Now, let’s talk about music and my overall view of production. To me, it’s all about emotion. What made the Blueprint a classic? Or what makes any album a classic? The album has to have a central message and theme that connects with the listeners on a deep level. Whether it’s the lyrics or the production, the listener must connect with the songs emotionally. Classics are made when the music and the lyrics both connect with listeners on a deep, almost spiritual, level. We call this a “marriage” between the artist and the beat.
Take John Mayer for instance. This guy is one of my favorite artists of all time. Somehow, he has this uncanny ability to convey the truest human emotion in his songs. I believe his music can be pretty melancholy yet beautiful at the same time. Isn’t this a picture of life? His genius lies in making music that compliments and sounds like the exact emotion he’s conveying in his words. He doesn’t seem to mind embarrassing his self or knowing that most of the people he meets will know his insecurities. This honesty is what people connect to. It’s just warm and comfy knowing that someone out there is just like you and that you’re not alone in what you feel or how you see the world. The best artists have this ability. Marvin Gaye had it and many others.
After all, when we recall the most important events in our lives, they were usually centered around some strong emotion. Realizing this, it is very important to me that EVERY beat I make makes the listener feel what I want them to feel. Whether its amped up, sad, excited, happy, relaxed, serious, angry, and any other emotion I can’t think of right now. My main goal is to make sure you never forget the first time you heard every beat I make. I still remember where I was when I first heard “Momma Loves Me” by Jay-Z. Man, that track was extremely emotional and boy did Jay get emotional right with it. I strive for that with every beat I make. I wish all producers did but they don’t. Some producers just make beats. Most producers will tell you that creating these emotional moments in music is very difficult. Maybe that’s why some producers just settle for emotionless general beats. Creating emotion in music most certainly takes a lot of practice unless you’re a trained musician (which I’m not).
With this in mind, it is my belief that every beat you make needs to have a “moment” or “moments”. You need to have at least one in every beat you make. This is a moment where the listener is taken to a heightened state of emotion they didn’t feel before that moment came. There are many ways to create these “moments”. Drops are one of the easiest ways to do this. What is a drop? It is what it sounds like. You drop an instrument or instruments from the beat. Sometimes the drop is the “moment” but I typically like to use the four bars after a drop to create that “moment”. I like to think of it as the quiet before the storm. For me, the moment is the storm in most of my beats, but for some, the moment is the quiet. It just depends on what I did before the drop. If I have a lot of “action” before the drop then the drop by default is that moment. If I’m building up to a great moment in the track (like not having the kicks or bass line come in until a certain point) then I’ll add a drop for two bars and even total silence for a count (4th of a bar) then BANG!! The drums and bass line come in with intense vigor. Add that with another instrument or two that weren’t there before and now you have your “moment”. It’s all about creating ANTICIPATION in your listener. We’ll go deeper into anticipation on another post. If you’ve done it really nasty you get the “boo boo face” from your listeners. The more of these “boo boo faces” you get the more you’ll be respected as a producer.
My goal with production is to make the person remember that beat forever. In order to do that, the track has to invoke an emotional response. If I was to go to the next rung in the ladder of desired responses to my music it would have to be the chill. Yeah, you know that moment when somehow, the producer and the artist did absolutely everything right at the exact same moment. Somehow, the artist said something the right way at the right time on the beat and you get a chill. I can’t explain it better than that. I felt that feeling when Ruslan of theBREAX sent me back Passion Art(Yap Yap) after they recorded it. What they did to that beat was more than I imagined and they somehow found the perfect song for the music.
I wish I could tell you how to produce a chill. I’m sure no one can tell you that. It’s like seeing a shooting star. Its one of those once in a blue moon things that happens to a person. Funny thing is, two people can be listening to the same song at the same time and one person feels the chill and the other doesn’t. Music can be funny like that.
These are things I think about when I’m producing music. Good music starts in the heart not the mind. If you want people to flock to your music and stand out in this cotton candy era of music production then put emotion in your music. Take time and create each track with care and much thought as to what you want the user to come away with after the experience. Learn how to pull the heart strings of the listener. A song or a beat should be an experience that the listener never wants to end.
See you all next time.