When it comes to engineering melodic masterpieces, no one does it quite like Jason Ross.
Becoming a household name throughout the Anjunabeats community and most recently making his presence felt on Seven Lions‘ Ophelia Records, there is more than enough evidence to solidify that statement.
While he is still buzzing off the release of the second single of his forthcoming debut album, 1000 Faces, Jason Ross has taken the time to share a handful of tips when it comes to making melodic magic. Grab a notepad producers, it’s time to take notes!
To start, take your favorite music from multiple genres and break it down, trying to find out why it inspires you on a functional level. Which pieces in the track do I love the most? How is the low-end sitting? Is the kick more present than the bass? Get familiar with the elements that make up the track and (loosely!) use it as roadmap.
2. Master the tools you have:
It’s not about having the most expensive or most popular plug-ins or outboard gear; it’s about knowing the tools that you do have inside and out. Read the user manual, look up tutorials on every single FX or synth – practice, experiment, and never stop learning. All of the popular DAWs already come with synthesizers and effects that work amazingly well. Ableton’s OTT multiband compressor is a popular plug-in amongst my producer friends, and the EQ-eight is a go-to for minor cuts and boosts.
Using sidechain properly can take a track from amateur to sounding clean and professional. For trance, I like using plug-ins like LFO-tool and Volume Shaper because I can draw in exactly how I want the elements to duck from the kick. When it comes to melodic dubstep, I usually go to Ableton’s sidechain compressor, using a hi-hat with a very short decay as a trigger, drawing it in whenever the kick and snare hit. There are a bunch of tutorials online that get deeper into this one.
4. Stay Organized:
Block out a time every month to clean up your digital workspace. Create a ‘favorites’ folder with all of your go-to samples. Save your favorite presets and FX chains. You have to be able to access things while maintaining your flow and not breaking your momentum. Throw old projects onto an external hard-drive. Do whatever you need to feel fresh, focused and excited.
5. Take a break:
Slaving away in the studio 24/7 will only wear you down. Taking breaks is as important as putting in work when you’re a creative. It’s as easy as going outside and taking a walk, meditating, grabbing a drink with a friend or going out to a show to catch your favorite artist/band. I’ve learned so much from attending a variety of shows in different genres. It’s one of the things that has led me to my current path of growth and development. Find things you like to do around your area and give yourself a break every once in a while – you’ll thank yourself later.
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