Producing and Mixing a Rock Song From Scratch

Producing and Mixing a Rock Song From Scratch


Greetings, my name is Ian Vargo and I’m with
theproaudiofiles.com and today I’m gonna be showing you how to produce and mix a rock
song from — literally from scratch. So what I was given — this particular song is Ray
Gun by Ugly Ugly Words, make sure to check it out on iTunes. What I was provided in this
case I was given a scratch vocal track and a scratch direct guitar track. And let’s take
a listen to the guitar. [scratch guitar] And in fact let me turn off these plugins
to show you what it sounds like direct. [DI guitar] Ok, we’ve got this vocal track right here.
I’m gonna turn off any plugins and mute all the sends. It’s a great performance. Sounds
like Motörhead Ace of Spades. [vocal scratch track] Add the guitar there. And so that’s what I
was given originally. And it was sort of my vision to take it and make it much fuller
and sound more like that Motörhead head song Ace of Spades. Gotta check that one out if
you’re into rock and roll. Ok, so I’m gonna turn these plugins back on. And so what I
started with was those tracks right there and then next I added drums. And I actually
programmed all the drums. Now they’re programmed to sound real. I guess at that time I couldn’t
afford a drummer, didn’t have a drum set. Didn’t have a studio on that particular day
I was working on this track. So I actually created the drum performance
using a combination of VSTs on this instrument track. I’m not gonna actually load Reason.
But you can see that this is actually my performance. Kick snare, kick snare. And we’ve got a bunch
of hi-hats and simple — excuse me here let’s close Reason. And so we have a performance
here. Let’s see if we can load a virtual instrument like BFD2 which is a great one that I own.
Let’s load a drum kit. Let’s see what it sounds like. This comes
in hot generally. [BFD 2 programmed drums] So that’s me playing drums on a MIDI keyboard.
Ok, and what I would do is get individuals sounds that I would like, let’s go for a more
direct sound, and I would print multiple layers of kick and snare until I was happy with the
sound, so we’ve got a kick drum right here. [kick drum] It’s more of a direct sound. Sort of a roomy
snare. Straight forward snare. Overheads. That’s my cat. Oh, running out memory, awesome.
Let’s get rid of you BFD. We’ve got hi-hats, room, cymbals, direct — let’s just get all
of these drums going you can hear what the final sort of print sounds like. And the reason
I do this is because I want to be able to — even though they are created from virtual
instruments — I want to be able to have control and be able to mix them like I would
a natural drum set. So this is what they sound like after printed. [BFD 2 drums] Ok, and so fortunately the tempo was 204 and
this original guitar track and vocal was tracked to a click. So already it sounds a little
better. And these guitars in. I actually recorded the bass next. We have the bass which was
direct. I’m gonna mute all of these plugins here on this bass. And I wanted sort of a
grainy aggressive picky bass sound. So here’s the original bass sound. [bass guitar] Ok so we sorta have that cool, very picky
sound going on. Good for rock music. Let’s add in these drums here. And does not quite
cut through. And especially once we add the guitars later you’re gonna hear the bass definitely
was not able to cut through with the current setting. So what I did was I added some harmonic
distortion with the decapitator. I’m not really gonna go through these settings. That’s for
another tutorial. We’ve got some EQ, some drastic boost at 3k to bring out the pickiness.
More EQ, drastic cut at 4k. Don’t always know why I do these things but here we go. We’ve
got the CLA-76 compressor. More EQ, some multiband compression and limiting. Limiting on bass
is something I do every so often. So let’s hear it now. [bass guitar with EQ and compression] Cuts through way better. Next step was the
guitars, ok. So let’s solo this guitar right here, change our output. [guitars] I actually recorded these guitars direct,
not very rock and roll. Whatever. So this is the original sound, you’re gonna hear some
clipping because I’m a bad engineer. And what I was really going for is a loud crunchy aggressive
in your face sound, so what I did is I started with some compression, added this SansAmp
plugin. I apologize if I’m going through these really quickly. Decapitator. And some more
compression and the resulting sound was this. [guitar + compression + SansAmp + Decapitator] And then what I did to save, you know, computing,
was just printed directly onto an audio track from this track, so. Let’s change this to
no output and the final sound is this right here. Sounds like I did a little more distortion,
maybe some decapitator there. And the other guitar. Add in the bass. Get those drums going.
Bring in the lead vocal. We’re getting there. A big part of this song I know we wanted to
have a blistering guitar solo so let’s go forward a little bit. Ok and so I did the
same technique where I have sort of a direct sound, let’s find that. It’s gonna sound pretty
funny. Lead guitar direct. [lead guitar solo] Sort of just a crazy distorted broken sounding
guitar. Sounds like we have some cowbell also created with BFD 2. And thrown in for good
measure, I was able to capture the sound of — my cat makes this weird sound, you heard
him he made a cameo before — makes this weird sound before he throws up. He was actually
about to throw up while I was working on the song, so you can hear you got the click track
in there, you know, at 204 BPM. So I sunk that up and looped it, and I think, you know,
the cat throwing up sound is really what made it all what it is. So anyway, I hope you had a good time here.
I know I had a great time producing and mixing this track. It’s Ray Gun by Ugly, Ugly Words.
Make sure to check it out. If you have any questions, my name is Ian Vargo, contact me
ianvargo[at]gmail[dot]com and make sure to follow The Pro Audio Files. Thank you.

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