Bash this: Before It Gets Me

This is probably the bleakest song I’ve ever written. I wrote it 7 or 8 months ago. It’s about being so afraid of something that all you want to do is run away from life in order to avoid it. Wondering why you’re here, and if it’s worth it.

There’s one neat thing I did with this song that may be worth mentioning. The main guitar track is played on a nylon string guitar, and what I did is I placed a snare drum nearby with the wires up against the resonant head of the drum. The guitar would sometimes make it buzz. So I put one microphone on the guitar, and another on the drum. So that sort of ambient/buzzy track behind the guitar is that second track of the drum, with extra fx added. I really like how it turned out. :slight_smile:

I’m editing this to add a second fun fact that I just remembered. So, my wife really likes this song. We listened through it a couple of days ago because I wanted her opinion. Long story short, we ended up turning things down and muting things until the song was down to ONLY the guitar. Not even the guitar ambience track. Then she closed her eyes and smiled and was like, “yeah…” Ahaha then she said I could bring in the vocals just a little. It cracked me up. I was like, “okay, honey, I’m glad you like the guitar so much but do you see how this isn’t going to work for an actual song!” It’s just that she hears these songs live with just me and my guitar and then it’s tough to get her to like any production I add, lol.

Anyway let me know what you think. I wanted the song to feel a little scary, and of course for the emotion to come across. I’ll come back and tweak it sometime this week when I get a chance.


That snare idea is fantastic. Super creative thinking and I love this song!

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There is almost a sitar quality to the ambiance you created with that snare track.

Your music sure deserves to be heard by a larger audience. I sure hope you don’t become too cool for us when that happens!

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Thanks for saying that. I do hope I can grow my audience over time. Not sure I’ll ever feel cool though, haha. Besides, I like it here!

+1000!!! :beerbanger:

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Hey Christina,
Well of course I agree your music should get out there to be heard !

Having said that, for this song I’m inclined to agree with your wife. The lyrics are heavy. I’m sure they are honest and come from somewhere deep down. I feel the ambience you added (very well done, but that’s not the point) makes it too big, and makes me wonder if it’s real. I’m not saying you should keep it small for all your songs. But if you keep this one small on an album followed by something big the impact is all the bigger. Ik hope you understand what I’m trying to say… Do you have a live version for us to compare? Or a dry version?

By the way, my wife is always telling me I should play and sing more quietly so my songs come out stronger. I think I agree with her, but I’m not very good in actually doing it :slight_smile:

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Love this song… wonderfully filled with shadow and nuance… and the hum-buzz is a cool layer of twist and uncertainty that works really well. There is a cool depth and rich timbre to your vocal and lovely translucence to the backing vox.
In bash terms, there are just a couple of fret squeaks that felt just a touch too loud in the middle, around 1.38
Ooh, this is a very nice track thanks!!


Yes I know what you mean. Sometimes less is more, and I agree. Especially in the context of an album, or a concert or something. I’ve just been trying to get better at production in general, so I’ve been experimenting a lot and going for fleshed out songs rather than simple acoustic ones. Poking around trying to find “my sound.” It’ll probably take quite a while, haha. I will see if I can bounce a simpler version of this song to compare, but I don’t have one right now.

I also think there’s this cool aspect of having an “album version” of a song that is produced, but then you come out with an acoustic version and everyone is like “oh wow this is way better,” but if you hadn’t released the album version to begin with maybe no one would have even noticed, lol.

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Okay here’s something that bothers me about my mix for this song. I think that I have a real problem with this.

Whenever I listen to professional music, it sounds like the vocal is in the music. And you can still hear the other instruments doing their thing. You can just hear things clearly! I feel like in this song my vocals are on top of the music, rather than in it. Like if I close my eyes and listen to this song, I actually imagine the vocals sitting vertically above the rest of the song. I want them to be in the song. Is this purely a matter of EQ? Or are there other things to consider? I’ll admit that I kind of suck at using compression.

What I do with EQ is this: I figure out what frequencies are the best sounding, most important frequencies for whatever instrument I’m dealing with. I either leave those alone or boost them a bit, then attenuate the rest. I try to make sure that the whole spectrum is represented by something. And I try to leave the vocals alone as much as possible because that’s the part that I think is most important to sound natural. So I just HP them, cut a bit of mud out around 200-300hz, and maybe boost some of the highs. But yeah I don’t know. Getting clarity for all the parts is really tough for me! Any tips there? I do a lot of EQing in mono. I use iZotope Neutron for parts that I feel are masking each other, because it can show me exactly where that’s happening. Maybe I just need to spend more time on it.

Can you give some examples?

If you compare this to Hello by Adele, primarily because its a song that has a highly ambient solo instrument carrying the bulk of the accompaniment, the biggest differences to me is the amount of 200-800 in the vocal verb. The piano verb and the vocal verb are also tuned in a very complimentary fashion, and other widening and imaging processing is applied to the piano to fill up space - specifically that the vocal isn’t occupying.

What compression do you have on the vocal? These things have a big roll in the ‘glue’ of a vocal to a mix.

Is that an Eventide on the guitar?

Also, do you have your vocal reverbs timed to the bpm of the song?

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nicely done. I would say that there is some fine tuning you could do. One thing is using scheps like compression to tie things together.

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At the moment, there’s quite a lot of echo and reverb wash in both music and vocals.
I am thinking you could get the alienation and fear feeling more acute by having the vocals “smaller” - as in minimize the reverb for the voice and perhaps even go “radio” freeks?


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However you got there, the end result is that your vocals have too much mud, especially 300Hz - 400Hz, that’s why they feel like thy are sitting on top of the mix instead of being a part of it. I played around with this a bit, I needed some hefty cuts - over 10db at some frequencies - to get it sounding more comfortable on the ear.

cool song etc

main thing standing out to me is the boominess of the guitar every time u hit the root chord…19,20,21,22 27,28,29,30 really resonates out there

This is the song I was listening to when the thought occurred to me:

And here’s another example that came to mind. I remember that when I first heard it I was really impressed by how simple the arrangement was, yet how big the whole thing sounded.

If I compare this to an Adele song I might as well pack up shop, hahaha. Okay, so I listened to Hello again. Her vocal is rather on top of everything. Not as much as my song, but I still have to really focus to make out the chords that the piano is playing. That’s an interesting comment about the vocal reverb and the piano reverb being complementary. I hadn’t really thought of that before.

I have the vocal running through iZotope Nectar. I put basically no thought into the compression, and left it at what it was when I chose a rough preset because I thought it sounded good. Okay it is a solid-state “character” with a 4.5:1 ratio, wow a 1ms attack, and 316 release. It’s got a very low threshold too, but it was mixed with a dry signal. Then on my vox bus (with the harmonies too,) I have a fairly gentle compression with a VC 2A by native instruments. (Modeled after LA-2A.) Like I said I understand what compressors do technically speaking, but I don’t have a good sense for when/why to use them, and how different compressors sound different.

The guitar doesn’t have a reverb on it. Instead it’s a separate ambiance track that I recorded, with the snare buzzing, and I put some fx on that. A ping-pong delay and a reverb (RC 24 by native instruments.)

I always time my reverb pre-delays, if that’s what you mean. Right now the vocal one is set to 1/32.

You’re right, I just made a big cut around 400hz and it helps a lot. I just hate making my vocals sound too thin. I feel like everyone does that these days, but the richness of my voice is my favorite part. I’ll play around with it.

That’s a good point. I notice that too.

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This. You’ve got it dialed in just right. Absolutely beautiful!

And this. To me the guitar feels too “thick”. I really like the dark tone but I think it would sound good if it had a more delicate and fragile quality to it. Maybe if you spread the guitar more it might let your vocal sit in the middle a little better?

One more thing, I really like the transition sounds between the sections, but they are a little loud. I’d rather sense them more than hear them. Another really quality song!

Late to the party here… Great atmospheric piece! Loving the harmonies…

A lot of good advice already given here. One thing you may want to consider is eq’ing the vocal reverb. Sometimes darker reverbs can add to the buildup in the lower mids, which may add to a sense of murkiness

I wish I had access to the RecordingReview archive. Brandon actually blogged a post I made in reply to a very similar question… In essence it comes down to proportion. In a similar way to an artist creates a sense of proportion by the way they draw and shade a figure in comparison to it’s surroundings, to get a vocal to “nest” into a musical space, it’s a case of using eq (mainly), compression and ambience to get it to be in proper proportion to the other mix elements.

Generally speaking, the more full frequency you make an element (ie: extended lows and highs, the “larger” it will appear to be.

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That’s cool, but if you’re going to do something radically different compared to the tracks you are referencing, you should expect radically different results - such as the vocals not sitting comfortably with the track. As Andrew suggests, you can also high pass the vocal reverb return, that will help.

Hey :slight_smile: Thanks for sending those tracks Cristina…Feel free to take a listen! Way cool song!!!