Category Archives for "DIY-Production Basics"

#31: Make Your Chorus POP With These 5 Vocal Arrangement And Production Tricks

Make Your Chorus POP With These 5 Vocal Arrangement And Vocal Production Tricks

Do you know the feeling when the chorus kicks in and you're like "YES, HOLY SH*T, THIS IS HUGE!"? 

Goosebumps, emotions, energy, excitement - a great chorus can be just a perfect moment that immediately makes you love the song and want to sing along. A great vocal production and arrangement can create that feeling and make a chorus really stand out. It can turn it into the catchy, memorable highlight of the song.

If you don't put enough thought into this, you really miss out on the biggest opportunity to catch the listener and make the song sound and feel like a hit! A great vocal melody and lyrics obviously help, but in most cases it's just not enough.

The chorus needs to POP and deliver the message and emotion of the song in the best possible way! 

Join us as we're breaking down 5 vocal arrangement and vocal production tricks that you can implement right away to create songs that stick and make your listeners lose it, as soon as the chorus kicks in!

Read More

#30: What Makes A Great Production? The Answers To: “How Do I Know If It Sounds Good?” And “What Should I Actually Listen For?”

Podcast #30: What Makes A Great Production?

"What Makes A Great Production?" 

This is probably the most asked question of all. It's also one of the most important ones and, unfortunately, quite difficult to answer.

What we consider a "good sound" or "great production" is highly subjective and even if you look at more objective criteria, it takes quite some experience to be able to listen for the right things and make informed decisions.

Nevertheless, we sat down and tried to tackle the question in the simplest and most helpful way possible.

We took a look at our own favorite productions and analysed what we liked about them and why. We also wrote down what we're typically aiming for when producing or mixing music ourselves, depending on the genre, of course.

That said, with "production" we mean the whole thing: Recording, editing, mixing, mastering. So we're looking at the final thing, dissect it and find out what makes it awesome. So that you know what to listen for and where you are standing compared to a great sounding, finished record. No matter where you are in the process

Then we made a list of the most important, overall things, explained why these are so important, and threw in some advice on how to achieve those.

And finally, we went into the specifics and details that are easier and quicker to apply.

Let us know what you love about your favorite songs and productions, by commenting below!

Read More

#28: Track Your Progress – The Mindset, Strategy, Tactics and Tools You Need To Stay On Top Of Your Project

Podcast #28: Track Your Progress - The Mindset, Strategy, Tactics And Tools You Need To Stay On Top Of Your Project

In order to stay motivated and keep pushing your project forward, you need to track your progress. 

You need know where you are, what you've already accomplished, what's ahead and what to do next.

Every second spent thinking about those things before you can be creative again and move on with the project is a minute wasted. And, more importantly, mental energy wasted that you could have used to work on your music.

Add to that, that we are incredibly forgetful creatures who get distracted easily and you'll quickly realize that there's no way around tracking your progress properly, if you want a completed project, well thought-out songs, an inspiring, detailed production and happy bandmates.

Join us as we discuss the mindset, strategy, tactics and tools we use to manage our studio projects and let us give you some ideas and practical advice on how to implement a seamless system for your band.

Read More

#27: The Pitfalls Of Being Overly Obsessive While Tracking – How Being Too Hard On Yourself And Your Bandmates Can Negatively Affect Performances And Relationships

The Pitfalls Of Being Overly Obsessive While Tracking

Taking it seriously and putting in a lot of effort is good - Being overly obsessive is not.

Are you the type of person who loves the technical aspect of recording? Are you fascinated by gear and all the cool things you can do with it? Do you have high standards and a clear vision of what the performances should be like? Are you willing to spend hours to get the perfect take or refine a tone? Are your bandmates joking about how obsessive you are while tracking? Or, even worse, are they annoyed by your approach and your obsessive ways?

"I mean, it's clearly their fault, right? They just don't understand how important this all is."

Well, think twice. 

Recording music and making records should be fun and lead to an exciting result, not a perfect one. You can hear it if it was a pain to create and that is not good. Yes, there are technical details to take care of and non-creative steps in the process. And yes, you need to take it seriously and put in a lot of effort. But while working with countless artists over the years we found ourselves in many situations where we needed to help the band get back on track, prevent damage to the relationships within the band and make sure they still had the goal and big picture in mind.

We've seen relationships being destroyed, bands breaking up and records turning out uninspired or never getting finished at all, because of one or multiple bandmembers being  overly obsessive while tracking, being too hard on themselves and their bandmates and, while having great intentions, ultimately putting the whole project at risk. 

That's why we felt the need to make this episode to help you finish your projects, get exciting results, strengthen your relationships within the band and, most importantly, have fun while you're doing it. 

Read More

#26: Troubleshooting – What To Do When Things Go Wrong (Part 2)

Troubleshooting – What To Do When Things Go Wrong (Part 2)

Troubleshooting and solving problems are just part of making records.

Things will go wrong at some point and we need to be able to deal with those issues fast, so we can continue working on the art, stay in the zone and keep the creative energy and vibe up at all times. 

  • Have you ever felt the frustration kicking in after hours of searching the internet for a solution to some seemingly trivial problem? 
  • Has making a record ever seemed like a tedious and difficult process to you?
  • Have you ever been wondering why something just doesn't sound like it's supposed to and you are kind of stabbing in the dark trying to get it right?

We've been there and want to make your life a little easier by sharing a whole list of solutions to common "audio problems", so you don't need to go through the same frustrating process of figuring it all out on your own. Instead you can apply the advice right away and continue focussing on what really matters.

This is a two part series, as there's really a lot that can, and will, eventually go wrong. Let's jump into part two, where we discuss "tone problems" as well as typical arrangement/songwriting issues that you need to overcome if you want to capture exciting sounding songs.

Read More

#25: Troubleshooting – What To Do When Things Go Wrong (Part 1)

#25: Troubleshooting – What To Do When Things Go Wrong (Part 1)

Troubleshooting and solving problems are just part of making records.

Things will go wrong at some point and we need to be able to deal with those issues fast, so we can continue working on the art, stay in the zone and keep the creative energy and vibe up at all times. 

  • Have you ever felt the frustration kicking in after hours of searching the internet for a solution to some seemingly trivial problem? 
  • Has making a record ever seemed like a tedious and difficult process to you?
  • Have you ever been wondering why something just doesn't sound like it's supposed to and you are kind of stabbing in the dark trying to get it right?

We've been there and want to make your life a little easier by sharing a whole list of solutions to common "audio problems", so you don't need to go through the same frustrating process of figuring it all out on your own. Instead you can apply the advice right away and continue focussing on what really matters.

This is a two part series, as there's really a lot that can, and will, eventually go wrong. Let's start with part one, where we discuss technical issues and "tone problems" that you need to overcome if you want to capture exciting sounding tracks.

Read More

#24: The Process Of Making A Record – Breaking It Down From Idea To Finished Release

#24: The Process Of Making A Record – Breaking It Down From Idea To Finished Release

This Podcast (and whole website) is about making records. 

And this is the master episode. The episode of all episodes, if you will.

Because we're walking you through the entire process of how records are made, explain every step along the way and talk about how to best approach each step, depending on what you're going for and what situation you're in.

There's so much that goes into making a record that the actual process of recording it is just a small piece of the puzzle. Join us as we're breaking it down step by step, so you can create your own master plan for your next release!

Read More

#22: Guitar Tuning And Intonation Deep Dive

One of the most common issues we run into, when we get tracks from self-recording bands, are tuning issues. And out of tune guitar and bass tracks are one of those things that immediately scream "AMATEUR PRODUCTION!".


The sad truth is:

When the tuning is off, even if it's subtle, the song won't connect as well and the mix won't sound as good as it could have if the intonation was spot on!


Especially in modern productions where there are multiple layers of guitars, bass, keys, vocals, etc., even the slightest tuning issues can cause the whole thing to sound weird and unprofessional. And it will definitely distract the listeners and take them out of the song.

Listen as we walk you through three main concepts and lots of simple, specific tricks and tactics that you can use to identify problems, get the guitar tuning spot on and nail the intonation every single time you record.

The action steps we're giving you in this episode to help you get the tuning right:


1. Your Guitar:

  • Use the proper string gauge (string tension calculator)
  • Set up your guitar properly and regularly (or take it to a professional to get it done)
  • Use the same tuner for every person in the band 
  • Use a strobe tuner

2. Performance:

  • Tune attack or tune sustain, depending on the part
  • Tune like you play (hard/soft, sitting/standing)
  • Tune individual chords, if necessary
  • Mute unused strings and use fret wraps, if necessary
  • Left hand tuning ("death grip", bending, etc)
  • Right hand tuning (position of your hand, intensity, etc.)

3. Production Strategy:

  • Don't tune between doubles 
  • Use the same guitarist for main take and double
  • Use the same guitar and rig for your double if you want a solid, wide, "wall of sound" type of thing
  • Use a tuning reference track (MIDI bass is great for that)
  • Consider getting an Evertune bridge if you're in the market for a new guitar

Things we use and recommend for getting the tuning right (affiliate links):

Read More

#18: How DI Tracks Can Save Your Guitar Recordings

How DI Tracks Can Save Your Guitar Recordings

When you record a guitar or bass, you should always record a clean DI signal in addition to your amp (or amp sim, Kemper, etc.)

There are plenty of very good reasons for recording a DI track - and just no reason not to.

In this episode we talk about the many ways your next record will possibly benefit from having DI tracks and sending those to mixing along with your amp tones:

  • It will enhance your creativity
  • It will allow you to focus on the music and the performance more, the stuff that matters the most
  • It will make you a better guitar player
  • Editing will be much easier, more effective and transparent
  • The final tone (the end result) will probably be a lot better (we explain exactly how and why)
  • There are a lot of creative, fun things you can do with a DI that can really bring your record to the next level (we talk about examples for this and how to do it)
Read More

#17: Vocal Tuning Isn’t Just For T-Pain

Vocal Tuning Isn't Just For T-Pain

What comes to mind when you think of Auto-Tune?

​Probably not organic sounding, "real" rock music, right? The word screams "FAKE!" The truth is, though, that on most modern, professional records, even the very natural sounding ones, you'll hear some sort of pitch correction or tuning that happened in post-production or even in real-time during recording.

It's not at all about creating funny, robotic sounding effects (although you can do that if you want) and it's also not about making bad singers appear as if they could actually sing (although you can definitely do that to an extent).

It's mostly about taking an already great performance, that has the perfect feel and energy and getting the intonation just right, so that the vocal sits beautifully in the mix and connects with the listener.

Sometimes that means it needs to be just a little off, sometimes it means it needs to be 100% accurate. And sometimes nothing at all is needed. It totally depends, but if it could really help the song and make a greater impact on the listener, would you still refuse to do it? Let's discuss!

Read More
>