In an exercise to explore the possibilities of ProTools further, we were set a challange by Mike Wyeld to make a pop track. After listening to music all our lives… this should be easy… right?
The song we decided to cover is massively famous, a song that has evolved over time from Bo Diddley’s ‘She’s Fine, She’s Mine’ to Dawn Penn’s dance hall classic ‘No No No’. The version we settled on is a 60’s take, from a Girls in the Garage compilation, the song played by a band called Kim and Grim.
Beginning with the basics, we micked a drum kit to record individual hits of the kick drum, snare drum, and hi-hat, considering micking distance and where the sound is travelling from each drum. On ProTools we arranged the drum sequence, under the pattern of 4/4, also realising the song we were covering contained an extra half bar the verses:
1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 1 and 2 and 1 and 2 and 3 and 4
This rhythm took a while to grasp.
Under these recorded drums we added an extra layer with the soft synth drums to give them a dynamic boost! Frantic synths and layers of vocals were recorded in through the DI, with the help of some talented ladies, Nat and Chrysso. New aspects of learning included bussing (like a bus ride) multiple tracks to an Aux, where volume and effects can be controlled simultaneously.
As an extra addition Mike introduced us to using sends to apply effects such as decay and reverb which can change and pass through low or high filters over time.
Blur – ‘Girls and Boys’ – all pop is 4/4 time
Dave Brubeck – ‘Take Five’ – unusual 5/4 time
Prince – Back on the 1 beat
Celine Dion – ‘My Heart Will go On’ – automated reverb through a high pass filter