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Demo songs

Author Topic: Demo songs  (Read 753 times)

Offline DashD

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Demo songs
« on: September 08, 2016, 08:32:45 AM »
Hi there

Quite afraid to do this, but I guess it doesn’t make a lot of sense to stay locked up forever in one’s bedroom as a songwriter. So, if you find some time to listen to my self-written and -produced demo songs and to even give some constructive feedback, please do so – I’m very passionate about the whole thing and want to improve. And sorry for my singing  ::) (trying to stick with Dr. Luke who said something like “the vision and emotion of a song need to come across even if I am singing it”).

Queen to Me:
https://soundcloud.com/dash-dude/queen-to-me-demo
Lipstick Spell:
https://soundcloud.com/dash-dude/lipstick-spell
Whatever Comes:
https://soundcloud.com/dash-dude/whatever_comes

Been on this forum for quite a while and only registered a couple of months ago. It is a blessing to be surrounded by people who actively appreciate and analyse pop music, whereas a lot of people seem to be rather indifferent to the music that surrounds them and to how it is created. See you around.

Offline SongsByGROVER

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Re: Demo songs
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2016, 02:08:04 AM »
Hey man, yeah these are pretty ok :) Hard to know straight away their potential coz theyre quite LoFi, but with a few listens i'm sure the hooks might start to stick (with a more polished recording and production the hope would be the hooks stick the first time of course!)

But yeah, good points... i like the pitched vocal samples (hooky!) and general vibe, first song is the best, pretty current sounding. Melodies are fine... not sure if the chorus is strong enough but i like the verses and prechorus. (Chorus might be ok depending on how the vocals would be produced, if it was like a big energy thing it might work, stacked liked One Direction or something. But not as a 'ballad chorus' the way it is on the demo.)

Other things to work on... lofi production sound, needs some better mixing and sample choices (drum + piano sounds especially), and make the choruses pop out from the verses, with dynamics. And obviously as you know it needs a proper singer on it to hear the song in all it's glory. I think some of the phrasing needs work, but (hopefully) a decent singer should fix that naturally as they record. Just stuff over-pronounced and extra syllables where they should be reduced to fit better. Didnt really listen to the lyrics either, i mean i heard them, but nothing grabbed my attention, quite generic but passable at least. I'm sure there's hooks in there but they need bringing to the forefront and that's very hard without a good vocal... find a friend who can sing maybe if you dont wanna commit to paying a session singer just yet!

Keep at it, making demos is fun if nothing else :)
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 02:15:33 AM by SongsByGROVER »

Offline DashD

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Re: Demo songs
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2016, 10:03:53 PM »
Hey Grover, thanks so much for taking the time to listen and for giving such constructive critique - greatly appreciate!

Guess I should really try to find a good singer with good phrasing, and more than that learn to properly record and process vocals to fit a song. The thing you mention with a "big energy" vocal "stacked like 1D" instead of a "ballad chorus" is great - now that I listen to it again I can imagine the difference (it currently fits like James Blunt singing over a Skrillex track or so). Yet, stacking vocals currently takes me forever as I cut, shift and stretch manually - it might be worth investing in Vocalign or a cheaper alternative - any experience?

Will also try to improve the lofi sound - mixing/EQing truly is an art in itself and I'm fighting with it ... big time. To be honest, I really wonder how these very young producers like Garrix, Avicii or Kygo manage to make these perfect sounding tracks without 15 years of education and experience - maybe talent or still mixed by professionals?

Offline SongsByGROVER

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Re: Demo songs
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2016, 01:26:45 PM »
Yeah vocalign is nice to have if you can afford it, but if you have a singer that can sing in time (with the same rhythm every time) then you dont need it that much. TBH i normally spend 2-4 hours editing all the vocals before i start a mix, and that's WITH vocalign (and usually 10-30 tracks of vocals).

If it's just for quick demo purposes, you can just sing once then use something like Harmony Engine to create a load of harmonies and width. Sounds like a robot, sure, but you get a better idea of what the finished vibe would be. (You can also use multiple tracks of autotune keyed to midi tracks, if you cant get harmony engine, or even just using your DAW's built-in pitch shifter for the free but much more fiddly way.)

I've watched videos of Martin Garrix and Avicii producing, they really just use a lot of presets and samples to get a pro sound in the simplest way possible (some would say that's cheating, but also those "some" probably haven't had any international hits...). Just search on youtube, Garrix shows you his Animals session in depth, for eg. Obviously if youre not making EDM it's not directly applicable but you can recycle some of the concepts at least.

A lot of the big dance producers do have a professional mixer that finalises all their stuff (seen interviews with those guys, though i can recall any names), but their main point is usually that the stems sound 90% great coming straight from the producer, so the mix engineer just adds the final 8% of polish (then mastering adds the final 2%!)

But also, I'd say because dance is more of an "experimental" genre than pop, it's a lot easier to make dance music that sounds good than it is to make pop music that sounds good. Eg, LOADS of house music has very lo-fi vocals, but you almost never hear that in pop. Another example, imagine that nasty (but classic) stabby house piano sound being used as the piano sound on a pop ballad... it'd be awful! Pop typically requires lush sounds to have the 'right' production quality... unless you invent a new style of pop, which might be cool! :)



Offline DashD

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Re: Demo songs
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2016, 10:11:29 PM »
Thanks for the tips, man. I always wanted to check out an auto-harmonizer just to be blown away by the sudden depth and the feelings it creates. This wonderful song by Muna uses plenty of it and you hardly need any additional instrumentation to make a song work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lnps91BM-cs

I checked the Animals making-of on Youtube. It really looks like the cut was made from the sum of this session. He may be using presets, but my piano on the first track is also a preset and it still sounds a little crappy (even though I did some EQing on it) :)

Mostly agree with your EDM/pop comparison. You're probably refering to 90s tracks like this one when talking about the nasty house piano :-) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrVE36z75Po.
It might be easier to make dance music sound good, but I still admire good instrumental-driven EMD productions as they can't hide behind songwriting and vocals to catch someone's attention. By the way, here's a good Q&A interview with French producer Madeon on production stuff: https://www.reddit.com/r/edmproduction/comments/186kli/im_madeon_lets_talk_production/

Example:
-Schnoofti
How do you keep all the highs in your synths and drums so clear without them blurring together uncohesevely?

-ItsMadeon
Avoid redundancy - There's no need to have two simultaneous chorded instruments with loud highs. Dynamic is also a huge asset, having snappy, fast decaying highs on rhythmical elements can go a long way.




« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 10:13:31 PM by DashD »

Offline SongsByGROVER

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Re: Demo songs
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2016, 02:51:57 AM »
Nice, yeah i'll check that out, i'm sure there's some great tips in there! Madeon's first single was unreal (Icarus)... shame he never followed it up with anything comparable.

And yeah some presets are bad, and some are good but only for certain styles of music etc. You have to be selective in choosing the RIGHT preset :) That'll depend on the virtual instruments youre using... some come with better preset packs than others... If you can get NI Komplete, that's a very good starting point for most types of music, ie a high proportion of the presets in all the synths are pretty useable (in fact some of the Massive presets are so useable they've become cliché, 'Brutal Electro' bass is the sound of terrible dubstep amateur everywhere, for example! haha)

Offline Phantom9d

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Re: Demo songs
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2017, 06:05:23 PM »
I really like the "Queen for me" song. Would be a nice summer song if you maybe made a bit more catchier hook or something stronger instrumental. Maybe just change the chords in the chorus and make some cathier vocals. Could be interesting to change the chords to contrast it a bit more from the vers.

The hihats might take a little too much of the attention from the intro and in the verses/pre. They sound a bit too hip-hop trappy to the lush feel (might work in the chorus tho). I think it would be cooler if you let the song be a bit more simpel and easy in the beginning (maybe with some acoustic percussion instead?) and letting the drums kick in stronger in the chorus to get that "tension build up and release feel."

The stronger parts of the song that gets my attention is the intro with the high pitched voice and the piano melody. The vocals/lyrics are pretty on spot in my opinion and the pre chorus is nice.

I'm not a fan of the rap in the third vers. Could make a chord changing bridge without drums instead to let the song breath a little before the last chorus. It's also cool to add something extra to the last chorus to make it climax.

The bass is minimal and glues nicely with the piano.

I picture some young female vocals to this track would be awesome.

Nice songwriting :)


PS. My feedback is just one mans opinion.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2017, 06:27:24 PM by Phantom9d »

Offline DashD

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Re: Demo songs
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2017, 10:45:22 AM »
Thanks for the detailled feedback, Phantom9d. Appreciate!
I tried to polish the songs a bit following the fully justified "lofi" feedback above. "Queen to me" even got some new drums. Hope they all sound a bit better now (the vocals are still very lofi, though :)).

You're probably right with your points. The instrumental would definitely need some more variations i.e. raise and release tension, keeping it more simple in the verse etc. Now that I know that two people kind of like the song, it might be worth spending some more time on this :).

There actually is some climax in the last chorus. There's this panning scream pattern that starts in the rap-bridge and reaches its max volume in the final chorus, going throughout. And there's an additional pad. Maybe I need to make them louder.

Here's a new song clip by the way. Trying hard to get a better sound quality. I know, the sounds (pluck and pitched voice) might be a bit overused by now, but I couldn't help myself, haha - just like these sounds.

https://soundcloud.com/dash-dude/in-my-veins
« Last Edit: April 04, 2017, 09:17:35 PM by DashD »

Offline Phantom9d

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Re: Demo songs
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2017, 12:09:48 AM »
The song is cool! I believe you can make something interesting with it :D

Ohh I hear the added stuff at the end now. Maybe just adjust the volumes or put something more distinctive at the end.