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HELP: keeping the listeners attention...


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#1 LeftFoot1st

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 05:55 AM

After making beats and listening to beats for awhile now I was wondering what techniques you guys (who i'd admit to be better beat makers than I am) do to keep the listeners attention.

 

I noticed on JD's 1996 What Up Doe Sessions he would sort of lower the volume on the sample and bring it back up and I had never thought of doing anything like that before....but yeah, what are some of the things you guys do?

 

This will really help me out because I feel like my beats are a little too repetitive at times, but I know plenty of other beats that are just as repetitive yet still keep me interested.



#2 James Frank.

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 08:05 AM

I noticed on JD's 1996 What Up Doe Sessions he would sort of lower the volume on the sample and bring it back up and I had never thought of doing anything like that before....but yeah, what are some of the things you guys do?

 

what you're referring to is actually not the volume of the sample being turned up and down, but a low pass EQ filter on the sample being turned down to like 100-200 Hz (where the bass frequencies usually lie) and then turning it back up to like 10Khz (where the highs and mids lie)...sorry if that sounds too technical, but this is the lingo you've gotta learn if you wanna step your game up.  it takes a lot of practice and failure haha-- coming from someone who's failed way more times than succeeded.

 

but if you notice your favorite producers' beats, you'll realize that the one thing they all have in common is professional or at the very least semi-profesional quality of their mixes...and that takes time to learn.  i recommend watching YouTube tutorials and stuff to try and figure out the quirks of whatever system you're using to create beats, but as far as "keeping people interested" that's sort of another story.

 

things like variations on your patterns, even subtle shit like vocal cuts or sound snippets, are things that do get noticed by listeners, and the more you switch shit up bar-to-bar the more likely someone will stick around the whole way through.  also, on a last note, don't stretch your beat to 3, 4, 5 minutes if it's just a 4-8 bar loop...nobody wants to hear that shit anymore haha; unless you can somehow justify the song length, i would highly recommend trimming those beats down to like 1-2 mins.  i know if a song is like 4 minutes, i'll usually just skip right over it before even checking it out-- but maybe that's just me.  anyway, hope all that ^ helps.



#3 LeftFoot1st

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 09:52 AM

Word, I wouldn't want to listen to my own shit if it was 4-5 minutes... All my tracks are a minute and a half tops.. maybe 2 minutes if i'm really feeling it. I do understand what lowpass is, I have used it on a few of my beats, but I am almost sure it was the volume being lowered on the track and not a muffled sound. You are right though, I do need to add vocal cuts or some sort of sound snippets. I noticed that being done a lot in Madlibs stuff and Doom as well. I'll just have to figure out exactly what I want to start throwing into the tracks then.... I got some mean Johnny Quest audio clips lol. 

 

Sometimes I switch up the pattern on the drums, but I'll only do it a few times here and there for maybe 1 bar, but i'm thinking I should start doing that for a bit longer so it gets noticed....

 

also finding more tutorials will def be a big help, I just went through all of the basic stuff so I'm not really sure what to look for now.... but thanks a lot for your taking the time to write a response. Much love.



#4 Dirty Cyclist

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 10:42 AM

I don't make beats, but I listen to them. What keeps me interested are time changes, random samples, and interesting combinations. I love when someone take a spoken word bit and integrates with a good beat and it makes sense against the lyrics...

http://www.thebeeshi...ng-with-j-zone/

 

The time changes on this intro are crazy (old school jazz):



#5 LeftFoot1st

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 10:53 AM

I Love West End Blues... and good looks on the link, i'm going to check that out right now .... I've got to find some good comedy vinyl or maybe just find something online with movie quotes or w.e


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#6 BroKing

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 02:57 AM

let me rap on your beats breh


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#7 LeftFoot1st

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 08:01 AM

Maybe in the future... but right now, I'm just trying to perfect my sound... still got a lot to learn



#8 this is WACK

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 05:57 AM

the one thing that helped me more than anything on my beats was eliminating quantize. Getting a more human feel makes it more interesting for ears.  Also Dirty Cyclist is spot on.  Changes over time are what make all music interesting.


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#9 soulREBEL360

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 11:10 AM

... or just stop being wack


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#10 Beatronome

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 12:07 PM

Someone once said to me it's change-ups but dynamics as well that keep music interesting. So play with the volume, panning etc... Dude was into ambient stuff but still; what I do when I layer drums now and then is adjusting the volume on every layer randomly so they sound a little different every time. You might not really notice it, but I think it makes it sound less repetitive. Same goes for EQ'ing on samples, just make sure you don't mess up your mix.

Also: longer loops.

These are all extras though, in the end it has to be dope.



#11 mangoes cash

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 06:25 PM

Pop Structure.

#12 EdTheYounger

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 07:47 PM

Can be a two edged sword, if you don't do things subtle it'll just turn your stuff in to a mess... I like changing the same chop slightly. So I'll chop a sample up twice in the exact same spots but with minor variation. So it sounds like a human actually hitting pads to a certain extent. A half a second here and there of change in the patterns, maybe catching the start of the next transient briefly before the next chop
Hits in etc. each 4 bars I try to have at least 1 noticeable (but not rhythm changing) variation. Whether a vocal stab, a swallowed kick drum or a varied chop. Just don't go overboard, variations for me (and for most of the big names I listen to) are like seasoning on your beat, sprinkle it in moderation and it will bring all the flavor out!

One.
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#13 Scottie Royal

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 06:33 AM

Something that I did when I first started out, but neglected over time and now started doing more of is adding drops. Very simple yet effective, pick the right spots for them and they will help. And you don't have to neccessarily drop the entire beat. I like to drop everything and then let one cool element shine through. 

 

Also like mangoes said, pop structure...what I'm getting from that intro/hook/verse/hook/verse/etc. It can be very standard, but I think it works.

 

Also something else I've learned, don't give your listener everything all at once! I had this problem of just giving everything right up front to the listener, years ago. Now I try to build up. For example the first time I play the hook, there might be 2-3 elements missing that will come through the second time my hook plays (maybe a big horn section or something).  



#14 archive

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 10:30 AM

variations for me (and for most of the big names I listen to) are like seasoning on your beat, sprinkle it in moderation and it will bring all the flavor out!

 

i got a kick out of this, i always called it 'adding the bells and whistles'. everything said in this thread is super on point and it's something i constantly think about when making a tune although i need to learn to take the time and gather resources (vocal stabs, movie liners, one shots, whatever) rather than breaking up workflow mid way.

 

ps hi im new.



#15 KieranCrawford

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 08:21 AM

you just sort of stick to the sounds that continuously burst into your consciousness throughout the day. like chance the rapper said, you don't have a choice but to be inspired by the sounds you hear each and everyday so might as well makes something of this perpetual nonsense



#16 KieranCrawford

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 08:22 AM

unless it naturally sounds like trash, then stick to not producing. because your sounds aren't enlightening anyone and your probably more useful in some other area of this world. 6 billion ppl and counting



#17 CASCASSETTE

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 10:47 AM

A really good question and I'm often struggling with the same thing. Great answers too.
LFOs.. Sometimes you wanna go and add loads of automation on stuff, but sometimes it can be cool enough to have stuff modulated very slowly. Renoise has great freedom in this, but I've been working with Live for a while now which works slightly different. Still, "automated variation" can help: a filter cutoff or volume/pan modulated on dotted time intervals (3/16, 3/8, 3/4), or on frequencies not related to the beat (spin function can be fun, instead of phase).
Gear.. The variations killer is sometimes a workflow with mouse and keyboard. There are too many parameters that can be automated, and you have all the time in the world, seemingly, to get it "right". But all flow of direct creativity can be leaking away. Listen again, click click click, listen again..  Maschine is in my eyes a good step in the right direction for leaving you with *physical* rotaries for the important settings. I don't have it though, so what do I know. I'm just saying, getting physical gear really actually helps creativity.
Phase.. Jumping to a new phase with your song. I've watched an inspiring youtube vid where somebody said - traditionally there are 5 phases to making a song (Sound design, Recording, Arrangement, Mixing, Mastering) and even though you can try to do these all in one session it helps to have these 'barriers'. So to make a boring beat interesting you can try this. Render the tracks and load them back up in a new song file (call it "sick beat x - arrangement and mixing phase"). Line up an acapella (ideally that you know very well) and make sure it goes with the beat, the kick and the snare, exactly like the original. Bind various midi keys and knobs to simple things in your song - track volumes, mutes/solos, filter cutoffs. Delay times and amounts if you feel like going dub. Do one round recording of those parameters. Glitch combo fx plugins can be great for this too.
NoQuantize.. Vary by playing/programming in drumbreaks instead of loops. If you have *any* sound layed down yet, turn off the metronome too. At least for me, I'd rather record drums in against a steady 8th note hihat than against that *beeep* beep beep beep. Sometimes I get the illest breaks by fingerdrumming into a multitrack loop recorder.

Beatboxing.. Beatboxing is my favorite tool to come up with new grooves or breaks. Sometimes a beat gets way cooler when you just switch one bars drum pattern up to kick-snare-snare-snare. Like a sort of 'error' retrigger. So whenever you're on the bus or sth doing nothing but listening your fav beats, beatbox along with that (I suggest not to loudly, or perhaps just in your head). Then when you're home try to program that exact beat. Then load up the song and align the hits to perfect it, so you see how much 'shuffle' goes into a groovy beat. It's also fun to just record your beatboxing and turn that into good sounding drums.






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