Sometimes you’ll produce music that’s simply uninspiring. If you’ve got your music production down but you feel like it’s lacking interest, what do you do?
There are a few simple ways you can spice up a mix and make it more interesting.
An added percussion track in the chorus helps lift it up. I’m now talking about changing the drum beat – which the drummer should have done anyway – but adding an extra layer of percussion.
Add a tambourine track over the chorus, or insert various shaker patterns throughout the song to create a fluid rhythm track. This works exceptionally well when most of your rhythm tracks are beats and drum loops. Adding that layer of a human percussion performance helps humanize an otherwise robotic rhythm track.
You don’t always have to add a lead instrument to create interest in your mixes. Adding a supporting instrument like an organ track underneath everything helps give the song a thicker foundation, and sometimes a very cool vibe. Imagine how empty many of Pink Floyd’s songs would sound if they didn’t have that thick layer of padded organs providing the harmonic content for Dave Gilmour’s solo.
A pad is a really important production tool to create a more interesting mix. Call your keyboard player next time you feel like your solos and melodies need more soulfulness to them. Those underlying chords supplied by the organ pads can really help make your mix more interesting.
Think outside the box. Swap out the predictable guitar solo for a muted trumpet or a saxophone. Done right, it will sound cool and unpredictable at the same time. If you catch the listener off guard but still keep them interested, you’ve succeeded.
Every melody is enhanced with a simple harmony. It’s so simple to use, and it works every time. A doubled harmony backing up the main melody is the easiest and most effective way to create more interest for your vocals.
It doesn’t have to be a difficult harmony, and it doesn’t have to be constant either. Accenting a vocal phrase here and there goes a long way towards creating an interesting vocal production.
Next time you produce music that just doesn’t sound cool enough, think about these four things. Add some percussion, swap out the standard instruments for something more interesting and use backing vocals and pads to create a cooler harmonic structure.
These ideas are simple and easy to use, and can help a droll mix become cooler.
Image by: Ivan Zuber