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Bad to Better

Current Status: Structure Complete – Out for feedback

About the track:

Dreams of Lasers (DOL) and I have been working on this track for a while now. As far as I can tell, we started talking about this track around August 13’th in discord. I was still in the processing phases of The Reason I’m Here at that point in time and didnt really dive in right away.

For this project we went into it with the intention of DOL being the DAW runner, which would invert our roles from The Reason I’m Here.

We started out with about a 1:36 length demo created by DOL, I was supposed to work on a hook and some bass lines.

The verse, the chorus, the way they transition, and the vocal melodies were all excellent and in place. I worked on some electric bass line ideas, some which had the original arpeggiated synth bass, and one that was electric bass only. I much preferred the one with the synth.

I did a vocal hook concept that didnt make it to the final cut. It just wasnt quite right for the track. It was just me sounding kind of like a sheep going ‘Baaad baaad baaad baaad to better’ (haha)

Later that day…..

Over the next few days:

I’m still promoting and working on feedback on The Reason I’m Here during this project, it takes over for a few days. Its hard for me to do 2 things at once, I tend to go all in and move very quickly in a hyper focused way. I did eventually settle with everything I wanted to do for this stage of promoting it and started to get to point my attention back at Bad to Better.

I get back to this on the 22nd. And try doing vocals in different styles – high energy and loud, soft and sweet, and something kind of in between. I’m trying to figure out how I should sound in the mix and in the context of the song.

Things kind of stalled out a bit here, we were still discussing the track, what the lyrics should do, what to put where etc fairly regularly.

This is when the structure really started to take shape and is the basis of the final track.

All through this phase, I am getting a bounce of each layer from DOL as wav files. I drop those into reason, do my parts over it, export those and give them back to work them into the master.

DOL is still new to recording with a DAW and how to use all of its features. I’m doing my best to try to give him some pointers with screenshots and examples. I get him a few layers of bass parts, vocal takes,

My vocals came in pretty late in the track in the early versions, some backing layers were worked into the first verse
.

I also did some early layers of expanding on the drums and synths. I had roughly only 1/3 of the track started at that point.

The track was starting to take real form at this point. We were both digging the direction, yeah the parts weren’t quite there yet but the idea was fully formulated for what my parts should be
.

Right around this point I went on a 1 week family vacation to the fingerlakes

Spent a week doing things around this lake, riding a bike, fishing, you know… lake like things.


I get back and make Butter Up the Sub in only about 2 days right after getting home from vacation. It was a good relief track for me. I just got to get a little silly and make something I was feeling. At this point I feel really ready to take on Bad to Better at full capacity.

At this point , a lot happens really fast. DOL decides its probably better to pass DAW runner duty to me for the sake of getting it out faster. The main goal was to have DOL get more familiar with the DAW and learn some new things about production. I think that was still achieved despite having me take it from this point.

I fully build out the synths and drums, and do a few extra bass and vocal takes for various sections of the track and start working on the mix.

A few days later we have something we are proud to post. It came out so good im really happy with it. There are still some changes coming, including updates to the last 1/3 of the song which is where the most attention needs to go right now.

Production Stuff

YES! DOL plays the banjo on this one! And recorded all of the banjo parts with this banjo here.
DOL’s mic set up and processing is part of the unique vocal sound. He records with 2 microphones on, one is clean, one is run through a vocoder, its a really cool sound that has a calmness to it.
I played by Ibanez Soundgear (SDGR) 6 string bass on this track.
There ended up build a lot of layers in this. The core of the track is still the original song from early in the process, there’s just a lot more going on all around it. I color coded things by categories of what they are doing, drums, bass, vocals, sound effects, and high bloopy things. Dont ask about the farty bass.

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