So the scratch track is done, the general feel of the track is heading in the right direction and I think before I start perfecting the sounds and sequencing, I should start focusing on the other elements I have planned, as new elements might influence the way the over all track sounds. I plan to add 3 new instruments/parts to the project, including guitar, trumpet and synthesiser samples. I may add vocals, but not until I have added these elements as they may influence the kind of vocals, or need for vocals at all.
I'm pretty familiar with writing and recording guitar so I will probably start organising the guitar parts before anything else. I can picture a mix of clean plucked guitar, as well as distorted guitar in the heavier parts of the track, I may even rewrite a section that is dedicated to heavy guitar. For now I will write and record scratch tracks for the guitar through my multifunction guitar pedal (pictured below), this will help me find what kind of sound I want for the guitar. I may re-amp some parts later but more than likely I will use the DI signal direct from the pedal. All this step needs now is a bit of trial and error and a bit of time spent writing.
For now let's talk about how the scratch track came about.
Above is a screenshot of my scratch track which I produced and put together in FL Studio, I chose to use FL because I'm most familiar with it and I knew I could easily access the samples and synths I wanted on my home computer. I've mostly been improving my mixing skills within Pro Tools so I'll be using it for the final stages of this project, however if I need to record anything extra with synths I have on my own computer I'll be using FL to do so. The scratch track I have written is pretty much at the end product in terms of structure, I'll simply be adding to it from here on out, and maybe just changing a couple of the synths in terms of their sound, but I am pretty happy with the way they sound now.
The scratch track I've embedded above is very stripped back and bare, but I thought it was necessary as a refernence for this blog. The style I'm going for is a blend of influences from different Drum and Bass sub-genres. The drums and first chorus take influence from a kind of Minimal DnB drum sound with very a basic pattern that I believe lets the track breathe and allows the bass line to stand out. Here is an example of some Minimal DnB, listen to how simple the drums are and how it lets that really sub frequency bass line through.
The second chorus and outro take influence from a more upbeat and sort of fun genre of DnB called Jump Up, also akin to another "sillier" sounding genre called Clownstep (yeah I know it sounds lame). One of the biggest and most well known Jump Up tunes is Bricks Don't Roll - DJ Hazard. Check out my teardown of this track here. The bass line in there sections is influenced by the bass in this tune, mostly for the way it bounces around under the kick drum and somewhat the sound of it as well.
The melodic synths are built to match the feeling and flow of the drum sequence so I've made them quite basic with mostly triangle and sine waves, I'll go into greater depth in a later blog about why I chose to create these kinds of synth patches and how I went about doing so.
Over all this track is coming together the way I wanted it to, for me personally I still think it carries a lot of my usual production sound across to the DnB genre but still hits the "right notes" when it comes to producing DnB.