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4 Fool-Proof Ways to Produce Music That’s Interesting and Cool

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.

Unrelated Instruments

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.

Backing vocals

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

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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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  • Joseexist

    This opened a little floodgate of ideas. Thanks!

  • Zachars

    Very nice pieces of info. My next mix session is already flowing with ideas. Thanks!

  • Glen Stephan

    Some very good ideas here. I would add that a more interesting mix is 50% what one may (or may not) add in the way of interesting tracks, and 50% how those extra tracks are mixed to create maximum interest with minimum clutter. This requires, IMHO, attention to three interrelated areas of detail;

    1) Does the mix support the arrangement? In some ways, a good mix is really a continuation of the musical arrangement into the control room, and the addition of more instrument or vocal tracks should be done in a way that at least supports or emphasizes that arrangement, and not just layed over it.with little regard other than to add more sound.

    2) Is there enough “room” in the current mix for the new sounds? Just because a mix lacks interest doesn’t automatically mean it’s lacking sound. I’ve had plenty of mixes come to my desk that fill the sonic canvas fully – they are packed dense with instrumentation and vocals  – but just plain sound flat and uninteresting. In such cases, sometimes *removing* tracks – in full or often in part – will actually make the mix more interesting. Or, at the least it will create enough “space” in the mix to be able to fit in the new accents without muddying things up.

    3) Actively ride those faders or use your fader automation tracks generously to subtly emphasize those fills, riffs, accents or musical phrases that sound the most interesting or musicly virtuous. Don’t just lay that rhythm/accent guitar (just for one example) in the mix at a flat level all the way through; when that rhythm guitarist happens to hit a little arpeggiated fill or minor- to-major chord mini-riff that sounds particularly cool, bump that track by 1.5-2 dB or so just for that one point of interest while simultaneously dropping the rest of the mix by a dB or two (total) for that same period. When done right, the overall end result is a mix that does not change apparent volume or focus, but results in the more “interesting” parts of each track becoming more audible.

    IMHO and all that,

    Glen S.

    • Thanks for the comment Glen! You’re absolutely right on all accounts, and I particularly like the “removing tracks” approach, and I should have added that to the article. Just listen to the break after the solo in Money by Pink Floyd where all the reverb and everything dies down and we’re left with a very sparse arrangement until the band comes back full swing. That’s a genius way of removing tracks to create interest.

      I wanted to e-mail you but your e-mail address bounces? Anywhere I could contact you?

      Thanks for all the great comments!

  • Glen Stephan


    I’m not sure why your e-mail attempt bounced. I did receive an e-mail from you, and replied to it. If there was another e-mail that did not get through, you can send it to the same address as the one to which I replied, or you can just send it as a reply to my reply :).


  • Norbert Olszewski

    One from me. I for some reason love when some instruments ‘come back’ in the song in the same place of spectrum. For instance a quiet acoustoc guitar which only pops in for a few seconds during the first verse and then comes back later, for instance under guitar solo or at the end.