Note: This post was written in 2022 and backdated to appear on the date the song was recorded.

Every now and then, one of the Song-A-Day participants will issue a challenge to everyone. It might be a specific genre, key, topic, what-have-you. I wasn’t aware of this until the eighth (I think) when fellow participant, Junie, challenged everyone to write something based on “The Lick.”

What is “The Lick” you ask? It’s probably easiest if you just watch the following video. You’ll get the point in just a few seconds, but there are a couple of interesting surprises at the very end.

While I had certainly heard The Lick many times in my life, I didn’t know it was a “thing.” Actually, I’m not entirely sure some of the musicians in that video knew it was a thing – it’s just a really common… er… lick.

Up to this point, I’d really been focusing on trying to write songs with lyrics, so the challenge was a bit of a relief. Having a purpose for a piece of music often speeds things up because you have to fit the parameters of the purpose. While this was a fairly broad challenge, it still gave me a constraint to hold onto while figuring out what else to do.

I plunked around with various sounds and, while I don’t have specific memories of the composition session, it was probably the lead sound that sent me off into pseudo-trance/EDM land. Playing The Lick on that sound certainly had the feel of a big trance anthem type production, so I went with that.

Looking at the project file, things are pretty simple. There are only two drum loops, and one doesn’t come in until the end. Similarly, there are only five synth parts in total, generally with only two or three playing at any given time.

  1. Olizovat (How Many Licks Mix) Ray Toler 2:47

Looking at the time stamps on the file, I worked pretty quickly on this one. I do remember spending what I thought was a long time trying to get the balance and arrangement right, and being pretty happy with it, but also knowing that I could have done a lot better. There were some far superior answers to the mini-challenge posted that day, but I wasn’t embarrassed by mine.

This track is a great example of a good practice challenge. It’s not overly important what the final mix sounds like – in this case the journey to the mix is the point of it all. My EDM take on The Lick is adequate, but it was researching it, coming up with an idea for it, and producing it all that was beneficial.


  • Drums: Stylus RMX
  • Synths: Omnisphere

1 thought on “Olizovat”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.