I spent about five hours yesterday battling a hippy-happy-house track. The track wasn’t the problem, it was the lyrics. Happy lyrics, as you may know, don’t often come naturally to me. After a short procrastination break at the neighbors I came back and worked for another 30 minutes before saving the project into the “sketches” folder and starting a new one.
I thought this pivot, as they so often are, would end up being an ambient or lo-fi melodic instrumental track, but look what happened…
- Get Out of the Way Ray Toler 3:08
The opening motif gave me one of those moments where the whole thing snapped into focus in my head. Then it was a race to capture it before I lost it. I didn’t know what shape, if any, the vocals would take, but I was at least a bit more inspired for the underlying track.
I found the two primary drum loops fairly quickly, and then it was just jamming along until I found the hook. Once all that was in place I started “rapping” nonsense and found the starting thread, which resulted in the rest of the lyrics being finished in about twenty minutes. I’m not entirely happy with the lines or the vocal performance, but I’m not a rapper and have never really developed a personal style. The effects on my voice are a throwback to when I used to drench my voice in reverb and delay because I wasn’t confident in what I was doing. In this case, the effects kind of grew on me while I was mixing.
And here’s where things really went off the rails. I sat down to start the final mix around 8:30 AM. I use a pair JBL LSR-4328Ps as my studio monitors. I think I paid somewhere around $1,500 for the pair back in 2015. That was a major purchase (obviously), but it was the first time I’d gotten “serious” monitors in the studio and they made a huge difference.
But at 8:31 AM, when I turned these lovely things on, the right one threw a tantrum. Lights blinking, a couple of clicks and buzzes, and then… nothing but a couple of angrily flashing LEDs. The reset procedure was unsuccessful, and a call to JBL tech support resulted in me scheduling a repair job, but the shop won’t be able to get to it for 4-6 weeks.
So I ended up buying some new monitors today, and they’ll be here next week. In the meantime, I had to mix this track using either only the right speaker in mono, or in headphones. Neither is an optimal choice. It seems that the universe is intent on me only hearing things on the left side, but that sordid tale is one for another day.
Good Enough? Good Enough.
As with yesterday’s track, this style is one that I could spend an entire week editing and mixing. I keep hearing little things I want to fix, add, or change entirely. I also had to re-learn how to sidechain a multiband EQ/compressor to let the 808 sub kick pop through the beats… I don’t think I got it right, especially since I couldn’t really hear what was going on very well, but it ended up being good enough for now.
It remains to be seen how I feel about this track in the future. I’ve already had the hot and cold of loving it, hating it, and being just OK with it. It bumped in the car pretty well, though, and I’ve gotten a couple of positive comments.
Don’t care 'bout nothing 'cause there’s nothing to lose Don’t bother trying 'cause there’s nothing to prove Gut full of rage and I got more in the tank Can’t remember? Must be something you drank Don’t care nothing about what others think You got a problem go and talk to your shrink Bars keeping you from seeing what’s true I’ve forgotten more than you ever knew Bunch of kids trying to nip at my heels Cannot cope cause they got nothing but feels Bunch of hippies who won’t leave the stage Cannot admit it’s time to turn the page Don’t call me, I got nothing to say Don’t call me if you ain’t gonna pay I’m laughing when you’re gaslighting me Kiss my ass, I got somewhere to be Get out of the way Copyright © Ray E. Toler, Jr. All rights reserved.
Instruments & Samples
Falcon, Omnisphere, Hive2, Phobos, Symphonic Destruction
Mixing & Mastering
H3000 & Dual Harmonizer, PSA 1000 Jr, Gullfoss, FabFilter Pro-MB, Pro-C 2, Pro-L 2, Pro-Q