!llmind - From raw vocal to killer track in ONE HOUR.Feb 27, 2020
Legendary producer Ill Mind has worked with huge artists like Jay-Z and Beyonce and on massive projects like the Marana and Black Panther sound
tracks, but he still works tirelessly with up-and-coming artists and producers and finds time to do his show of blab kits. packs up and has its own app when aligned invited us into his home studio in New York around the same time we were filming the AES convention we decided to do something a little different I wrote an a cappella voice in about 50 minutes at the hotel and recorded it on the same room using a cheap dynamics mic, so it's not very clean, but I think you'll agree that in the hands of a world-class producer it makes a record.
I hope you enjoy it and thank you very much for watching. my name is enfermo mio I am a music producer and we are in my home studio in Brooklyn, New York. I've been doing this for a while now for 15 years. I would say as a full time music producer I worked with a lot of people man over the years Drake seized Kendrick Lamar jay-z Beyonce Mamata Disney you know Hamilton with lin-manuel just one of my first Grammys last year was jay-z and Beyonce and I'm happy to hear that wise keep it very simple very direct when I'm working on Pro Tools I'm printing my MIDI to audio almost immediately and I started doing it for various reasons the first reason is because I hate MIDI ok you know what it is very fickle, especially in Pro The tools you know Pro Tools aren't really known for having great MIDI in my opinion, but I've just gotten into the habit of just printing to audio and I also love the freedom you have in Pro Tools to manipulate audio with the you know, elastic audio and bending and stretching and raising and lowering things that you can't really do with MIDI and you know I print audio immediately and then that gives me the creative freedom to manipulate the audio even more and today I'm going to create a song from scratch using acapella you know it's something I used to do all the time quite often you know taking an acapella
vocalidea and building a whole song off of it is one of my favorite things to do so I'm going to skip to that today and hopefully make a good song great so basically what I'm going to do today is build a
trackfrom scratch using this acapella song from the amazing Hardings Mall and we're going to see if we can get creative with this, this song right now is in a c sharp major i think and it's 70bpm so the first thing i'm going to do is open up pro tools i actually have a template going right now so i'm going to open up pro tools to build the track now most producers don't do beats and Pro Tools but I'm getting used to building full tracks in Pro Tools so that's ok I have Pro Tools open here we have the acapella set. at 70bpm.
I'm just going to tag this a cappella and we're going to listen to it. Keep going but don't stop. Shall we continue? We both got ahead. Oh, endure another year's hard journey. We were never going to go through a red light. This is a great track so the
vocals are pretty dry right now. I'll leave them dry for now. I'll come back to the vocals later and tweak them, but I think the first thing I want to try to do is build a nice chord progression around the vocal just to give this thing a feel, so I'll open up a simple piano patch, there's a contact patch that i love to use it's not really a patch called key scape really awesome piano patch here and just a bunch of different sounds but i'm going to be pretty basic and just open up a regular piano so we can think about some chords and then I'll go back and change the sound so in terms of chord progressions I like to use this plugin called Cthulhu which I'm sure some of you are familiar with it's kind of a cheat code where you press a key and it will trigger a chord so for someone like me you know I can play piano but I'm not super super crazy with chords and keys so I like to use Cthulhu because it will save me a lot of time and it also opens you know the ability to find chords you wouldn't normally play from memory, so let's see if we can get any sounds.
We have a piano here. We open up Cthulhu and we're going to go to a C minor progression. God I love it because it was Cthulhu it's such a crazy cheat code guys it's ridiculous if you don't know how to play or if you know how to play and you just want to open your palette your audio palette so you can show up. With chords you wouldn't normally think of with Cthulhu It's a way to go It's really really going Will we keep pushing until we both don't stop Will we keep going if we both go through another rough year?
Let's not stop, we will continue, but let's hold on, we both get ahead. Through other years, okay, so let's take this MIDI. I'm going to quantize, hey, maybe adjust the speed so it's not so harsh and then I'd go ahead and try to find a good sound for this. I don't think a piano is the right sound for this, so let me just go over some sounds and hold, but don't stop, will we keep pushing until we both drop? We overcome all the difficult moments, let's resist, another is hard, yes, we continue. but don't stop, will we keep pushing du Liban? stop i can't do all the hard times hold on for another years keep going good keep going but don't stop it will be carried away yeah i like the vintage feel of this. could go that way so let me just copy and paste this and then see how this chord progression sounds in this second section that's great ok don't stop this old piano sounds like it could be a part of verse so I'm going to print the piano to an audio track, that's what I like to do is print to audio immediately so I can start manipulating that, so I'm literally going to turn the piano into an audio track and record it. let's go plus one two here we go keep but don't stop let's go on person du Liban stop do all the hard times go down through another okay okay cool so let me cut this audio to make sure it's aligned zoom in really here and it's like it's surgery it's almost going in there and adjusting every single point that could be great to reduce this lemme see how that sounds don't stop do we continue for another few years?
Alright, alright, keep going but don't stop, do we keep on banging? Do I like a lower tone? That's cool, so I want to layer this with more instruments, probably keep the same chords with a different instrument, so let me go over a few of those, but until we can play electric piano like a little Fender Rhodes, see how that sounds, But don't stop, shall we continue? Should we take? Yeah, that's great. I like it so once again I'm going to record that booty onto a new audio track so I'll keep layering different ideas here and then after it shows up. with a nice loop i'm going to start visualizing this song here i see it as more vocals but for now i'm just going to keep layering this play some drums some more sounds let me start playing around with some drums on this there's a million things you can do with the drums on this type of track, but I think I'm going to keep it simple.
I'm a big fan of keeping things simple and not too complicated especially with this with a song like this the chords are like a no brainer you know these chords are already great and the vocals sound good too so I don't think I have to do a lot so i have this drum template here which i love to use for my drum kit drum three is a bit old school but i love it so right now i'm just auditioning sounds looking for different kicks, snares , claps, tall hats and stuff to wear so i'm just loading different sounds into the queue and then i'll start programming a pattern continue through another keep but don't stop should we keep going but until we both get another year good keep going , continue, so I'm going to turn down the volume on the pianos? and the acapella so if you notice my master fader right now everything is a little high I'm going to leave some Headroom in there to let the drums shine through a little bit so I'm going to turn the acapella down pretty significantly and then the pianos are going to go down to four.
I'm going to reduce everything to dB so my drums can shine a bit without going too red. Probably one more DB in everything. drum patterns still build nicely so let's quantize quantization is my best friend. I love quantizing. Alright, alright, pocket. I'm going to see one of my favorite shows. I'm battery three. hi-hat here we're just going to set the read trigger and you can select the type of note repeat you want on the hi-hat so that's a cool little feature that you can do in a lot of different DAWs but it's really easy with stacks so I love that it's cool to quantize again looking for an open hi-hat okay sort of we're getting somewhere here okay so my next step is to output one two on an audio track and I'm literally going to print each of these separately, it's like an old school way of doing it, but I've been doing it this way for so long that I'm so used to it and I love it. it just gives me the feeling that i'm working on two inch tape if that makes sense so i'm literally individually tracking each instrument one by one through an audio bus ok each of these sounds individually so For most of the tracks I work on I like to have all the instruments here first except the kick drum and I usually program my bass before I program my kicks so that's why you don't hear any kicks, see here. however, I think I'm going to try to play with some bass here and see if we can get another rhythm, although my pH is going to go down. something so i wanna hit it at some point this part sounds like a post hook but it could be cool if the beat drops like right after this section let me copy this and paste it into the other sections see how does this sound in there so i'm going to start tagging this so this is like an intro this is a post this could be a drum beat verse before the hook I will name this time.
Sometimes I'll label it by lyrics and that will help you visualize this structure well, so let's work on this little drop-off part which is where the kick should come in, so let's dry it out, find some kicks, print those kicks, i think this section should be it should feel bigger it could be cool too dont want to try to mess around with this little part maybe though some effects in there and try that in this beat draw part it could be cool so let's see ok then just let's tag box verb stick some heavy reverb in this is an awesome reverb put a little decay here before this part in between whoops whoops whoops whoops!
I'm going to do, do you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to make some changes to this part. It's funny because it's like such a pop track, but I'm turning it into kind of a hardcore, urban hybrid track. which is cool, but you know that well. I'm trying to turn you into something different. You know, make it slow to cut this. let me put it down See how it sounds. There is a plugin I like to use called just plugin. -in em transformer to go up and down i think this snare needs an extra instrument when we play with something maybe like a flute or something so let me open up there is a cool plugin i like to use in touch called passion flute which it is like a kind of sleeping instrument.
I haven't really seen many people use it, but I think it's one of the best flute plugins on the market, so I think we need a more difficult instrument, so let me leave it. i go to the obvious fear the infamous ominous fear that everyone loves the surprise prize i use it i also print it in an audio section in a chase it's lined up it could be great if these voices were changed into twos and fours as far as how that sounds no go away lemme sidechain this if that sounds good i want to hype this up oh yeah we gotta put that drop in there i guess that's cool ok so i'll take all this and i'm going to copy and paste it into this part using the shuffle shuffle here we go i feel like this is like the end of the song so let's see how it sounds when we combine all the music to end the song could be a cool section to lead into this final checkout so maybe we should get some of the instruments out that could be a cool store again maybe you can cut and bolt that too copy that's pretty fire so copy paste do that again which for this part is fine too so there's a few more things I want to do with this and then I think it's more or less we've got a nice feeling on this track so I think we're almost done so keep going so I I'm just gonna break this acapella through some reverb and a little bit of delay and then I'm gonna bust it all out to a box bus young master carry on keep it nailed to the floor through the carry-on deep into the carry-on sounds sounds pretty alright alright just let me see if I can tune this up a bit continue so I'm going to duplicate this screwcut that has to go through the same vocal chain so I'm just going to double these over the auto tune compressor EQ let's put the same effects in there too and we should be good to continue on that key so let me hear this keep to Richard pianos no stars stay for another years so there's that part where he says oh this is my favorite water it's clean so I like it on this here we go I'm going to replace those two that one there this one here and then maybe put a little side to nothing we finished i think its ok last but not least we gotta throw in the infamous sick mind vocal drop here will be mine put the loop on a shout out to me little brother friend Fonte for providing me with the drop to the pill, I put the loop on and then my other signature sound, the eagle goes on, don't stop, shall we continue? but until we both let it hang on for another years alright alright do a little fade alright so now that this track is pretty much done I'm just going to drop one track master to master I like t-rex t-rex one is my favorite me i'm just going to release it as a complete basic compare a mastering plugin on it its a balance everything and we should be ready to move on this track is done yeah i mean it came out better than i thought it would honestly but uh yeah process again its pretty simple again.
I love using Pro Tools because it allows me to build a song inside the dog without having to jump around like a different dog. have the freedom of markers and output and print audio and handle audio and as you can see I don't have any MIDI tracks in the final version you know I like to just print to audio and get rid of my MIDI and be able to have that freedom to manipulate the audio so yeah man I like this I like this track dude it's kind of hit it's got a little bit of a hit feeling like the man track might blow up we'll see the song. we just made love it's still stuck in my head when i heard acapella i knew it had so much potential because it was so pocket friendly and there were acapella sections i could play with so it was not just like a linear song it had a pre verse -hooked on a chorus so I had a lot of fun man those are my favorite types of songs to work on because it allows me to be creative with the sequencing and chord progressions and the whole feel so yeah man I like it , hope you guys like it too and yea man yell to play on sound man this was super fun that's for now if you like what you saw be sure to LIKE share and subscribe and click in the bell to find out when we upload new movies, be sure to check out Sam at Sound Calm and also our Instagram page, thanks for watching.
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