Week five of our weekly production challenge is a wrap!
We host weekly production challenges on our Discord server to help producers break out of creative ruts and find inspiration in the studio! (Oh, and you can win free packs as well!)
For week five, we had all of our challengers use three presets from Odyssey – Melodic Dubstep for Vital to create a chillstep/future garage buildup and drop inspired by theme of “Ocean Odyssey”!
Our competitors were given two days to create their entries, and the results from everyone were truly beautiful!
Ultimately, it would be SubSonic who would stand out as this week’s winner!
Following in the footsteps of our previous winners, SubSonic agreed to share his process with our community so that others can learn from his approach!
Here’s SubSonic’s winning entry, continue reading below to hear how he went about creating it!
Hi, I’m SubSonic, and here’s my breakdown of week 5’s winning submission, I hope you can find something interesting from it!
Of course, big props to Black Lotus Audio for holding these things and allowing me to open my creativity even more!
Normally when I breakdown a project there’s a lot of things going on, in terms of sound design and processing, but since the theme for this one was “Ocean Odyssey” using Odyssey – Melodic Dubstep for Vital, I knew I had to think on a different angle and perspective.
For the buildup I usually go over the top with effects and synths with all of the details and whatnot, but since this theme is more focused on relaxation, I decided to keep some complexion even while keeping something minimal.
It sounds like there’s a lot of detailing here, but once you find out how small and minimal it is, it’s not as complex as it sounds.
So for the overall build, I implement one of my favorite buildup tricks that I saw from a Barely Alive video (I highly recommend watching it if you want your drops to have more impact), by slowly lowering the volume around -3 to -4 db and also lowering the stereo width for more of a central feeling for more anticipation.
For the synths, it’s just the pad playing a chord progression with the Reese bass playing the last 3 bars before the break. The pads on the preset has the cutoff lowered all the way, as well as the length and steadiness so it has more movement, as well as the morph kicked all the way for the entirety of the track(edited).
With effects I thought to myself, “how can I make something a little comical, while still maintaining a solid relaxing vibe?” I only had to look a little bit before I found a cat making some small noises with some added Lo-Fi crackle for that. Of course those were quiet as it was, so I added some compression to kick up the volume with some OTT and reverb on the cat to fill more of that empty space.
The drums on their own are interesting:
Instead of hitting with a heavy snare, I just instead used layered rim shots and snaps with some slight compression and reverb to fill up some empty space.
The drop has minimalistic elements, yet have a great impact, from the reese bass under it, to the sine plucks carrying so much reverb you’d think it’s insane, there’s a lot of space to fill.
The drums still hold their groove pattern like they usually do, however it starts with snaps instead of rim snares before it makes a transition to the rim snares keeping the groove, with a slight pattern shift every bar.
The kick sounds as if it’s been filtered, but it’s actually a garage kick that I found. The hi-hats are a blend of a self-made loop as well as a future garage hat loop that holds a lot of groove.
The pads are already holding onto the feel, but what about the support on the lower ranges? that’s where the reese comes in. I ran it through my saturation chain which gives it a more saturated and compressed sound, however it doesn’t sound right with everything else, so to compensate it I ran it through a high-pass filter to keep it in the lower frequency so it still holds up the pads.
The plucks that you hear (depending on which one) are a mixture of different details. For starters, there’s the vital pluck which I EQ’d and compressed so it not only did it not hold any harsh frequencies and class with the low end, it also brought up some hidden frequencies that added even more to it. Then we have the chord plucks. This was a Massive patch with detuned saws being filtered into a pluck, and played into a groovy pattern that layered onto the pads perfectly!
Now for one of my favorite details within the synths: The sine pluck this is just a sine wave played at a high note with some added reverb to carry out the tail, perfect if you want to add some high layering to your synths.
Of course that sounded good, I knew that I needed to add one more thing to fit the Future Garage feel, vocal chops. I just re-pitched some of the audio samples so it fit in key and made some variations for one of the samples so it had more of a melodic feel.
And that’s it! Here’s the final result:
I hope this was helpful!
Huge thanks to SubSonic for doing this write up, we hope that it inspires you to be creative with your productions and to use more cat noises as ambiance!
If you’re looking to generate new ideas, find inspiration in the studio, and learn alongside other producers, join in our weekly challenges!
The challenges are open to producers of all skill levels and genres and are focused on helping producers hone their craft in a safe and constructive environment.
Thanks for reading, and thanks again to SubSonic for the write up!
-Team Black Lotus Audio