing tricks. So, Yeah. And it also depends on the quality of the mix, of course. But I still think that the song is key. It's
Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. You can't do one without the other. A hundred percent. both have to be awesome
Malcom: but you can't get to an awesome song from just a mix
it. Yeah, you need this step.
Benedikt: for sure. Now let's start with the big picture here. Now, the actual, the actionables, like what you need to ask yourself. And obviously this is a long list and a lot of these things on this list are, it's again, sort of an advice buffet where you can, Some things I think are mandatory, other things are kind of optional or depends on your taste. You don't have to do every single thing. your arc, your music, you can do whatever you want. These are just suggestions from our experience and, and things that typically work. And we also don't go very deep on each individual. bullet point here, of course, because that would. book, but we are gonna, we're gonna give you the right questions that you can ask yourself, and then you will pretty easily find your answers yourself if you just listen to your song and ask you these.
Malcom: Yes. It, I I just wanna say that
these are, like, some of these are really great and work very often, and that is kind of at a very key point, is there's uh, some typical things that are often awesome, but not always. So you can break these, They're not rules essentially. you can totally, It could be the act opposite and somehow work
Benedikt: 100%. Okay, So the big picture, which means the arrangement as a whole before we go into individual groups of instruments and stuff, the arrangement as a whole, a big part to me is how the transitions work and the macro dynamics, um, in the song macro dynamics is, to me, I don't know if that's an actual term that people use. I, I always, um, talk about microdynamics and macro dynamics. And macro dynamics are not like the differences in volume between individual snare hits and stuff like that. That's micro, but macro dynamics would be, The verse compared to the Cho? Like, is there, is it a loud part? Is it a heavy part? Is it the quiet part? Is it a soft part? And how that develops throughout the song, The sort of energy and the journey you take the listener on through the song. Basically how that develops and where the high and low points are. and this is not just sheer volume or how hard you hit the drums, but this is also arrangement. Of course, you can have a very minimal verse and you can have a very big explosive chorus with tons of layers or whatever. So this is the first thing that I think about that has to just work. If you want the chorus to work a certain way, you have to arrange it a certain way.
Malcom: Yeah, this, this is so easy to describe because I can think, like right off the top of my head, I can think of two songs that probably everybody's heard that utilize this to such a successful degree that they're like the biggest, some of the biggest songs ever in history. number one would be Smells 16 Spirit by Nirvana. Like Nirvana just created an entire genre off of this one move of quiet versus extremely loud courses, right? like that is the, the sound that is the trick. And it's awesome. , it works time. . Um, it like, yeah, obviously there's good songs that don't do this, but, but this does work. Like it just always feels good going from this small cor small verse to a giant explosive course. Um, another would be creep by Radiohead. that's like a more. Interesting way. I like the Nirvana one more, but like, but it's, it's not as sparse and simple in the verses necessarily. It's kind of different, but it is still an explosion dynamically going into that course. so two examples right there that you've probably all heard.
Benedikt: Yes. Agreed. 100%. totally, it totally depends on your music and your taste and your genre, but these are, these are great examples and, uh, it sounds so obvious. I mean, you know, writing a big chorus or writing a, um, a quiet verse and creating these transitions. But the reality is that in a lot of songs that I get to mix or that I work with people on, initially when I hear the first couple of demos, there's room for improvement. Oftentimes, not every time, but oftentimes, and it's just because, you know, there's a band with like five people and everybody plays. Every part, basically. And there's not a lot of room, or at least people think there is not a lot of room to create these macro dynamics. They just, everybody plays verse, everybody plays the chorus. Maybe courts change, but there's not a real transition happening, you know? But in a production, first of all, you can add more layers that are not part of the real band, if you're okay with that. And I think whatever serves the record, in my opinion, could do that. And then the other thing is not everybody has to play, and not every instrument has to play all the time. You can totally have a verse with only one guitar and then two guitars in the chorus, or, you know, you can reduce the groove or make the, the, the bass just play a couple of notes along with the kick drum in the verse, but then the full riff and the chorus or whatever. You know, there's tricks and things you can do even with a, a small typical band arrangement that creates these macro dynamics. And I, I just think people oftentimes don't put enough thought into this. So,
Malcom: Yep. Totally. I, our next kind of talking point was like, how dense are parts?
Benedikt: that's basically that
Malcom: This really is kind of the same conversation, right? Is like, so going back to smells like Teen Spirit again, I assume everybody's heard that song. How do they that verse quieter and less dense than the course? Right. It's cuz it is quieter, but it's also much less dense. There's essentially not a guitar. He plays two notes a couple times. but it's, and it, and the drum parts go to Tom's, I believe. And so it's like all kind of low end based, not a lot of trouble going on, right. It's really occasional guitar, pl, and Kurt's voice. And then, Move onto the course. Guitars are in with scream and power chords. Drums are now crashing and bastion. so we can think of that as instrumentation in that there's now more instruments than there was playing that part. But when we think about it as an EQ curve, sonically, this whole bright trouble range of the spectrum is now filled up with information that wasn't there before. So you can think of it both from instruments, but also just in the sonic kind of palette as well.
Benedikt: 100% and we'll get to into more of that when we talk about the individual, instruments and what they can contribute to the arrangement. But totally, it's not only the instruments, it's the, it's frequency parts of the, parts of the frequency spectrum for sure. You, you're absolutely right. Um, and when stuff gets brighter, it's typically more present, more forward. you can do that with the low end too, by the way, but we'll get into that. You can also have like a sort of a lofi, um, verse even with not a lot of low end as well. And then the weight gets added in the chorus. You know, there's all kinds of things you can do there. Okay. Yeah. So how dense need, need, uh, does each part need to be? Now the next thing is also something super crucial to me. It's what's the voice of each part? And I don't mean the actual voice, the, the lyrics, the vocal. I mean, what's the vocal point of each part? It can, this, this can be, even if there are vocals, doesn't have to be the vocals. Sometimes it is a baseline, so it can be a drum fill in a certain small section of the song. It can be a guitar riff that's actually more important and iconic than, than the, the voice, the actual vocal. But something you wanna guide the listener through the song, because if you don't, it's very hard to follow along. You will lose listeners probably somewhere along like a, yeah, somewhere in the song. That can be intentional chaos. But usually if it's not intentional, it's typically bad. And usually it's better to have a focal point and to create this emotional journey to make the listener focus on one thing. Because fact is, as humans, we can't really only focus on one thing at a time. There's, it's impossible to listen to two things simultaneously with the exact same amount of focus. So you can create intentional chaos and let the listener pick what they wanna listen to, but usually it's better to guide them through the song and to have one thing that's the focal point. And the other stuff is supporting that. And those things can change throughout the song, but thinking about it like that part by part is, uh, a really good idea in most cases, because then it gets clear what needs to be forward, what needs to, how things should sound. You know, some, many of these questions answer themselves if you know what the focal point is and how it, how it sounds in relation to everything.
Malcom: Yeah. Not, not a lot to add there. the voice of the song will change frequently, pretty much in my favorite songs. I notice that as soon as the vocals gone, something is filling in that spot.
Benedikt: yeah. Classic example by the way. I don't know why. I mean, I probably made the same, I can't remember, but I might, I might have made the same mistakes when I was starting, years ago. But one thing that people do a lot is they get the panning a little weird or wrong with guitars, for example, and also like the volume between leads and rhythms. And, uh, that's what you just said is when the vocals go away, what happens then? One classy example is you. A vocal part, and then there's a bridge or a solo or something with the lead guitar where the leak guitar takes over. It becomes the vocal point, the voice of the, of the part. So to me it just makes sense that when the vocal stops and the lead guitar comes in, that they sort that this just works, this transition. The lead guitar takes over and when the vocal is center and sounds a certain way, then I want the solo after the vocals sort of take that spot and just continue the song. And it's kinda weird to me if the solo is then quieter and like slightly off to the side and you know, I want something to take over that, that part then. And um, and yeah, so this is an example of that. So the voice, the vocal stops, something else takes over and then you can ask yourself, do I want to have this in the same spot? Is it intentionally somewhere else? But always with intention and thinking about this journey at the focal point.
Benedikt: Yeah. Now, the next one, Malcolm, what do you say about this? Because to this day, I don't really know what is. What is better? I mean, I, it's intuitive to me a little bit. I hear a song and I know what I think is better, but there's no right or wrong there. There's this concept of like, intentionally making the same part that comes twice in the song, like a verse or a chorus or something. You can intentionally, intentionally make it exactly the same when it comes in again. Or you can change things about it. You can,
Malcom: have slight variations. Yeah. I love that , uh, that like, that's kind of like the constant dilemma of songwriting. How do we make song two interesting? How do we not lose, Or sorry, how do we make verse two interesting, one is the first time they've heard it, great course, it's more exciting. Great. Verse two, What's new? Like why, why are we interested in this anymore? We already heard it. and it's not the catchy course, right? So that is always a dilemma, or sometimes it's like a verse A one, A one B. So you have to make the second half of the verse more and I, that's like some of the funnest part of producing is like, okay, what's the little secret sauce we throw in on verse two? that could just be a slightly new overdub part on a different instrument that could be adding percussion. Just on the second wasn't there on the first verse. It's like a little building block opportunity.
Benedikt: Yeah, totally, totally. It can be subtle things too. It can be adding a little different, like high hat figure or something, you know, like a little bit change in the drum groove or maybe the, the bass in one verse. The bass plays along with the drums only. Like maybe the bass only plays some accents together with the kick drum. But then in the other words, the bass plays like quarter notes throughout the verse or whatever. You know, these types of things. But then there's the other argument to, and this probably applies more to choruses, where, it is also a fact, and this is just, these are just some things, that have to do with how our brains work. The fact that. Exact repetition makes us remember things more easily and makes a song more catchy. So if you want people to sing along with your song and remember the lyrics and the melody and everything actually copying and pasting it, not only making the part the same, but even using the same performance, just really copying and pasting everything or the main elements of it, um, makes it easier, makes it more memorable, makes it more catchy, makes it easier to remember the part compared to having slight variations in it. Now slightly, making it with a slight variation might sound more interesting and it's something new, but on the other hand, it doesn't stick as well. So there's, you know, this trade off and you have to make that decision for yourself. I think it comes down to genre. Maybe if, if you want to have a catchy pop song, um, that's gonna be on the radio, or you want this one part to really stick, even if it's a maybe, um, you know, you even want it to. So catchy that to the point that it's annoying, then you wanna copy and paste stuff more. And if you want to, I don't know, maybe if it's a different genre and uh, that is not the main goal, then then a variation is better. Just know that you gotta be intentional about this. Just know that it has an effect on how the thing, how it impacts people.
Malcom: It's, Yeah. Going back to the puzzle analogy, if you want that second verse, for example, to like, feel more exciting, you have to provide that puzzle piece. Um, it can't be done without that being figured out in the arrangement. it's, it's not really a mixing trick.
Benedikt: Yeah. And then as, as we said, like it's all about intention. Um, be intentional. Why do you arrange it that way? What's the goal? How should and goal? Meaning how should it feel and, just show it to someone. If you're not sure anymore because you're too close to it, show it to someone and ask them what it feels like, or just watch them while they're listening to it. That will tell you a lot about the song often. Um, just has to feel right. Be intentional about it. And then one thing also that is really important to me is always, I don't know why that is. I'd rather have people make like, bold decisions and maybe, you know, try something that's a little unconventional or that's, you know, maybe you, you, you, completely, I don't know, eliminate one of the one instrument in one part and then add something unexpected, another part, and just experiment with those things. Might not work, but it might work. you never know until you try and I think it's your record. So you have to find your unique way of arranging and writing and recording things. And if, you know, there's no heart rules and I just wanna encourage that because when we give out a list like this, we said it in the beginning, it, it always seems like you have to do all those things. But I'd say just be intentional and, and be bold and not make something boring and don't follow, like, um, sort of a, a playbook, but, Know these concepts. Use whatever you think works for your song. And if you have a crazy arrangement idea, just try it. I mean, you know when, when stereo first became a thing, and people suddenly had two channels and not just one, you know, they until, you know, they didn't know what to do with it. And that's kind of a cool thing because that, that meant there were no rules. So what did the Beatles do? For example? They put the entire drum kit on one side and everything else on the other side, you know, and stuff like that. Or, you know, crazy decisions like that. And of course, maybe not the best sonic decision, but still, it's a thing we still talk about today. So maybe you can come up with something, maybe you can free yourself from some of the rules. Just try something. And if you like it and you think it's exciting, go for it. You know?
Malcom: Yeah, you never know.
Benedikt: Cool. So now to the, to the groups of instruments, let's start with the rhythm section. This is pretty much what we're gonna do in this for the rest of this episode. And next time we're gonna get into like, leads and, and vocals and stuff like that. So the rhythm section can be. At least drums and bass, maybe rhythm guitarists too, depending on what those play. so yeah. Malcolm, what, what would you say?
Malcom: Well, thinking about drums and bass first, that is what we typically call the foundation of our song and mix. especially from a mixer point of view, when we're thinking about it sonically as a spectrum to fill up rather than, the, the actual parts or instrumentation. We need that low end groove to be figured out. and this is why so often you see synced bass and bass guitars and kick drums like them being lined up is. really successful technique that usually yields a very tight and very easy to mix, result. It's just like those two instruments doing the same thing. Just it, it sounds right,
Um, and it makes our life really, really easy. when they're not doing the same thing. gets really tough usually, but again, are meant to be broken. They're not always doing the same thing a hundred percent that, like, that does happen. It does work. but it, it has to be figured out pretty much. Um, if you're doing something different like sometimes. In Modern Rock, it usually does match to an extent right there. There's usually a lot of similarities between the jump part and the base part. But then oddly, there won't be on each drum fill going into the course. or, or, you know, like the fills are just free for alls. Stuff like that. That's usually just an over, like, in my opinion, something that's been overlooked. Um, and it's not intentional, it's just kind of laziness. so these together and having every part of the song and, and every relationship between the drum, uh, drum kit and the bass guitar being intentional is potentially like the, the biggest first step into making your arrangement mixable, intuitively.
Benedikt: 100%. Um, so I like to think about it. Again, it's all about the intentional. I like to think about it, that way. It's all about the intention. I wanted to say. I like to think about it that way. Usually it makes our, a job definitely easier if the kick and the bass drum sort of play, not necessarily exactly the same thing, but like if, if the parts go together well and if they become this one groove machine, basically. But in, especially in Brock or like heavier rock genres, sometimes you gotta listen to the guitar riff more than, than the drums. Yes, there is a certain drumming pattern at the drums. Also, hopefully play something that makes sense together with the guitar riff, but sometimes the bass becomes sort of a, a third guitar more than a part of the groove that the drum kit does. So, You gotta ask yourself the question, should the bass lock in with the drums to create that solid foundation and groove? Or does it play a different role in your music, which could be adding to the wall of guitars, just be becoming a low end extension and some grit and teeth of the guitars, and then it's maybe not connected to the kick drum as much anymore. That can be the part, at least for certain parts of the song, maybe there might be a groovy part where it changes. But there might be a part where the guitar, the bass is actually just part of that wall of guitars and the kick drum might do something else. But again, it's about the intention and whether or not this serves, your song. So a great example for this is a lot of punk bands do the whole basis of guitar sort of thing, where the, it's like, it's obviously played with the, with the pick and it's like playing exactly the same thing that the rhythm guitars do. And it becomes one, a lot of punk rock bands do this.
Malcom: Which sounds great.
Benedikt: Yeah, which sounds great, of course. But then there, there are bands and there's one very, uh, famous guitar, um, very famous example in, in our scene sort of, there's the band called Hot Water Music. Um, I don't know if you know that band.
Malcom: don't think No. I like the name though.
Benedikt: Yeah. Hot Water Music is the band. Very awesome man. I just saw them a couple weeks ago. They play pretty huge shows over here in Germany and Europe. I might be one of those bands that is bigger in, in Europe than they are in the States. I don't know about that, but could be. But, they have, they've been around for a long time and, and they are known for having a true, like a proper rhythm section, which is not often the case in, in this sort of music. The bass player plays with the fingers. They write parts. I interviewed him on my other podcast, by the way, Jason, the, the bass player of that band. and, and he said, because I asked him about this and he said, Yeah, the difference is we actually. Rhythm parts, like they view themselves as a rhythm section. He and the drummer, they practice together, they write things together, they write groove parts. They are not just supporting the guitar riff, but they write actual parts. And you can tell it sounds different than most bands in the genre. It has become a signature thing that they do that just works. So that can be a thing, but it's also just as fine if you just do the whole bass as a guitar thing. But just think about it like that. Don't just do random things, but, um, think about the function of the bass and where it belongs to and how that all creates the groove
of the song
Malcom: yeah. Bass can be so destructive.
Malcom: um, like I, I, I feel bad, but it, it's generally the bass for me needs to either be following the drums or following the guitar. And rare that it's on its own doing its thing and that it yields the result that I think is actually any good. Um, I'm sorry. Basis
Benedikt: Which doesn't mean absolutely, sorry, but which doesn't mean I actually have that in the outline here. It doesn't mean that your job is any less important
it's most important.
Benedikt: Yeah, exactly. You have a very important job. So even if you don't play a lot, or if you're not like the focal point all the time or whatever, it's just as important. It's, I, I think, honestly, that's also something I teach all the time. I think that the groove and the vocals are the two most important thing about every song, more important to me than, than all the other things. You can get away with a, like, weird guitar parts sometimes, or a weird guitar tone or whatever. But I think the groove, the thing that you sort of nod your head to or tap your toe to and, and the vocal, the actual content of the song and, and how the vocal is delivered, Those two things. They just have to be right. That just, that just is what, what usually drives the song and what people react to. And if the groove is wrong, if the bass doesn't serve the song, if the kick drum doesn't provide the, the groove and the foundation, if that stuff is wrong, everything else sort of doesn't matter. So your job is, is, is absolutely important. Even if what you're playing sounds simple. And I say sounds simple because it usually isn't simple. It might only be a couple of notes, but playing them exactly right is pretty, pretty difficult actually.
Malcom: Yep. Totally.
Benedikt: Yeah. A good basis to know that. And uh, yeah, so that's the, the running gag of, I don't know if that's the thing over there too, but a lot of people that I talked to in the past say like, everybody can play ACDC drums, you know, it's like very basic. Every drummer can do that, try and play drums like that, how difficult that is to make it like groove like that. And, you know, it sounds
the whole rhythm section, all of that. Okay. So, yeah, that, and then I'd say a good way to do that, to practice that if the bass belongs to the drums, is maybe you wanna rehearse drums and bass only from time to time.
That's something we do now. We just started doing again now for our own band because as I said before on the show, we have a couple of, like our first couple of shows coming up and we're all getting pretty nervous because we haven't really rehearsed a lot. And so, and we all live in different cities, so our drummer and myself, I play bass. We decided to do just a couple of drum and and bass practices where we really focus on the timing on some parts and like what exactly we do with kick and bass together and stuff like that. And, um, and our guitarists do d dr do rehearsals themselves too, where they play without amps, really listening to the strumming patterns and really refining that sort of stuff. And then we bring it all together. So maybe you do that from time to time because you might not even hear those things if you're just jamming loud together. And maybe even if you record your pre-pro, maybe depending on how you record that, you might not be able to really hear that. So maybe you have to, to do it part by part and even just with in groups of instruments to
Malcom: Yeah. This is why I think kind of think pre-pro should be done, one instrument at a time because it you to look at each part as like very, very individually. and when you do a practice like this, um, like, uh, base and a drum only, that's when you really figure out, Oh, are we doing the same thing on that drum field? Am I hitting the, like, the right timing to line up with your kicks going into that course because I didn't realize like that it was a triplet or something, you know, it, those little kind of indi or these, those little discrepancies really jump out in, in those examples and
when there's all of these other layers going on.
more times than it should happen. I've had bands come in and figure out that they're not playing the same note at certain places, and it's like, That's pretty big
Benedikt: Absolutely. And not even, not just the same note. Also the timing, the strumming pattern. We get to that when we talk about rhythm tracks, but also, but also with kick and bass. So many times in the studio actually, people come in, they, they are prepared or they feel prepared. And then when the drummer starts to record and or they do some scratch tracks, then the bass player will be like, Wait, I thought this was supposed to be on the one, but you're playing it early. Like, you know, and I, because I never paid attention to that. Or is this really like quarter notes? I thought these were, whatever, you know, for the first time hearing it. Clearly things come up and, uh, you should, you should avoid that. Okay. Now you, you already said it. Um, when it comes to drum fields and stuff like that, like that is also part of. I would say part of the arrangement. Absolutely. And, and sometimes a spectacular fill might sound impressive on its own, but doesn't really serve the song or the transition and maybe simplifying that or making sure at least that it doesn't mask other important things, um, is really, is really important. So maybe, again, it's not any less important if it's, if you make it simpler, it's, it just, it's about how it serves the song. So think about those transitions not only from when it comes to comparing one part to the other part, but also look at the transition because the dynamics between the parts might actually be perfect, but the transition is completely ruining it. Maybe the fill before the chorus ruins the impact of the, that can absolutely happen. So,
Malcom: yeah, I think it's a huge pet peeve of mine when, when the fills aren't ridden and they're just improvised every single time. I get why that's appealing as a drummer. get to feel it out and have fun. It keeps it fresh, but how, how is your band meant to play to you if they don't know what part you're gonna play? and a theme I've noticed among really good drummers is sometimes they do change it up, but the underlying pattern stays the same. So if the base is, is sinking to the kicks, the kicks stay the same and the hands mix it up kind of thing. Like, it's, it's hard to do. It's challenging. So maybe that's the solution, you know, it's like you get to experiment, but the, the message is still conveyed. Um, and yeah, you're not just leaving your bam, like behind every four bars,
Benedikt: Absolutely, absolutely. Also, a quick real life example here that just happened today to me, also with my own band. I was just finishing, uh, mixes for the final couple of mixes for our record that, that we are gonna put out soon and. There's one song where I sent the mix to the band, and one of the, our guitar player who wrote the song got back to me and said, You know, in this break, um, there were some high head counts in there, and these really were important to me. Like, why did you cut them out? And I was going back to the session and I'm like, Dude, there's no high head counts in there. Like, I never cut anything out. And turns out it was part of the program Scratch tracks that he had. But the real recordings that our drummer did, he just didn't record those counts. And it's like, it's a, a snare roll that ends, then there's an empty bar of four, and then there's the impact of the next part. And then that empty bar there were like quiet high hat counts with the, with the, with the foot, you know, in there. And he didn't play that. And, uh, it was part of the program, drums and our guitar play now was missing that. And you might think that's not important, but honestly, comparing the program version to the final version, this break feels different if there is, like, depending on like whether there is a high head going through it or not. And now what, what we've tried is, our drummer said like, Okay, we could try, maybe do. I mean, you can obviously program like these hi heads in or something, but he said maybe an alternative would be in that break on the three, I think he said, um, we could do one open hi head or uh, a China or a crash hit or so before the impact of the chorus. Like something like
that. Yeah. And excellent. I tried that and what happened is that chorus after the break without anything sounds really big with the high hats. Counting also sounds really big. If I put a loud symbol like right before the impact of the chorus, the impact is destroyed. It's, it's, that doesn't work anymore. There's this crash before the one and then the one comes in and the one doesn't have any impact at all anymore. It's fascinating how that changes how everything feels. So I was trying that and I was like, No, that's not gonna fly. So we either have to leave it as it is or put those hi hats in, but definitely not a symbol before the one of the chorus, you
Malcom: Mm. Fascinating. Yeah, the tiny thing can have huge, huge results.
Benedikt: Yeah. Now I think we should talk about one thing real quick, Malcolm, because that was part of Jesse's question. Or actually the main part of the question. We are talking about how things are played and who plays what at which time, and, and, and all those things, which is obviously important. But part of his question was how to, make tones or how to, how to come up with tones and create tones that can be clearly, clearly defined from one another and making tones that play well together. So we should talk just a little bit about tones too. When it comes to kick and base
and not mixing, we, we have to be careful, not get, not to get into mixing territory, but to me, this means in this case, and I want to hear your thoughts. To me, this means kick drum tuning or choosing the right size of a kick drum. That's where it start, what it starts with, because that determines where your fundamental is, how low, how deep it is, how big it is, how loose or tight, and, you know, all these things, like what the drum actually sounds like. And then, also like which kind of bass you're playing? Is it a five string? Is it a six string? Is it a four string? Is it, do you play, like, is the e the lowest note or is it down tuned? Is, do you play high up on the scale, like
Malcom: you playing? Yep.
Benedikt: So I think these are the things that I would be thinking about. Not even so much the, not the mixing, but like what does the raw instrument actually do and does it go together well with the kick drum you've chosen? so I don't know how you would approach that, but these are the questions that I have in mind when I arrange things. I would listen to how fast is the song, How long can my kick drum be? Therefore, like, how big can it be? Or how tight does it have to be? And where does the base fit in with that?
Malcom: Yeah, and I think a really easy rule of thumb to keep in mind is that, the more separated something is, the more it will be in contrast. So if the part is riding on the floor, Tom, it's just kicking floor, tom, big jungle drums kind of thing. That's all obviously very low end content. So if you pull out a five string and play on your lowest notes there, it's gonna be hard to tell what you're playing, probably actually. Cause they're just different frequencies in the same area overlapping with each other. you take that same base part and jump in an octave, it'll be insanely clear. Now that might not be you want, but it is, it will be clearer. So like, if you keep that in mind, you can just decide. Okay. Is this meant to be defined or is it meant to gel in and and be closer to it? so that, like, that's kind of a first step I think is, is the, the contrast. Um, yeah, just much contrast do we want between our bass guitar and our drum kit? Usually pretty close. You know, like they said, we're syncing things up to the kick drum, so we kind of want them to, to feel like they're together. But if you need to increase that, that's kind of my first step is the higher we play on a bass, the brighter it seems, and less like the low end instruments on the drum.
Benedikt: Absolutely. And I, I don't even believe, fully believe in the whole concept of the base has to be below the kick or the kick has to be below the base. Sometimes it can be both. Sometimes the base can be below and above the kick or whatever. it's still a good way to think about it because it sometimes it helps make your decision, it helps you make decisions, but I don't think it has to be one way or the other, or you have to make radical decisions there. Just, just a a, a sort of a broad understanding of, of what you're doing. Just helps, I think. Like you said, Malcolm jumping in octave, Huge difference knowing that, there's a lot of low end energy in the drums in this part. So the bass can either be part of that or do something else, and then it will be more defined, things like that. But then also like choosing, like putting an orchestra together, choosing the right instruments for the job, you know, and that means that the right size of kick drum, for, for the song or your, your aesthetic, your genre. So examples could be, again, if you have a very fast technical death metal song, you probably don't want a very loose, long sustaining very sub kick drum because that will become a mess. You, it has to be tighter, it has to be controlled so that the double kick parts, provide the low end but are controlled and all of that. But maybe in combination with that, you have a very low tuned base, and so the base will have all the subs and the weight, but the kick drum might be a little higher than that. And, and, uh, more punchy and tight. The other way around could be, I don't know, a slower rock song with like bonham drums and you have this long, big open kick drum with a lot of subs and pretty uncontrolled and unruly sort of. But then you have like a baseline above that, you know, that becomes part of the guitar riff or whatever. I'm just making things up. But if you build your song, think about those functions, uh, think, think about the, the final result, the sound in your head, the aesthetic you wanna create, and then think about what makes sense for that. Is there a space for my long sub kick drumm? Do I need to dampen it more? Do I need to pick a smaller kick drum? Or, you know, do I have to tune it lower or higher? And which space do I play? And all these things. Is it reg and my bass is really sub with barely any midrange? Or is it an aggressive punk song where the bass sounds like a guitar? You know, all these questions. So I think the, the, the answer to your question, Jesse, is just to. Have the outcome in mind and then sort of reverse engineer it. And, and it's pretty, it might take some practice of course, but oftentimes the answers present themselves if you just listen to other things in the genre and think about it logically, basically. And, and a lot of it has to do with the timing and the space that you have available in the song, I
Malcom: Yeah. I, I think a lot of it is usually assumed you're, you're right, it presents itself because I think the most typical situation is that a guitar riff has been ridden and a song has been ridden off of that guitar riff. So we can assume the guitar riff, that's taken up a spot, right? that is filled there, part of the puzzle, Bam. And then a drum kit is probably the next piece. . Um, I mean, there's vocals of course. Uh, some people go vocals first. But, uh, I was always kind of in vocal last situations. but so guitar drums, now we have to insert bass in there. So it's like, okay, well where does that fit? Right? There's, there's, it's gonna be pretty obvious once those two pieces are together. and, and you'll note, you'll be able to choose that octave, I think, quite easily based on how. Drums and guitar are fitting together.
Benedikt: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. You're totally right that that actually is a good transition to the next, um, party that we have, which is Rhythm Tracks where, as you said, most of the time, the guitar riff came first, so it, it becomes in, in some songs, it, at least for a, for a section of the song, it becomes the focal point. Oftentimes it becomes the one thing people remember. Everything else is sort of written around it. You say, as you said, you add the groove and then the base has to fit in somewhere, wherever there is space left. so there's that. So it, I, I'd say in those cases, I would rather adjust, adjust the drums at the bass and make them fit than like compromise the guitar riff, because that's the, the main thing, the thing that, that started the song. And, um, so everything else needs to sort of fit and play along. and then, It gets back to the whole strumming pattern or picking pattern thing that we had. Where is the guitar? Like, has it started on the guitar then? Probably the, the drums, the drum pattern. And what the bass does has to follow that. If it didn't start on the guitar, but somebody came up with the groove and the vocal melody or whatever, then the guitar drumming pattern has to serve that. But in rock, I'd say more often than not, a guitarist comes up with an idea and then the band jams to that. So I'd say, I'd say make the drums work with the.
Malcom: Yeah, that, I mean, that's usually songwriting is that I've got something that has merit. reinforce it and see how it goes. Right. Um, so making things fit to that. and, and yeah, going, like going back to the point of view of being a producer or a mixer, getting sent a song. sent to the, you know, an average rock song. It's got two guitars, a bass, and a drums. Then those parts are all assumed now, and we're either deleting things to create more space or adding more things, or maybe modifying things to fill up more space, kinda right, Like, or, or take up more space. Uh, seems like I made subtracting and adding both, Give more space, which in a way they do um, weird train of thought, but it's, there's, there's gonna be, my, my point is there's gonna be some assumed things, right? Based on like just writing the song. Your, your first version's gonna have some assumed parts, and then you can be like, Okay, parts aren't going anywhere, but there's a hole here and there's too much right here. What do we do?
Benedikt: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. now if there's, if there's multiple guitars and or keys, which oftentimes play, and now we get back to the whole frequency spectrum conversation where multiple guitars and then say the keys, like, I dunno, Hammond Organ or um, Rhodes piano or something like that. They sort of occupy the same frequency part, like the same part of the frequency spectrum. It's all like midrange instruments. A lot of the musical content happens in the midrange anyways. So, uh, if that is happening, first of all, again, ask yourself, do they lock in with each other? Um, listen carefully to what everyone is playing. That's the first thing. But then also, can you again shift something in octave or can you capture a sore stone dial and a tone on the amp or, do something to separate the organ from the guitar, for example? Or is that not the goal? Maybe they should become one and create this wall and the organ should just be a subtle thing that just fills in a whole, but not really be audible on its own. You know, these types of questions. So the timing is one part of it, but then once you've got that figured out, you have to think about the frequency spectrum. And you have, you only have this, this limited frequency range, the mid range available, and it's like can be, you know, split up in lower mid range then maybe. The actual mid range then the upper mid range. And then you have to decide, okay, I want guitars with bite and aggression, so maybe we can scoop out some of the lower mid range. But, and that's where the warm sort of sounding organ lives, you know? Um, for example, or maybe we have palm mutes and the guitar is never really bright and aggressive and, and it, it's, it's, um, it's a rather dark thing. So maybe we need something a little brighter, aggressive to make it not dull, you know? And, and these are, these then become your puzzle pieces, where you think about the frequency and what, what you can do to, to, uh, fill it up and obviously keep the other things in mind because, Gets back to the focal point conversation. If the vocals are the most important thing in the part, then you not only have to fit the guitars and the keys together or the different guitar parts, but while you're doing that, you have to make sure that there's still space for the vocals, of course, because they are the most important thing. So it gets more and more complicated and you have to, Everything affects everything basically.
Malcom: Yeah. Well, I mentioned earlier that the, the more you separate things, the more contrast there will be and the more definition there will be. Right. But that actually works. And at that, that, I think at first glance, people would be like, Oh, that sounds great. That sounds ideal, right? We jump an octave on the way more defined against our drums. But now you've lost an entire spottier puzzle, right? It's just gone because now the base is taking it up. So you actually want to get things close together to make sure you leave space for specific instruments for the voice, uh, whatever you've decided that is. So, yeah, I think nine times out of 10, an organ like Leslie sitting on some higher stuff than like the, the lower mid-range guitar is like, that sounds great to me. That's what I would prefer usually, but that organ being up there might just eat our vocals.
Malcom: Depending on where the vocals are, of course, but like, okay, yes, this is usually my preferred sound, but by doing that I'm making my vocal sound worse, so we can't do it
Malcom: you know, Um, there's, there's always a cost, so you have to, you have to keep that in mind. Contrast sounds good when you're thinking about that instrument that you're, you're trying to listen to. So, and, and this is something that's really easy to, to happen by accident, is you're focusing on whatever instrument you're recording. You've got it loudest in the mix. You're obsessed about that one thing, so you make it stand out no matter what snares, this happens on snares all the time. People end up choosing a piccolo because they can just hear it, it just gets louder and higher. And then you add, add in all the other instruments though, you're like, Oh, it's, why is I, why do I choose this really high snare that doesn't really fit? It just sounded the loudest
Benedikt: Absolutely. Absolutely. And then especially if it's like slow, heavy, sort of groovy parts and then there's this ping thin sort of snare sound that doesn't have any weight to it. It can be so wrong, but might sound massive on its own if you just hit it because as you said, it explodes and it's loud, whatever. But in the context, it might become very tiny and not really serve the part.
Malcom: The same reason people over distort guitars. We're just, we're on our guitar tone and we're just like, it just keeps getting bigger and more And then by the time you actually are using it in the mix, it's not like the decisions weren't made against the mix or the arrangement. very careful.
Benedikt: Totally also multiple guitar layers. If you have, heavy chords like power chords and then octaves on top of that, and then a vocal and then vocal harmonies, this stuff will clash. I'm not saying you can't do it, but you have to be very careful. Then you have to think about how these things interact. Maybe you wanna make a, you wanna do a column response thing. Maybe you wanna, you know, play the guitar part again, higher or lower. Maybe you wanna skip the octaves entirely until the vocals are gone, you know, or whatever. But it all takes up space in the mid range and there's only so much space for everything. And if you don't wanna run into the classic situation where the revision notes are, basically make everything louder because, you know, this is when, when, when, when you get revisions back from bands and they like turn up the vocals, but also turn up these octave guitars and then also turn up this other guitar because this is usually the result of a bad arrangement decision when everything is like, as balanced as it can be. And still nothing is really audible.
Malcom: They're all playing different things.
Benedikt: So yeah, and, they don't have to play all at the same time, or they have to, or you have to, to do something different about it. sometimes it can mean, maybe there is, or sometimes there's a lack of clarity because you've over, you, you've, you've made things more complicated than they, than they have to be. So, for example, there is a complicated chord that actually sounds awesome. There's a harmony within the chord that is awesome, and that the part really needs, maybe it would become much clearer if you'd split up the chord and you play the, the root note separately, or a power chord, and then you play the octa on top of that, or a single note or whatever. Instead of trying to play the whole chord in one where you have the power chord plus one finger or so, which sometimes doesn't really come through. But if you just play the power chord and then an Octa on top of that, it's the same harmony, but it's much more clear. You know, simple things like that, so it can be too much or it can be not enough. And then you have to maybe add a layer or split it up. But just think about these things and don't just assume it's what you just said, Malcolm. Don't just assume that it just works. You like the part, it just seems to work, and now you record it that way. Try it out and see if there's really enough space for everything, or if there's something that just doesn't cut through and maybe you have to do an additional layer or something for that
Malcom: Right. this is kind of backpedaling, but I, I wanna mention it. I feel like we've been talking a lot about the frequencies that stuff take up and if they're playing the same part, but I think it also, it's also important to think about it, in terms of sustain and rhythm. Then we talked about rhythm a little bit, but sustain especially, that, that can be a huge difference maker of, like, especially going back to bass. They be playing the same part as the guitar riff, but if they're not sustaining as long, that's like a hugely different result and, and can be great or bad. you know, you maybe you need it to fill up and kind of be that glue. So there's like always some low end warmth happening or maybe you need them to just be going, don't.
You and, and, it just like can be, It's so huge. It's such a, like, I can't believe we overlooked that. but uh, yeah, that can be a great way of playing the same thing, but making it different. You're, you're, hitting all the notes at the right time, but not playing them as long. Uh, that can be huge. and going back to what, like stuff we can assume inside of a mix, uh, like we said, we can assume that there's gonna be riff and that's taken up that spot. We can assume there's gonna be drums down here and the base is probably gonna have to follow one of those two. And ideally they're kind of all on the same page. We can assume that there's gonna be, a vocal rhythm that's different than that. So now we know that there's one instrument that's playing something different. So if you have then a Lee guitarist that likes to make up his own rift to every song that like pre-established rhythm, now you've got two different rhythms going on and that becomes instantly harder. So if the bass player is also doing their own thing, like you see where I'm going with this is we have to limit the amount of different rhythms going on. Otherwise the song doesn't actually have a rhythm or
Oh absolutely, Absolutely, absolutely. And this goes back to. For whatever reason. A lot of people think the more sophisticated and complicated things seem or are, the better, the better it is. But oftentimes it's not better at the, it's actually better musicianship to play less, but really well together then trying to do five different rhythms, even if they are correct, if they, as you said, if there's too many different things going on at the same time, there's no clear rhythm that comes through and you're gonna lose the listener. There's nothing you can move to, there's nothing like, it doesn't, you know, the emotion, everything is not transported as well. so yeah, absolutely 100% agreed. And the other thing is if everybody's playing the same thing, same way of like the, with the same sustain at the same time and so and so on and so forth, and then just one element does something different that really sticks out and that works because then you have this main groove, but one thing is different and then the, the difference will be drastic. But if there are four things playing slightly different things, like almost the same but at exactly, and then one thing plays something else. That doesn't really work anymore because it's, it's too much confusion. But if there's only two things, the contrast will seem bigger, and then those intentionally chaotic moments are even better, you know?
Malcom: Okay. If you wanna song, there's two tests you can do here. you should be able to like, you know, have ridden the song obviously, kind of thing. You've got that, and then you can whistle it and they know the, the rest of the everybody can recognize the song you're talking about, Right? and then you can also like drum it on like a table in front of you kind of thing. And everybody realizes like, Oh, you're playing the, the, the main hook of that song. from rhythmic, no notes kind of thing. I'm, The examples coming to mind for me right now is like Seven Nation Army White stripes. Uh, everybody remember that song or, uh, I think it's called Hardest Button to Button Another White Stripe song. They're like, just so rhythmic and they were just as catchy in melody, but as in timing as well kind of thing. and like those songs are catchy,
Malcom: catchy, and I can only imagine how much fun they were to mix as well, because everything, it's like literally one idea. Those, each of those songs, it's so, like just it, it's in your head instantly.
Benedikt: Oh yeah, yeah. 100%. Great examples. Totally. Great tests. And these are the things you should just write down and then really try, because, you know, these are the tiny things that you can just, you can make this test and drive and see for yourself if that works. And if, if not, then maybe there's too much chaos and you need to simplify things, unless it's intentional as always. So there's a couple of questions that I, I'm gonna just leave you with, and then there's one final thing that I wanna address here, and then we'll wrap it up for this episode. So the questions are basically just summing it up is, If the part is not big enough, have you add, can you add additional layers to make a part bigger or enhance the vibe of that part? Um, if the macrodynamic thing is not really working, you have chords, rhythm guitar chords in the verse, and then different rhythm guitar chords in the chorus and it doesn't really get bigger. Maybe add octaves, harmonies, doubles, whatever, or reduce the verse one of the two things. But just think about that and, and don't limit yourself to what you can do live. That's also something I wanna, I wanna add to this here. I mean, if that is what you wanna do, more power to you, but I personally think it doesn't matter if you can do exactly the same thing, live on stage. Nobody cares if you added a double on the recording or an layer is nobody cares and live. You can do one can play the chords, the other one can play the octaves totally fine. And if there's four guitars on the record, nobody will notice or care live. So don't sabotage your record just because you can't do the exact same thing live. I think, um, you wanna create the best possible live experience and you wanna also create the best possible. Record experience because more people are probably gonna listen to the record than, than they are, than, uh, the amount of people who are gonna see you live. You know? So you, you shouldn't sabotage the main thing, which is your record, just because of the live show. Just a site note. and the next question would be, is there enough space for lead instruments and vocals? Once you're done arranging your rhythm parts, we talked about that. Then is there enough space for low end, or the, like the, for the base to be the foundation without everything becoming muddy? Meaning if you have a ton of like low guitar layers and palm mutes and maybe some deep synth or whatever, is there actually space for the bass guitar and where does that fit? Or do you need to. Thinner capture thinner tones or shift things up on Octa because otherwise your base run doesn't fill in anymore or whatever. So think about that same thing at the top. Is there enough space in the top end to make the symbols shine, for example, because they are gonna be the, in rock, at least, they're likely gonna be the thing that dominates the real, the top end. Um, is there enough space in the top end to make the symbol shine without everything becoming harsh and synt? Because if you have very bright, guitars, for example, and very synt vocals, very present vocals and a lot of things sort of, occupying part of the real top end of the song, then you have to turn up the symbols even louder become audible and explosive. And then the whole song might turn into a very harsh mess. So maybe live with a slightly darker guitar tone. maybe choose a different set of symbols. If the symbols are too dark, maybe you need to shift the symbols up in the spectrum to, and then all of a sudden they work without being very loud, you know, But just Think about that arrangement in, about the top end in the arrangement and make sure that, okay, here is where my guitars end, sort of, where the top end of my guitars ends. Now, what is gonna take over from there? Is it the cymbals? And if so, is there a gap in between? Do they take over the top end? Do they go into the guitars too much? Or, you know, these types of questions. Just make sure, again, like a puzzle. Whatever is your highest thing below the symbols, where does that end? And then is there space for the cymbals and where do they take over? Where does the vocal sibilance fit in? These types of questions? And use an analyzer to learn that. Because of course, after a while you should be able to hear it, but you can clearly see it on analyzer. Just solo, the guitars. Look at the curve where the roll off happens for the store guitars, for example. And then bring in your overheads or your whole drum kit and see where the symbols fill up the space above the guitars. And if they don't do it all, maybe they are too low and clashing with the guitars, you know, could be, or the guitars go up too high, but usually you can actually see that stuff pretty clearly. You can see the puzzle being completed
Malcom: the puzzle's. The perfect Eh,
Benedikt: For Absolutely. There is this rebalancing exercise that I make people, uh, do a lot where I say, start with the guitars actually. like create buses, drums, bass, guitars, vocals, whatever, like basic five buses. turn those buses down, leave your individual balances as they are, but turn those buses down. And then when you lose perspective, for example, it's a great exercise. And then bring up, not the drums first, what we usually do, but just start with the guitarist. Bring them up. Look at the analyzer. You'll see this block of mid-range with maybe a hole in it somewhere. Now then bring up the drums. What should happen is below the guitar, you should see a pulse consisting of the kick and the snare. Fundamentals where, I don't know, 60 and 200 or whatever. You see that pump sort of and above the guitarist, you should see the symbols come up. And then you build a good balance between this block of mid-range and the bottom and the top of the drums. Then you bring up the base guitar, and that should be the low end extension of the guitarist. Sort of, It should ideally fit somewhere between the kick and snare, and maybe it adds a little bit of grit to the mid range. And then you bring in the vocals, which would ideally fit into some hole in this mid-range block, you know? And so you can visually build this full range sound that you're creating. And I'm not saying you're shooting for a flat line, It's not far from that, but just as an exercise, you should see the things come together and it's a bad sign. If you bring something up and nothing really changes and you have to turn it up super loud in order for it to become audible, then it's usually not good because
Malcom: Yep. There's, there's a, they're, they're fighting for the same space.
Benedikt: so yeah. Uh, and then the final part here, that's the, the really the final thing that I wanted to, I said I wanted to talk about, um, and that is the stereo image. We have to talk about that because when we talked about low end, everything is usually mono. When we talked about kick and base, that's just mono. But now that we're talking about mid range, we're talking not only front, back, low, high, so of stuff. We're talking left and right
Malcom: Yeah. Yes, you're, you're right. We definitely can't skip stereo imaging because it is, it makes actually just as much of a difference of, uh, like making, going back to your macro dynamics, uh, stereo imaging is like directly related to that. If you go from a mono verse, and when we say mono, we don't necessarily mean true mono, just a verse, which can be quite common. So, uh, if you have like a, do you remember that fad where it was just like drums, bass and vocals for verses, and then guitars only came in for the . Courses?
That's a very mono
Benedikt: yeah, or the smells like teen spirit thing where it's bass and
notes, you know, and then,
Malcom: Yeah. Um, and uh, that's not to say like, it's not like they made all of the other instruments mono for that section. It's just that the instrumentation is largely center focused and now come the course, the guitars come in super loud and heavy left and right, and it is a stereo image, and that feels like things get wider and bigger and louder, which they do. and so you, you can manipulate that to your advantage just like that or in a million different ways as well. Of course. you can have stuff where it's just leaning to one side and then it comes in and that feels different as well. There's, there's all of these different combinations of both volume and width.
Benedikt: 100%. Yes, and what you just described is intentional, like where you make a, a verse narrower and then the chorus wide so that it has even more impact and sounds bigger and all of that. But it can be unintentional sometimes where people, again, going back to the, the whatever they. Do live thing where the band might just have one rhythm guitar and they haven't thought about recording a double. And so everything they record is mono. And they, like, I have this often where people don't even realize that this is a thing. They just think they record the guitar and they record the guitar. And then I get the things to mix and then I'm like, What should I put on the other side? And then the question is like, what do you mean the other side? Yeah, I have one guitar, I can put it center or left, but then I don't have a right. You know? So think about the stereo spectrum and uh, listen to a bunch of your favorite songs. You might never have. Maybe you never paid attention to this, which is totally fine. I'm not saying, um, you should, you have to know all these things already. That's why we're here for. But now if that is new to you, that concept, just listen to songs you like and you will find out that there's usually a guitar on the left, a guitar on the right or another counterpart, sort of. But it's almost never for the whole song, at least. It's almost never just everything up the middle or everything leaning to one side. So if you only have one rhythm guitar in the band, or one guitar in the band, Live, that might be your thing and that might work, but on the record, you might have to record, probably have to record a double so that there's the same guitar part on the other side too. Or you have keys or some other counterpart on the other side. But just think about that, think about the stereo mix, what is left and what is right and what is center. and I just had, I just had just decided where someone sent me a song to master actually. And when I master things, I always give, if there's things that clearly should be fixed in a mix or where I think that they could get more out of the mix, I will always give feedback and not just start mastering if I think there can be, things can be improved. So what I did was, uh, I listened to the songs and I realized just that, that every, like big parts of the song were leaning to of the songs were leaning to one side because they had one guitar slightly panned to the side and nothing on the other side. And then sometimes they tried to compensate it by putting some vocal effects on the other side or something. But it always sounded kind of often like not really focused. And I was like, You did come up with, like, decide what the, either make it mono, which can work, or record a counterpart. Record the double of the part if you can or something. because it doesn't sound complete yet. It sounds, it doesn't sound intentional too. So just think about that. You have a left or right or center. You don't even have to worry about the space in between, like maybe put Tom's there or something. But if you only have, you have a strong center, solid center with base kick iner vocals, and then you have stuff that's left and stuff that's right. And everything is sort of balanced. Unless you want it to lean to one side for one part, then you're good. But think about, about that. Um, and I don't know why that is, that, that people overlook this, that must be a reason for it because some people just don't, don't realize this until you tell them. Maybe they listen on devices that don't show them. I don't know.
Malcom: I think it's just, yeah, it's just they don't, when you hear double guitars, which is so common, and like just tried and true technique, it doesn't necessarily sound like two guitars. It just sounds like a big ass guitar
Benedikt: Yeah, exactly.
Malcom: Right. And uh, and so it's like, unless you really stop and think about it, you might not even notice that
it's, it's a left and a right. So I think that's probably why it happens.
Benedikt: Oh, you're right. So you mean that they record one? Yeah, totally. You record one guitar and then you think whatever people do
Malcom: You think you're done.
Benedikt: it wide,
or you know. Yeah,
Malcom: exactly. But it's in reality, sushi doubled.
but going back to maybe a more classic rock, there was years where there was two guitarists and they were playing kind of different things on each side. so you'd have actually a different left end right. Guitar, but two guitars. And this is kind of an interesting topic, I think, because, That can work. And I think the more similar those two things are, So having two, two different rhythm guitars, the, the better this usually works out opposed to if you take one of those guitars and make it an organ. So now you've got a guitarist and an organ trying to play things that work together, but they aren't the same cuz they be, gets a little trickier instantly. And now it's gonna be that much harder to also have this different vocal up the center
kind of thing. So symmetrical mixes are easier,
Malcom: but not always better.
Like, I wanna say they're better. They're, they're not necessarily, but they are a hundred percent easier. it's
Benedikt: also easier to follow along when you listen to them. I think things always feel kind of unstable when you have the thing that you just described, the guitar left and the organ right or something. Because there's two things. You can look at a meter and, and put the same amount of energy or level or whatever on both sides, but then it will usually not sound balanced or you can make it sound balanced. But then still, it's never really right because one might have more low end energy, the other might be brighter. So yeah, it's kind of hard. It, it, one thing might feel like, might feel bigger, but the other thing is louder because it's brighter and it's always, it always feels unstable and you can't, it makes it hard to focus on what's really important, which is usually up the middle. you, you're right. So I I, I prefer symmetric mixes too, but I'd rather have that like, um, two counterparts, two unrelated sort of counterparts than, than just have one thing. But yeah, you're right. Probably still should double the guitar.
Malcom: Yeah, probably. if you want some good examples like. Smell like teen spirit symmetrical mix. There we go. We mentioned that one a bunch of times. That's like a poster child for a pretty mixable arrangement, uh, . Um, but if you want, uh, something that's got, like different left and right guitars. Uh, the Temperance Movement is a good,
I think they're outta Scotland. Um, a lot of their songs have that classic rock vibe where the two guitarists are playing different things, but they're expertly crafted and in there as well. So you can see how that's fit in. I think usually it's fit in as like a stereo equally left and right instrument. Um, that's kind of gluing the two guitar parts together. It's probably essential, actually.
Benedikt: Yeah. I love that band because of the fact, how well they play together, how it's arranged. There is this one YouTube video, I gotta put it in the show notes. I can't remember the name of the song, but there's one live, there's probably lots of live, um, recordings of them,
but there's one live recording in the jam space of them, or like whatever room that is. And, um, The way this just naturally works. How they play it together is, is just crazy. And, and, uh, I think, yeah, yeah. Only friend is the song and it's, uh, it says official rehearsal session. So it's a live recording. And this shows how a great arrangement just works. I mean, it's, it's mixed well in everything, but it's li it's tracked live and just what happens in the room is what happens and, and makes it work. also site note, they use an SM seven because it's the choice if you do live things and if you have a less than ideal room and all of that, we always preach that. but yeah, just listen, look at the video, watch that video. Listen to that song. Great, Great Bank, great example. And also they, yeah, so mixable their arrangements in such a cool,
Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. Fantastic. One of the greatest rock voices around as well. So good
Malcom: We've actually never talked about the Temperance Movement. I didn't know
Benedikt: no. no. I, I, yeah. It's not the type of music that I grew up with. I listen to a lot, but I discovered them a couple years ago actually. And I, I just, I think it was even that video that sort of caught my attention and, uh, I was just fascinated by their musicianship and by not even the mix and all of that, but just what happened in front of the mic?
Malcom: Oh, so good. I, went and saw them live. They were opening up for, uh, I, I won't mention who they're opening up for, I respect for them because they couldn't, like the, the tempers movement was opening
Malcom: and, uh, they were so much better
than, the headliner that people were just leaving. Like the headliner probably would've been fine if they hadn't had the Temperance Movement right before them
Malcom: But it was like, Oh my gosh, I can't listen to this. Because that was so good.
Benedikt: Oh, they probably regret, taking them on tour.
Benedikt: Yeah. Oh, shit.
Benedikt: And that, I mean, I don't know about that show and that it's even more impressive when that happens because usually, the promoters and like people who put on these tours, they make sure that the, that the, the support band is not sounding as loud and good as the headliner and all of that. So even the, the front of house mix and everything is intentionally thinner, has less low end
Malcom: everybody's working towards impressing the
That's like, that. People don't, don't know that or don't realize that often, but when you go to a show and the support band has a shitty sound, that's not because they don't know what they're doing. That's intentional oftentimes because they wanna make sure that the headliner looks and sounds as good as possible in comparison. But if a, if, and if a support band manages to still be better and sound better and everything, then that's pretty impressive.
Malcom: Yeah. Yeah, it's uh, yeah, I could talk about that band for a long time though.
they, them and rival sons are two bands that break the rules we're talking about all the
Malcom: do it expertly. So if you don't wanna have symmetrical, modern and you, but you still want it to be balanced and arranged really well, those are the two rock bands you gotta check out.
Benedikt: Yeah. Prime examples. Yeah, exactly. And still, but it's still intentional and it is balanced in a way. It's just not symmetrical, but they know what they're doing. It's not, they're not leaving it the chance. They know exactly what they're doing and that it works. You know,
Somebody signed off on this,
Malcom: And. next episode is actually gonna be like a continuation on this, where we'll be talking about styled instruments, like lead guitar parts or vocals and stuff like that. And this is the heart of the process that more often than what everything we've talked about today, the ideas sometimes come up later in the recording, so they might get missed until, you know, you're actually tracking, like after pre-production. Sometimes you're just like, There's a hole here. What do we fill it with? And that's a really creative, fun problem to have and, and get to play with. Um, yeah, this next episode's gonna be exciting.
Benedikt: Yeah, totally. So, yeah. Um, one last thing to add to the set conversation. Just copying, simply copying over the rhythm guitar doesn't work. I have to say that. Doubling means, I didn't know that when I was starting out. So, doubling guitars means you have to play it twice because if you just copy over the part, it will still be mono. Both speakers are doing the same thing, which is mono. And if you, even if you delay it slightly or manipulate it slightly, it's not the same thing as a double. So doubling means record the thing twice if you need the counterpart on the other side. And then the final thing when we wrap, before we wrap this up now, or in re this up, I have to say that I hope you are listening to this podcast now. I hope you realized that we were talking a lot about frequencies and how things go together in the spectrum and all of that, but we didn't talk about EQ. Once we only talked about like what parts are being played, how they, the source tones go together. And I really hope you, you realize that because I also know from experience teaching people and talking to people that when I say How do the symbols fit with the guitars? They immediately, their minds immediately go to, Oh, I gotta boost part of the top end on my symbols. Instead of thinking I have to choose different symbols, or I have to change my source guitar tone or I have to play a different part. So none of what we, nothing of, of all the things we just said here was meant to, to give you like an an EQ tip or something. So we are not saying, Remove this part of the spectrum with saying, play a different part or choose a different instrument, or play the part in octave higher, or, you know, all these things, but not, this is not mixing, this is really building this. All of the things we just said. You can do this in your jam space without even recording. you should record it so you listen what you're doing. But this is not part of the mixing. This is not what happens in the computer unless you're building songs in the computer, of course. But this is really building the song, arranging it, and filling in these holes and making sure the puzzle works has at, at least at this stage of the process, nothing to do with mix moves and EQ moves, but with choosing the right puzzle pieces so that they fit so that later in the mix you can use them and to complete the puzzle and make them fit together. And mix move you make later, you do those same you basical. Apply the same concepts and the same thought processes, but you have to do less of it, which will sound better. You'll have to, you can do it with intention. The song will tell you what it needs. You don't have to guess because it's already built into the tracks, basically. And then you do all the same things just with eq, but less of it and better and with intention and your life will be so much easier. So this was not about EQing, this was really about the source. And please don't skip this, even though it's like might be tempting to just grab an EQ and try to accomplish it there. But don't skip this part, please. It's
Malcom: Absolutely. Oh, and everybody watching my cat has joined us. Here's
Benedikt: Hello gotten big.
Malcom: she's a,
Benedikt: Oh, she, she,
Malcom: I should say she, but she's, uh, yeah, she's grown.
Benedikt: She's grown. Yeah, totally. I thought you had like, was it, ah, it's a, she, I thought it was a, it was a he at.
Malcom: Uh, it? Nope. Always a girl.
Benedikt: Yeah, she, yeah, she was always a girl, I'm sure. But like, um, Oh yeah, she's typing into our notes here. I'm
she's just adding stuff into her podcast I thought there maybe, I thought you had another cat or something
about. Uh, boy.
Benedikt: Ah, Sorry for that. I totally
Malcom: no, it doesn't matter. I don't think she minds.
Benedikt: I just, I'm just watching her type. She's just walking over the keyboard and adds things
Malcom: destructive. A Meis.
Which cats are by nature, So . All right, cool. Uh, let's wrap this up. Let's continue next time. This has been a long episode. Hope you got some value out of this. Um, a lot to think about. Again, go to the show notes of this episode. And,
Malcom: her outta here.
stop watching the cat. Yeah, just go to, go to the show notes of this episode. Uh, go to the self recording band.com/podcast that you find all the episode show notes, or just go to the self recording band.com/arrangement. And, uh, download this checklist. The, the slides that I use for the, for the coaching, this is actual content that I use in our paid programs. And, uh, you can get a, part of it here for free. And, uh, then ask yourself these questions, Implement them, make your arrangements better. And yeah, next time we'll talk about lead parts vocals and some closing thoughts to bring it all together.
Malcom: Absolutely. And uh, yeah, I hope you were taking notes cuz it was a ton
Benedikt: Yeah, a great time. See you next week.
Malcom: See you next. While they're exiting outta this, I'm gonna tell a story that they can decide to listen to if they want some more cat stories.
Malcom: if you don't want a cat story, get outta here. We'll see you next week. But, uh, so, and Benny, this is also for you cuz I think it's just hilarious but also terrifying. Um, hair all over this now I'm noticing, but, uh, , uh, Beasley is obsessed with the studio. I think I've told you before. She knows how to open the doors. jump up and grab the door in here and we're constantly trying to stop her from doing that. Cause I don't want her in here without me. Because a cat could destroy this entire room in like 30
seconds to left unattended. And that is exactly what happened. Uh, ,she got through, I like heard her getting through the door, so I like ran out to grab her. She just books it from me cuz she knows I'm coming for, runs in here like mock 10 and just does like this burnout around the back of the studio desk here. And I've, uh, listeners, I've started making educational YouTube content. It's just under my name if you wanna search it up. and she comes in, she swipes into the light. I've got set up right here and knocks over the light, which is a ring light and comes through and perfectly goes around my camera. So camera is like in the center of the ring light, which then knocks over the camera, which I've got speaker cables on my monitors here that are kind of short and suspended. Lands on those and starts pulling my speaker monitors over. Like I had, I luckily caught the camera before that happened, but she almost destroyed literally everything in this room. In one move. It was like close to my camera and monitors and laptop, which would've been taken down because of the cables plugged into it, all in one move. Like I would've lost my entire studio
Benedikt: Yep. what are you, what are you doing to to, to prevent that from happening when you're not there?
Malcom: Uh, we are the door handle type to a round door handle that I don't think a cat could ever open without thumbs.
yeah, don't underestimate them, but like yeah, , but yeah, probably, probably harder at least.
Malcom: Yeah, and, uh, waiting down some stands cuz like that light stands should not be able to fall over from a cat.
Benedikt: Yeah, totally. I'm, That makes me question the idea of integrating my studio into our future house because that now it's in a separate building and maybe that's a good thing. maybe that's a good idea. Maybe I should change that because we have one, one of our cats can open doors too. It's super annoying because he gets in the, the bedroom at night all the time and wakes everybody up and Yeah. Yeah. So, ah, I never thought about that. It's actually really dangerous when you have the
Malcom: they're just, Yeah, it was so close, man. Like
Benedikt: That's, a
Malcom: tens of thousands of dollars.
Benedikt: Yeah, but I, I wonder I all the time, I, When, while you were, um, talking about that, I wondered how you stopped it from happening because you had to catch all those things simultaneously,
Malcom: So the, But they were all being pulled down from the combined weight of the camera and the light. So I got my
the camera and that
Malcom: kind of thing. It was just
one single point of contact. Yeah. We made it, We made it
Benedikt: Awesome. Awesome. So if you're still listening to this, congrats. I'll see you. See you next week. Thank
Malcom: Yeah, that's kind of amazing. If you're still listening,
Malcom: you next week.
Benedikt: Bye. Bye.
TSRB Free Facebook Community:
Outback Recordings Podcast - Benedikt's other podcast
If you have any questions, feedback, topic ideas or want to suggest a guest, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
take action and learn how to transform your DIY recordings from basement demos to 100% Mix-Ready, Pro-Quality tracks!
Get the free Ultimate 10-Step guide To Successful DIY-Recording