Project 3

Finally More Music – Sugar by Brockhampton

As I’ve been getting used to my job, I’ve also had the opportunity to spend time on parts of me that have been lost to law school. While I use the blog to channel these outlets, it’s been tough to find time for any hobbies or interests outside my scheduled projects. The one thing that law school took from me that hurt the most was music.

Before law school, I was constantly listening to music. My Spotify averaged 6 hours a day. I knew all the new releases, the underground hits, and was known as the girl who could make a mean playlist. It’s was a part of my identity.

But since being in school, I’ve found that I couldn’t listen to music while doing my readings (back when I was an engineer math and music went hand-in-hand). By the time I finished work, I was fried. No time for any enjoyment.

Slowly, I started losing track of what was coming out. When I did have a chance to listen to anything new, I felt out of the loop because I didn’t know the context behind the song’s release. Older favorites seemed tainted with memories of when my friends were around. Every song reminded me of the person I first showed it too. After a while, the fun was gone.

Starting work has given me that sense of fun back. I’m listening to music at my desk, so I can passively listen to music and make new memories with it. It’s become exciting again.

Listening to music made me want to make some myself. One song I’ve really enjoyed lately is Sugar by Brockhampton. I thought I could get the basic beat in the background – using the same steps as I explained in my covering songs post. Here’s what I came up with:

It’s not great. Currently, it’s not a real guitar, but I plan on recording myself playing the guitar part. I also tried to add a bass, but for some reason I’ve always had trouble with 808s.

I’m just excited I actually made some music. This song especially sound lackluster without the vocals, but the weekend is close, so maybe once I’m off work I can fix this beat a little bit. I’ve got some ideas for how to make the guitar part a little different. Who knows, maybe I’ll record vocals too?

Anyway, that’s all for now. What do you think? Are there any songs that have resonated with you lately?

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Project 3

Future Music and Current Pitfalls

Okay, I know it’s been a full month since I’ve given an update on Project 3, and while I wish I had an excuse I don’t.

Where we last left off was that I was looking to get new software to make music. I think I had cold feet because of the price of the program (RIP $200). That and really, how often will I make music after this project?

I feel like that’s been a constant battle with me for the past year or two – I want to produce better music, but I also am afraid of getting the program and not putting it to good use.

But I finally bit the bullet and got FL Studio this morning.

FL Studio is similar enough to my old software, LMMS, so I’ve learned to produce music watching FL Studio tutorials. For that reason, I thought it’d be pretty quick for me to get started. And while it was easy to create my percussion and add some chords, I hit a wall when it came to editing those sounds.

I can’t find effects I’m looking for. I’m not sure how to use VSTs. I can’t seem to chop sound waves. And just like that, I went from confident to oh no, I have to go through the process of learning how to use software all over again.

But look at how similar they look! On the left is my project file for Roxanne in LMMS, and on the right is my project file for Roxanne in FL Studio. (Okay, if you don’t know what you’re looking at, you’ve just got to trust me here.)

Anyway, because of these setbacks, my audio sounds even less like the song than my LMMS version did. I’ll have to read the user manual and watch lots of tutorials before I feel comfortable using the program.

But all hope is not lost! I think I might actually use both programs to build the album. Because of the simplicity of LMMS, I might use it to get all the basic pieces of a song in place: tempo, key, instruments, etc. Then once I’m comfortable, I’ll transfer it to FL Studio to make it sound good.

While I’ve been humble about my lack of effort on this project, it’s not like I’ve done entirely nothing. I’ve been keeping an ear to the ground on other songs I’d like to work on. Seeing as I probably will be working on them all concurrently, I came up with a list of songs I may attempt. Just to clarify, this isn’t the track list for the album, they’re just ideas:

  • Famous by Amir Obe: This song is fairly simple, but has really crispy snares. I know it’ll be much more difficult than I’d expect to get this to sound just right.
  • Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind: As a quasi-guitar player, this is a staple that I’ve been playing for years. On the guitar, I’ve really changed it up to make it my own and I’m confident I can do the vocals justice.
  • Truth Hurts by Lizzo: The beat is incredibly simple and the vocals are fun. I think I might try to reinvent the beat a little bit and give it a creative spin.
  • Small Worlds by Mac Miller: This will be such a pain to recreate, but I love, love, love this song. John Mayer has a really interesting cover of this song and I’d like to try this as an ultimate boss-level challenge.
  • Alien Boy by Oliver Tree: This is another favorite to play on guitar and it’s right in my range making it a fun one to reenvision.
  • Gracefully Facedown by The Devil Makes Three: Okay, so maybe I won’t recreate this song (although I can hear how I’d do it in my head), but I do want to reimagine a bluegrass song because why not?
  • Alkaline by Kota the Friend: I’m very confident in my ability to recreate this song. Plus, I love the vibe of this song: somewhere between a water level in Super Mario and a good old fashioned smoking song.
  • Call Me by Blondie: My voice caters well to this song, it’ll be fun to recreate some classic rock – plus I want to try some Billie Eilish elements to make it a little darker.
  • Hot Stuff by Donna Summer: C’mon, wouldn’t it be fun to do a disco cover?
  • Pineapple by Karol G: Reggaton is a huge part of who I am musically, so it’d be a misrepresentation of me not to include a little Spanish flare in the album. I’ve tried recreating this song before with a little bit of success, so I do think it’s possible.

I’ve always been across the board when it comes to the music I listen to and I want my album to reflect that. I don’t think digital music production has to be solely confined to hip-hop/rap/EDM. I’d like to give it my own spin no matter how difficult the road ahead might be.