The Inspiration — Ease My Mind

Background

For starters, finding a singer was rough. Even when I found singers, the recordings ran into difficulties, from microphone issues to recording quality. At one point I wanted to scrap the song altogether, but being the stubborn person I am, I took matters into my own hands and sang it myself. This decision to wrestle with destiny sparked my year-long training as a singer(1).

In the beginning, my motivation to learn singing stemmed purely from anger. I was just so angry, angry at being let down, time and time again. I repeated to myself, “I’m never letting this happen again” and just started singing. Honestly being let down happens often. Relying on people is a risky thing. Following through is such a rarity in this day and age. I’ve found it to be worse in the music industry. It’s almost a meme at this point where producers have hard drives full of half-completed songs and no completed ones.

At the end of it all, I let out a heavy sigh. At last it is done. It doesn’t matter if I crawled to the finish line for this one. What mattered is that I crossed the line.

Songwriting

Another vital decision was the musical key. If I wanted octave doubles and have a male singer on the track, the key needed to be between C and D# major. Octave jumping in this key is comfortable for most male singers. If you ever listen to pop rock songs of the early 2010’s, a lot of songs were written in this range because the singers then octave jump, creating those iconic, big choruses reminiscent of the era(3).

The song originally had a second verse too. Ask any songwriter and they’ll tell you second verses are the worst. They come after a hook and need to preserve the audience’s attention after a peak in energy. Most people listen up to the first chorus and then skip. To avoid boredom, naturally one would want to add variation but add too much and you risk the verse sounding bridge. It’s a balancing act and for this reason second verses are a delicate part of an arrangement.

In all honesty, I couldn’t pull off a second verse in EMM. Everything I wrote was boring or too wild. So what did I do? I just deleted it. Yeah super lazy I know.

Production

For EMM, I tried my best to stay away from standard samples, like ‘Future Bass Drums’ or ‘Hip Hop Pianos’. A lot of the percussion elements were foley sounds that I downloaded from YouTube videos or recorded from the outside world. In particular, the intro has sounds from the BART and the Coex shopping mall in Seoul. I also borrowed sounds from other genres like hip hop, latin, industrial rock and so much more. This gave the song a nice texture because it’s using sounds that only I have.

In most of my drops, I use an upfront lead but this time I relied heavily on rhythm to carry the energy. The drop is just a bunch of chords playing a rhythm and that was enough to keep things interesting. A production duo by the name of GroovyRoom once said that an instrumental should be 50% percussion, 30% bass and 20% everything else. I thought it was a little crazy but now I realize how important the rhythm section is. I mean there’s even a genre called drum and bass. Those two elements combined is enough to create a full song.

The final drop is probably the most unique part of the song. I wanted to pull a BLACKPINK and have two disjoint and jarring sections. I swapped out all the percussion samples, bass synth and carried over only a few elements.. I added wild pitch bends to the bass (a la Why Not by Loona) and the drop came to life. There honestly wasn’t much thought in this part other than getting the sounds to f!@#ing hit!

Conclusion

  1. I officially finished my training this month and will be singing covers and originals soon. I’m super excited!
  2. I jacked this idea from Sugarcult — ‘Do It Alone’
  3. Examples of this include Boys Like Girls — ‘Thunder’

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