My Game Music Album And The Writing Process

Track 1 — Heavy Oddities

It’s 2017 and I’m getting closer to doing what I want to be doing with the rest of my life; writing music for video games 🎮🎶 The first full track off my album is finished and I’d love if you could give it a listen.

You can hear a preview of the other upcoming tracks over on Bandcamp: https://willhelliwell.bandcamp.com/releases 🎧

Read below to see how I progressed with writing the track and what things I struggled with along the way. 👇

Day 1

What a night. All I was trying to do was enable velocity on a Kontakt instrument. I’d been doing the right thing and adding a velocity option in the mod section of the amp, but when I looked closer, I saw there were 2 velocities being played! And one of them was always full. So I bypassed the entire script that controls the instrument. It works! Order is restored.

Day 2

Added in a few drums. They don't really fit yet though but I'm sure they'll get there. Created a really nice guitar synth line that adds a lot of atmosphere. I need to learn to just get stuff down and not focus on dumb stuff. I spent 20 minutes just trying to figure out how to change the pitch of a "riser" and then didn't even use the sound.

Day 3

I didn't technically write any more tonight but I moved things around like a jigsaw and all of a sudden, the track flowed a lot better. I spent the rest of the time creating the bass sound in Reason instead of using a stock synth in Kontakt. I like to write with tweaked stock sounds to get my ideas down quickly but when I come back to the song, I really like to dive into creating my own sounds for some of the instruments. I got distracted halfway working on the piece and made myself a spreadsheet to use as a sort of contact database after receiving a message from someone on Instagram. I realised I needed to build up a list of contacts I interact with in order to build better relationships.

Day 4

It's now almost a full track! It still might be a bit short but I'll extend a section if I feel I need to at the end. Tonight was all about going into the individual tracks and making sure they sounded good as single entities. I had to remove the bypass I'd attached to the drums so I could apply some effects like phaser and bitcrusher but that meant I couldn't keep the neat little mechanical sounds that were on the same track. I can always come back later and duplicate the track to just add those in though.

I created a gentle piano outro in contrast to the rest of the track and finished on a D major to add some optimism to an entire song that was written in D minor.

Day 5

That's all the instrumentation done! I added a whole new drum kit in as I wasn't happy with just the one; it didn't have enough power. I also threw in a swelling distorted guitar pad, again to build the track up but to also simulate a large string section while sticking to the synth sound of the track. Next will be the mixing process.

Day 6

I thought I was done with the instrumentation but I wasn’t, It definitely needed some real instruments in there so I added in some overdriven guitar running through BIAS amps and swapped the bass synth for a real 70s jazz bass. After mixing and EQing it all, I applied a little reverb to about half the instruments that needed it. Finally, I brightened up a couple of the instruments using the Noveltech Character plugin.


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