I’ve been building up a collection of songs on my phone for a couple months now and I finally had one of my songs stand out enough to begin pre-production in Pro Tools.
I start the process by importing one of the scratch recordings from my phone to help determine the tempo of the song. For this one, I ended up slowing the tempo down a bit from the original recording to 145bpm so that the chorus would have a little more room to breathe. My next step is usually transferring the root notes of the melody into midi notes. This can make it easier to lay out a simple song structure that is easy to change when needed. This song has a pretty standard pop structure that consists of: [intro][chorus][verse][chorus][bridge][chorus][chorus].
After mapping out the main melody and song structure, I moved on to mapping the foundations for drums. I didn’t spend too much time with them because I’d like to send this song out to a few drummers who might be interested in collaborating.
Next comes my favorite part, vocal melodies. I find it much easier to concentrate on vocals once everything else is mapped out. I can create a new vocal track with a little bit of compression and reverb to taste, and just play the song from the beginning letting out whatever mess of an idea that comes to mind. After listening back to a few vocal takes I’ll delete sections that are duds and keep sections that either have a nice melody or good lyrical content. I ended up making some small changes to the original chorus that was recorded on my phone, and kept most of the ad-libbed lyrics from the recorded track. After rewriting a few words here and there I’ll usually go back through and re-record the changes that seem to fit. This makes keeping up with new ideas much easier.
That’s really what encompasses my writing process. Create, record, review, tweak, and repeat. Sometimes an entire song will come out with very minimal effort, and other times I’ll spend most of my time tweaking sub par ideas. It’s almost never the same exact route for each song, but the more songs I write the easier it is to send it through this critiquing process.
There’s still a lot of work to do, but I look forward to polishing this song up so that I can share it with you!