Last week I was contacted by Scott Hawksworth, the founder of audioskills.com, to participate in a series of articles titled "121 Music Production Tips", "Recommended music production plugins", "Synthesis and sound design tips" and "Drum programming tips and beat making tips".
For those of you who don't feel like going through everything in these articles here's a summary of everything I contributed:
Q: What’s your best tip or technique for arrangement?
A: Simplify the process. Start with the melody and chords (lets say vocals and guitar) and build the arrangement from there. As you add new harmonies try adding them 1-2 notes at a time to make sure that each new harmony (or note) fits on top of the basic chords you already have. Make sure that your arrangement covers the whole spectrum (lows, mids and highs) and try not to have different instruments overlapping on the same octave, each element should play on its own range.
Q: What’s your best tip or technique for programming drums or making a beat?
A: Tune your kick and toms so that they fit the key of the song and make set the amount of decay on your kick so that it works better with your bass, a shorter decay would be the safer way to go in this case.
Q: Any other music production tips or advice?
A: Stay inspired, keep listening to music recreationally and go to see movies so that you can really experience the soundtrack of the film. Don’t get to the point that you are only listening to music while working.
Q: What’s your favorite plugin for music production right now? And why do you love it?
A: Waves GTR pedal stomps. A great sound design tool that enables you to simply create unconventional sounds by chaining together different effects and pushing them to their limit. Its also my go to delay and spring reverb because the controls are very limited which enables me to get the right setting within seconds.
Q: What’s your best tip or technique for synthesis/sound design?
A: Get yourself an analog synth that doesn’t use any presets (something like a Korg ms20 mini). This will force you to start from scratch every time you use it and will ensure you have a better understanding of synthesis after some time