Liquid DnB Tutorial Day 6: Arranging Liquid Drum and Bass + Adding FX [7 Day Song]
Hi! I’m Dave from boyinaband.com and welcome to day 6 of the 7 day song on Liquid Drum and Bass. Yesterday in Day 5, I taught you how to make some spacey piano and sampled strings. Today, I’ll be teaching you how to arrange a conventional liquid dnb song, as well as adding in some fx to add that audible cherry on top of your track.
So! Let’s start with the arrangement. As you can see, I’ve gone ahead and arranged it already – just so you didn’t have to sit through me copying and pasting a bunch of sections. I’ll go through what I’ve done now.
64 bar intro – For a chilled song you’ll want a nice long build up. The start is purely drums for the DJ to mix it in, but from when the pads kick in onwards, it starts getting progressively more chilled, with the bass kicking in, then the pretty piano.
64 main section – Then it kicks in in earnest, modulating with that little filtered fill into the strings and new bass part, then just to keep it interesting, it changes every 16 bars. Adding the leads, then the piano and knocking out the strings, then for a finale to the section adding both the piano and strings, so it’s a mesh of gorgeous sound by that point. The extra percussion comes in half way through as well for the last 32 bars just to build it up a bit more.
32 breakdown – Kicking into the breakout, the percussion is removed and the bass / pads carry it through, with a slight reference to the tempo from the echoing out crash, which I’ll come to in part 2. There’s then a piano phrase, followed by a small drum build up, just the kicks getting progressively faster, hitting a snare, that bongofill! we mentioned in day 1, and back into…
64 second main section – just the same as the first one, I’ve added in a couple more fills, but with liquid you can get away with a lot of repetition since it’s not really meant for vast amounts of crazy awesome fills. It’s more the pretty sound relaxing the listener, and repetition is a great way to do that.
32 outro – quite simply just stripping down the parts so the DJ can mix it into the next tune.
And there you have it! You can see there’s a lot of consistancy here, the pads, bass and glassy lead all just go through the whole song – the lead is very quiet so it doesn’t interfere with the other leads, it’s just there to add a little bit of sparkle to the track, but the nice prominent undertone of those pads and bass will help the listener to relax.
We can also see that I’ve added in a bunch of effects – these really fill out the track. So join me in part 2 where I’ll be showing off those fx…
Okay, for the fx I’ve just made a combinator with a mixer in there with each channel of ReDrum linked to it, so I can apply effects such as reverb and delay to the samples. I’ve only got 5 samples in here in this case, a nice crash, two reverses, a sweep and a weird synth effect. These are all from the primeloops razor fx pack, which I keep reccommending because it’s frickin’ awesome.
The crash is just to help drive the track, since it is nice and splashy and I’ve triggered it every 16 bars.
The reverses are similar, but I’ve got two so that in the quiet sections I can just use one, so it’s not overbearing, then when more elements are introduced, I use the two to make for a nice big swell to the next 16 bars. You can see in the intro and break I’ve just got the one.
That sweep is just there to define the different sections a bit more, when it goes into the main section there’s one, the break, the second main section and the outro. Just makes it that bit louder to build up the volume a bit more for a more satisfying crash.
Then there’s that weird synth sound that’s remeniscent of a confused narwhal wondering how he found his way into a liquid drum and bass song. I’ve just put him in the main sections, so he fills it out nicely, and kept him out of the quieter bits so he doesn’t puncture the silence with his horn.
The other effect I’ve got in here is a “woosh” sound which you can learn how to make in day 5 part 2 of my 7 day song on trance music, it’s a pretty intense effect to make but ends up really filling out the track, plus it’s a great way to learn more about routing in Thor.
Regarding the fx I’ve put on these fx, there’s delay on the crash, sweep and Narwhal, with no delay on the reverses, otherwise when they finished building up, they’d carry on for ages and that’d kinda defeat the purpose of a sharp-stop reverse. However, there’s a small reverb on them, on everything in fact, but that’s so short that it just ends up getting masked by the crash. I have it there just to make it sound a little bit thicker on the build. Reverb is your friend in Liquid Drum and Bass, I’m sure you’ve noticed that throughout the 7 day song!
So that’s it for today – we’ve arranged the track better than someone with ODD playing scalectrix, and we’ve added some fx that are more of a proverbial cherry-on-top than coming home from a good night out and finding Hayley Williams’ twitter has been hacked.
So, tune in tomorrow for day 7 where I’ll be going over the mixing and mastering, then showing you the final, finished 7 day song. Take it easy, guys!