The first song is called Forbidden Love. My intentions were to create a song drawing from R&B and Lo-Fi songs. I started with a simple chord progression, Cmaj7, and B7, being close together, almost clashing, it keeps you engaged, the listeners anticipate a change in the progression. In songwriting process, I had been singing in falsetto, meaning when it came to recording vocals I wasn’t getting the projection, articulation, or definition as the song was too high to sing comfortably out of falsetto.
I had dropped it a few semitones to Abmaj7 and G7. Using 2 chords pushed me to fill the song with layers, adding texture with multiple instruments, i.e. the use of pads. I chose to use two pads one for the verse and one for the pre-chorus and chorus one of them is dreamy and calming, whereas the other is counteracting this, it is playing different notes throughout and sounds like raindrops, it is very busy.
Initially, I was going to use strings to fill out the different sections however after trying these strings it made it sound to cinematic and the overall drifted away from the genre and idea I was aiming to achieve.
For the drums, I kept it simple in the verses with only closed hi-hats, claps, and the kick, however in the chorus I added more hi-hats, two snares, rim shot and stick hits, these all just give it that punchy feel. For the kick drum, I was aiming for it to convey the idea of an erratic heartbeat, starting out steadily the changing at the end of a bar.
I also used a lot of percussion like tambourines, shakers, guiro, triangles. I wanted it to also have a sort of natural feel so I used a few orchestral percussion instruments. There is a prominent 808 bass that is present throughout the track. The verse follows the pattern of a broken chord starting on the Root, then ascending the notes in the chords from high to low. following the same rhythm as the Kick drum. however, it changes up it the chorus playing a different melody and rhythm that contradicts the kick drum. This 808 is playing on each beat of the bar, this adds a push/drive in the chorus.
Lo-Fi were originally songs that were the product of a bad/cheap recording, allowing most mistakes and background noises to come through into the mix. So I took this idea and channeled it to my track, through adding in effects like audible hiss, distortion, and room acoustics I achieved this chilled out, effortless vibe. I used a piano patch called ‘Vinyl EP’, I went into the effects on this instrument and turned up the effect, which was the vinyl noise, I also added a low cut frequency filter, acoustic reverb and a delay to this to give it that home-made, old school sound. Another Lo-Fi characteristic I added was natural sounds and white noise, with associations to water. these consist of, taps running, walking through water, along with wind noises and vocals with heavy effects.I added in these water noises as the lyrics are water based.
The lyrics are describing a person but identifying them with the same characteristics of bodies of water, “deep like the ocean”, “calm me like a river” “your stream is deadly”. I took influences from Mahalia (Sober – Mahlia) and Erykah Badu (Didn’t Cha know), they both have sultry vocals, almost lazy and relaxed but still impacting. After Recording the final lead vocals, I then just opened a new vocal track and put the whole track on repeat with the mic recording I just messed around over the top I found the ad libs I liked and recorded these properly before adding them in. Another way I added layers in this was through my use of harmonies through the song, having these harmonies just add an extra layer and make the chorus more climatic. For the effect on the vocals, I tried to keep the, quite natural, but I still wanted them to be at a high standard. I added a DeEsser to my vocals to cut out noises I didn’t want in the final mix, along with two reverbs,(acoustic and plate).
For this song, I started with the lyric as these are what I want people to pay the most attention to. I wanted to tell a story in the song, my lyrical content for this song is based on the idea that you have no clue about what people do during their day. I chose this idea as I find it interesting and it opened up many routes for me to go down when writing it. The title of the track is Clueless. Initially, I was going to have it as a trap beat with a rap instead of sung words however after writing the chords I found that I wanted it to be slower and have a haunting feel to it. My intentions for this song is for it to be a psychedelic song with modern influences from hip hop and its sub-genres bringing it into a modern age.
I used the chords the E natural minor scale, the verse chords are, A6, D6, Cmaj7, Am7, F#dim. I have used ‘Underwater Stage MK 1’ from Logic pro x, I cut out the high frequencies from this and added gain, I turned down the gain and turned up the bass, and chorus intensity to give it a fuller sound. whilst choosing these chords I had it on a four-bar loop to see how nicely the chord progression would lead into the next repetition of it, so I tried multiples combinations of first chords ( i.e. E#9, Dmaj7, Fmaj7), before settling on two half bar chords to smooth the transitions.
I then added a Pad (Fade Away – Mysterious), this gave the keys something to fill it out and to complement the ideas the lyrics are describing.
I then added a bass line which I recorded in live and mixed to sound as natural and fresh as it could. I made the drums from samples found online, they are simple, but exotic and the different sounds keep it gripping. I recorded in live guitar playing simple little melodies doing call and response with the vocals in the breakdown. I recorded the guitar with the effects already on it however when it came to mixing this made it difficult, so I re-recorded the guitar parts clean and added effects to it after. I tied it into current popular music by using fast hi-hats and adding an 808 in the chorus and the breakdown. Another thing that I chose to in the break down was cutting out the low frequencies on the melodic instruments other than the guitar, bass, and vocals, this gave the song another section. Finally, for the vocals, I used three-part harmonies throughout to give it a full captivating sound. I used two different types of reverb one was a “Metal Staircase” I used this in the chorus, and the other was “Churchroom” which I used throughout. I chose these two as the capture the high frequencies and dragged them out making it haunting and mysterious. I added delays but on the pre-chorus and the breakdown as the lyric as delivered in a punchy way, so the delay was effective without outing smeared. By adding parallel distortion on the low harmony, and adding very subtle chorus/flanging/phasing in parallel on the high harmony and melody it created a layered effect. When EQ the vocals I added ‘air’, by cutting out some low-mids, this allows the sound to be closed but still floaty. Through listening to older Psych song (Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles) and newer psych songs (Dirty Streets -Blades Of Grass) I have taken these influences and shown them in my track.