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VX1 Session: Fired Up

Full Walkthrough Video

The Process

This song started as a duet; I always knew it was going to be one. Jane (SURRIJA) is amaaaazing and I was super lucky she let me feature her on this track. She also had a self-titled album come out earlier in the year, and it's crazy cool and electronic and experimental:

Fired Up also really started as an electronic song, and came really quickly to end up in v1.07. Shifting it to acappella was... a challenge. You can kind of tell from the abomination that is v1.08. I did eventually start getting pads to work in v1.10, but the tempo was a huge problem; it was too slow and made the bridge feel dead. Things started to come together around v1.12, and super started to come together once we got Jane got on the track!

Of all the songs, I wanted this one to feel the most "live". I also had a kind of progression of energy that drove the writing of this song. I wanted to feel a story around the excitement of a new song, from playing around in a room and writing to performing on the big stage. So you can kind of hear that progression through each section of the song.

The Session

Verse 1

A whole band of pads

The first half-verse is probably defined by just the amount going on. I kinda wanted the beginning of the song to feel like a house party of musicians; everyone just kinda jamming. So you can hear just a lot of different ideas floating around.

So many things!
Pads and Stuff
Pad 1
Oooo Pad
Chicken Melody
Quarters Pad
Sixteenths Pad

The Sixteenths Pad is a little interesting in that it's a chord made from 3 different sounds.

Sixteenths!

Percussion

The percussion through the bridge is basically kinda slow drum-and-bass style beats interluded by halftime beats in the prechorus:

Percusssionnnn

Verse 1b Percussion similar, but with different instruments

Bass

Bass in this song is... uhhh... completely boring. It's one note the entire song.

G. And then... G. And another G. Then we play G.

Verse 1b

Verse 1a had so much energy, and I wanted to give a different vibe for Jane's entrance. I chose to bring the energy down a little, and make it more lead-focused. The change in vibe and color is kind of a signal of a different "voice" and perspective. And then as the two voices start to sing together more, the energy comes back, and they push us into the Verse 2!

The Verse 1b pads are all pretty chill, and help us define the soundscape.

More underneath harmonies

The "bubble pad" is something I wanted to add in one of the tracks for sure; was just trying to find the best song to put it in. Just a fun little tidbit, playing with the flexibility of textures you can create with your voice when you don't care about being ridiculous.

Even the most ridiculous sounds can sound good in mix

The direct harmonies are really the thing that start driving the energy of the verse. They start in head voice, airy, and more delicate. As the verse progresses, we add more and more voices, and in chest voice. This power is what drives us into the bridge!

The harmonies are what push the energy forward. We keep adding voices through the whole verse!

Verse 2

This song doesn't really have much in terms of a chorus; more just like a short prechorus. So we just straight into verse 2! Verse 2 is kind of like "Ah we both found out that we still have a bunch of energy, so let's keep going the whole night". It's all leads here. Just bigger and bigger dueling leads/harmonies.

I hard-panned the leads, so you can hear them better

The pads are kind of just "spacey" to keep attention on the leads. You will notice the infinite pitchshift at the end. To be honest, in the original songwriting, this is where the song stopped. I had a lot of trouble creating the bridge, and even when I did, I didn't know how to transition. So I kinda just repeated the last chord of the pad, put on a pitchshift, overlayed it on the bridge, and faded it out. It kinda connected it pretty ok.

"Spacey Pads"

Bridge

I think I went through like 3 or 4 variations of bridges, and they all sucked. This one ended up being a bit fun, though. Once I figured out the melody, it kinda all came together.

There are 34 voices singing the melody

I wanted the vibe of this to be the "live performance", where it's just a party, and everyone is having fun. So to create atmosphere, we just made a bunch of wacky sounds and played them underneath everything.

Party sounds

There's technically another pad here, but no one really cares about it. It's just adding more sound.

No one cares about me

The rhythm is 100% not flamenco and is written in 4/4, but it inspired by the feeling of flamenco music.

Definitely not soleá

Climax/Outro

The outro is probably the most "collegiate acappella competition" thing in this album. To me it vaguely reminds me of, like, every SoCal VoCals competition set ever, where we have a giant chorus of voices, with a bit of counter-harmony, just to make everything feel as big as possible. Tried and true, I suppose. But as that implies, I was hoping to feel "on stage" for this part of the song. Very much a "we are here" moment.

WE ARE HERE

Aaaaand percussion is also big

Next is "Pay Attention"!