Have you ever felt like your music needs that extra 10% of just something you can't discover? There are many different ways to make your music more interesting. Today I want to talk about adding ear candy and building tension. I think that it is important to talk about everything. From vocals to the smallest elements in your mix. So let's get started...
Table of Contents:
1 - Get Creative
Can't find a good sweep? To be honest, it can be hard to find a good fitting and unique sweep-up.
Why don't you create one?
Just use the main element of your song, put a lot of reverb on it, like really a lot, export it and finally reverse it. Now you do not just have a fitting sound and transition effect, you even created something completely unique.
If you think it needs some more body, you can try to add more crisp with some distortion or by combining it with other samples.
Try to create some more unique transitions to build tension and be outstanding. Another element you can use for transitions are sub drops. You can get them out of sample packs or create one on your own. They are great because they got this heavy ending feeling. I can recommend using them after the drop, but this depends on the genre.
2 - Vocals
Let's talk about vocals a bit more. We all know that you can do a lot of things with vocals to create an atmosphere. You can automate your delay on vocals to create a fill space before a beat drops or just to create a bigger atmosphere. Get creative with those call and response effects by adding a different pitch for example.
Also, if you have harmonies from the vocalist you can use them to pronounce different words harder and bring them more in the foreground. Panning is another great method to create ear candy while using vocals. You can use panned delays creatively or use panning for a whispering effect. Also, you can add saturation to layered vocal stacks to make some words more prominent.
Another way to add ear candy is a vocoder effect. This is also great to build tension by automating the level for example. As you can see there are a lot of tricks to make your vocal more outstanding and interesting just play around with your tools. Oh, and don't be scared that you do something wrong. There is no wrong or right when it sounds good!
3 - Percussion
Do you notice these tiny extra shakers or blop sounds in a lot of songs? They may sound small and you could think that they aren't important.
But they are!
They create rhythm and show the listener where to go. The great thing is that you can add to create a more full and interesting sound. For example in the second part of a drop. Percussions are small enough that they don't destroy other elements but they are powerful enough to support the whole drum set for an even bigger feel.
Try to create rhythm with them. Again, you can pan them but you don't want to add too many effects since they create that hard supporting drum feeling. Don't wash them out with too much reverb!
When talking about the second part of the drop, you can use percussion for layering. Layer your snare or your hi-hats for example.
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