Dec 2016

#DH3 Diary Ep. 2


I’m not going to make up shit and basically lie, and most of you will probably be very happy to know: I finished writing the music and arranging most of the songs! Some of them already have lyrics and others are a work in progress but the songs, riffs, melodies and arrangements are basically done.

Today I’d like to share “an arrangement problem” I was having. I was trying to enhance (with synths) a heavy intro. You don’t usually hear/see this kind of treatment in Metal and the whole purpose is to enrich the guitars but in a way that it doesn’t take the focus away from them.

Yoav Efron ©Ofir_Abe

Intro to my writing process.

I write and pre-produce in Apple Logic Pro X ({tooltip}DAW Software{end-text}A digital audio workstation (D.A.W.) is an electronic device or computer software application for recording, editing and producing audio files such as songs, musical pieces, human speech or sound effects.{end-tooltip}). I record the rhythm section (Drums/bass/guitars) and basically everything with my {tooltip}MIDI Controller{end-text}A MIDI controller is any hardware or software that generates and transmits Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) data to electronic or digital MIDI-enabled devices, typically to trigger sounds and control parameters of an electronic music performance.{end-tooltip} to the point where it sounds almost like the real thing. I then export the data (audio and MIDI) to Cubase (another DAW) where I start to really produce and sometimes even mix at the same time.

For this article we’ll be staying within Logic, meaning we’re at “stage one” of my work-process. The sounds are rough and are there only to help me pre-produce and write the riffs, melodies and the song itself. Remember, it’s only myself and my keyboard playing at this point.

The Riff.

First lets listen to the riff (guitars only and then with the rest of the rhythm section) just to get the idea of what we’re trying to enhance.

Guitar Only:

Rhythm Section:


The Synths.

  • Since I already recorded the guitars (remember, I played them on my keyboard), I just copied and pasted them to new tracks. I started with a basic mono lead sound which is there to make the bass guitar more “electronic” and “angry”.
  • Of course, my main purpose is to enhance the guitars so I can’t just have a mono synth lead. I needed something wide and fat. So I came up with an ugly/fat/distorted tone I really liked. Problem was, when all the other layers were playing together (we’ll get to them soon), I was missing some movement and excitement, so I added a rather harsh filter to help this simple stereo synth become more alive. Lets listen to it without and with the filter:


With Filter:

  • The next layer is another stereo lead synth with a more acid-tone vibe to it, giving another type of movement and excitement to the mix of layers:
  • At this point, I felt like something was missing. The guitars were getting bigger and the whole section was heavier and “angrier” but I was starting to lose the definition of the riff itself. One way of fixing it is adding another layer an octave above with a more “percussive” feel to it – and that’s exactly what I did here:
  • The final layer is another higher-pitched one, rounding up (in my mind at least) the “harshness” of the percussive layer and the guitars itself – and adding a cool portamento vibe to it.

Lets listen to all the layers together (balanced) and then with the rhythm section:






Individual Synth Layers:

Thank you all! If you’d like to know more and join this little endeavour, please subscribe to our Facebook Page or my Producer Page or email me at contact@sw5b6s7gi.de-02.live-paas.net with the topic: Subscribe. See you next week.

Yoav Efron | Distorted Harmony

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