Kim Lajoie's blog

Workflow example: Dance music and vocals

by Kim Lajoie on March 21, 2012

Satoshi Tomiie:

When I work with a vocalist, I tend to provide the basic rhythm and melody of a song so they have something to build on. However it’s important not to overdo the production beforehand, so as to leave enough space for the songwriter to come up with ideas.

It’s always interesting to read about how other producers approach workflow. For me, a song usually starts by working with the songwriter and recording a demo (just vocals and one instrument – usually piano or guitar). Satoshi seems to work on the skeleton of the track on his own before giving it to the songwriter to write lyrics and melody for it. It’s an approach that makes a lot of sense for dance music because the sound character and groove are so integral to the identity of the song. I’d imagine that a lot of heavy metal songs start life as guitar riffs. And a lot of pop songs start life as a clever lyric. Whatever element captures the essence of your song, start with that and build the rest of your track around it.

What do you usually start your tracks with?

(Also, someone should tell Satoshi about Dynamic Range Day)

-Kim.

3 thoughts on “Workflow example: Dance music and vocals

  1. christopher says:

    I write both in pop and classical formats, and my tracks always start with a melody on the piano. It’s always the first thing in my head or the first thing from my fingers. Even if I start with a bunch of chords, there’s always a melody in the right hand accompaniment or in my head.

    I usually know from the start if the song will be a vocal piece or an instrumental. If it’s a vocal, I’ll sometimes record the melody using a flute sound from a Mellotron sample. I just like the way it sounds, and it helps me visual a voice for the music when I’m still working on lyrics.

  2. Kim Lajoie says:

    That probably reflects your own music preference. Do you find yourself listening to and noticing melodies in the music you hear? If this is what you listen for, it’s no surprise if it’s how you start your own compositions.

    I like the idea of using a Mellotron flute as a placeholder for a vocal melody. I’ve never been satisfied with pianos, synths, sampled voices, etc – they always sound too conspicuous. I think I’ll try the Mellotron flute for one of my projects next month.

    -Kim.

  3. Angela Johnson says:

    I have only ever made 2 songs in my life and with both of them I started by writing lyrics first

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