“Hi, My name is Emmanuel…. and I’m addicted to bass”
I think back to my FIRST production project, I still remember the flurry of feeling; NERVOUS about if the project will go well and how my music will stack up to the artists vocals and the songwriter’s lyrics, EXCITED about having a project I’ve been simulating in my head finally take shape and finally I remember a feeling of READINESS for my first lead project in a professional studio.
All this was deflated by the Session Engineer who kept turning down the BASS on my instrumentals. IT MADE NO SENSE TO ME! I had spend HOURS trying to finding the perfect BASS refill (I used Reason to make my instrumentals back then) only to have it turned DOWN and until I gained a better understanding of the technical aspects of production I continuous (kindly) requested he turn up the bass till I RUINED THE MIX.
In my head it made PERFECT sense, if the bass-line and drums are the core elements of a House, Hip Hop and to some arguable extend R&B music then surely ‘more of those elements‘ is equals to, if not GREATER than a good track.
Over a DECADE later, Im blogging this advice to other PRODUCERS-INSTRUMENTALISTS trying to achieve BALANCE, SPACE and industry standard QUALITY in their production, here 3 main TIPS
(Tip 1) When making music imagine a track as a single glass you can fill it with anything you want. Sure, you can fill it with a lot of one thing (e.g. bass) but that takes up space that could be used for something else. (vocals, synths etc.) Create an EVEN and BALANCED blend between ALL the ELEMENTS of your track.
(Tip 2) Every now and again LISTEN to your production through EARPHONES (not headphones), this will give you a great PERSPECTIVE of what your track sounds like without a lot of bass. It also gets you used to MIXING FOR EARPHONES (Remember: Most of your listeners will listen to your track of their phone, iPod or Mp3 player using earphones)
(Tip 3) Use MODERN sound banks like NATIVE INSTRUMENTS that include a strong catalogue of realistic bass sounds and patches.
Don’t be afraid to EXPERIMENT and try new mix STYLES and SOUNDS.
Till next time.
Remember… Make your sound count