Keep It D.L.

Sultry alternative R&B and lush analog synths. I explain how this track came together.

The best thing about continually making music is the feeling of progress. Sonically, this track doesn’t sound too dissimilar from an earlier release back in 2018 called Leech. From a production perspective however, it feels like I’ve learnt a fair amount since then.

For one thing, I’ve started designing my own synth sounds instead of relying on custom presets. The opportunities opened up by understanding the basics of how a synth works are endless, allowing me to get closer to the exact sound in my head.

Take the main pad chord, for example. I’ve called this preset ‘Warm Wonky Chord’, and it’s created using Ableton’s Analog synth. This sequence runs throughout the entire track non-stop. It’s a bed for the rest of the track, with different elements coming in and out around it.

The drum samples come from a kit I downloaded from Ableton. I really like the sound of that clap – can’t quite describe it. The kick is also nice and earthy. With a bit of sidechain compression, it cuts through that synth really well. Other synths and keyboards punctuate through the track, but these elements were the foundations that got the ball rolling.

The instrumentation on this track is fairly minimal in terms of melody, so it was important to get a good vocal to add something exciting. I went a bit mad and added ten tracks of me harmonising a melody, which fades in and out through a low pass filter. The vocal line itself is pure nonsense in terms of lyrics, but my focus has always been on getting the melody right. If the words sound like they could mean something, then that’s usually good enough for me (this is honestly something I’m trying to get better at, but I’m just being super honest).

As a final note, I’ve found myself using reverse cymbals and crashes to mark movement and changes in the song. It’s a bit cheesy 80s pop, but it tends to work great.

I’m proud of this one – sometimes it’s quite a cathartic experience to make slower, more subdued tracks. The next one is gonna be a banger though, so stay tuned… 😉

Listen to the track here.

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