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VX1 Session: Pay Attention

This is a session walkthrough, from The Making of VX1

Full Walkthrough Video

The Process

This song was basically born in Ableton, and it extremely loop based. The original idea came from a loop that I tried to write into a song ages ago (pad 1). Through the songwriting process, the chords changed and the rhythm became more layered, but it more or less kept that shape.

The lyrics for this song were initially inspired by my friend's dog, who is a tripping hazard. While you are walking, this dog will straight up zoom in front of you and lay down looking for a pet.

Of course, after sitting down and actually going through a writing session, then verse 2 happened and the song got way darker, because it's songwriting and my imagination is fucked up. It is very important to let it be known that my friend does not abuse his dog! Hilariously, you also hear the chords change from major to minor when I write the 2nd verse and realize it's fucked (compare v1.03 to v1.06).

The Session

Loops

This song was suuuuper based off of loops, which made it way easy to record. You'll notice already from version 1.02, it already feels similar to the completed song (although way happier).

Pad 1

Pad 1 is really where the song gets its personality, and it's also where this song started. Mostly, I made it to trigger my asmr and kind of give me a massage. Seriously. There are two effects that are layered on a 5-7 part harmony: 1. An automated gate/duck. I tried to automate it directly with numbers, but there was a specific timing that I couldn't quite replicate, so the timing of when it is muting things is triggered by a muted midi track. 2. An autopan that is timed to create a rhythm with the gate.

In the following clip, I introduce the harmonies in pieces, and then add in the effects.

Introducing Pad 1 bit by bit

Bass

The bass is a simple repeating loop. I also duplicated the track and pitched it down an octave to fill it out a bit more.

The bass loop repeats forever

Percussion

The percussion loop uses the drum machine I made from my own sounds. It does NOT use a spit take or any live percussion in the loop. This is to make it sound extra clean and electronic. So it's just this looping the whole song + a few one-off percussion sounds at the beginning.

The percussion is a ben-drum-machine loop

Pad 2

Pad 2 is used just for some variation during the 2nd verse/chorus. As opposed the Pad 1, which is based on mono tracks (since I'm hard-panning it anyway), this one is meant to be stereo, so all the vocals are stereo. There are two variations of this pad:

Original

Extended

Leads

I was quite proud of how clean the main vocal lead came out. Also notice that there is no mono/center lead. It's meant to almost be a texture that happens to be over everything. I also was kind of going for a Billie Eilish kind of aesthetic here: reeeeally soft and delicate vocals, but with lots of gain.

Lead

Whistle/Hum Lead

This one is a weird sound that I talk about in the VX1 Arranging Blog Post. I don't really have a ton to add to the clip in that post, but I do like how they are two separate melodies that kind of join into unison occasionally to create new textures. It kind of feels like additive synthesis:

Whistle Hum Melodies

The last song is Getaway!