What Eurovision Can Teach You About Music Production

eurovision-production-tips

Chances are, if you’re from the United States, you have no idea what I’m talking about.

If you are from Europe, you’re probably cringing at the thought of Eurovision.

Eurovision was a little over a week ago and pits all European countries against each other in a song competition. The results are varied, weird and sometimes pretty embarrassing.

But bear with me. There’s a lot you can learn about production by analyzing the European Song Contest.

Techno!

Electronic music in some form or the other rises in popularity every year. It’s come to the point that even the folkiest of songs has a techno beat of some sort.

Many European countries were born with techno in their bloods, but a well executed electronic foundation underneath a catchy melody can’t be beat.

It’s definitely something to try out in your productions. If something isn’t working, how about throwing some electronica in there?

Contrast

Just like in songwriting in general, contrast works in a production. Like putting electronic beats on top of folk songs or adding unusual instruments to the arrangement, it’s all about creating contrast.

Many of the European countries use this to great effect. They use their native instruments in a typical pop song arrangement to create contrast and interest.

Build-ups

An enormous amount of these songs follow the build-up formula of starting softly with a constant build-up until the chorus punches through.

It’s the age-old trick of soft/loud that shouldn’t be shunned because it can work so well. The techno beats increase in volume or complexity that really bridge the gap between the slow and quiet verse and the pounding techno chorus.

Catchy Hooks

Songs in Eurovision die an embarrassing death if they don’t have a catchy hook or a melody.

Even if you do all the other things really well, if no one remembers those hooks by the time Europe calls in their votes, you’re doomed.

Music Production the Eurovision Way

This year, Sweden won Eurovision with “Euphora.” It has everything that I talked about above: Swedish techno(which may or may not be a good thing), a soft/loud contrast between the verse and the chorus, a soft verse that builds up into the chorus quite effectively and then again during the bridge, and finally that ridiculously catchy “up, up, up…” hook that has every club dancer screaming in sync with the music.

Finally, pop music changes with the times and you really never know what’s going to be popular. Swedish techno-babes can win one year, but back in 2006 monster-metal rock gods from Finland took the title.

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Image by: escaustria.at