Recently Lya Ng 黄扬策's new music video "The Sea 海响" had been released and I was the producer of the song, and I found the releasing of the video as a good reason to talk a bit about the production process of this track.
This song was the first official collaboration between us and Lya. We had done some demos together for other artistes in the past but this song was the starter of putting Lya in front as the final vocalist and I must say I'm pretty happy we had made such a decision.
The whole idea of the song started with the strings! Initially I put some strings pad together and layered the same pad with some horns and again the same thing with some different horns and then another set of strings and this process was going on for a while! The pads are being played on a very soft leveling but there's a lot going on down there which gives that full yet not noisy feel to the song. I was making this Orchestra-like kind of feel but I wanted the song to be more laid towards the trip hop mood. Best thing to convert anything into trip hop? Shuffled, hard chopped, distorted drums loop!
So first I put down a simple rock drums loop, but with a lot of high ends, specifically open hats and cymbals. Because the idea was to destroy sound with super heavy compression and some distortion especially on the mid-range frequencies. Then I bounced the track and it was nice, noisy 8 bars loop. So I started chopping it with 1/8th measure of razor tool and replaced the pieces and bounced it again! Then added the heavy compression, some EQ and distortion and the rest is what it is in the song.
For the bass line, I preferred to have acoustic bass because of the horns and the strings it would be cool to enhance that acoustic mood. I used an actual bass guitar instead of MIDI tracking and again distortion! I routed my bass amp into a light scream distortion followed by a heavy low pass filtered EQ. It makes the bass sound crunchy yet nothing is going so crazy. And the bass melody is only a 16 bars loop for each verse and an 8 bars loop for the hook.
In my personal opinion, the best part of the production for this particular track is the was the transition between the verses to the hooks. I left a half bar gap in between of each verse into the hook. And one half bar before this gap everything expect the drums and vocals get pitch bend to lowest pitch. Then for that silent half bar, it I got a single note from bass line before it be trapped in any of the effects and simply reversed it. But with the snap off, I moved it a few milliseconds to forward so it would have a beautiful wobbly sound followed by a super short silence and then Hook which is the climax of the song comes in.
For the vocals, there's nothing crazy. It's just the vocals with the routine process and the backup vocals are the same thing, just one octave lower and heavily processed. Mainly the compression and the high pass EQ to remove all the boominess of the low ends.
Here is the song and I hope you'll enjoy it.