BILLAIN Q&A

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    • #2241
      ,GENIE HQ
      Keymaster

      Hi Everyone,

      Following on from Billain’s tutorial last month, he is going to be answering your production questions here over the coming few days…
      Feel free to ask him questions and also send links to your tunes for him to check out and give feedback on. Just some rules first:

      1. One question only – And keep it as short and to the point as possible. Long dissertations will be removed.

      2. If you want to show him a track, just send one, and your best thing. He will leave one positive point and one negative point (if there is one) about it. Please only post if you are prepared for this!

      It’s all moderated, so please be nice and play by the rules!

      PS Sunday 2nd August is when the Q&A begins..

    • #2260
      ,Craz
      Participant

      What a privilege! Thanks for this sick opportunity to get in touch!

      what sort of things are you paying attention to most when creating such powerful builds. the progression of energy is so fluid. am i just not spending enough time on it? seems no matter how long i spend it’s always lacking. or are there a couple “parameters” you pay attention to while producing the build?

      here’s a little clip of something i did recently: https://soundcloud.com/crazofficial/dojo-bassment-fades-preview

      would love to hear your thoughts on this one πŸ™‚

      thanks!!
      geoff

      • #2298
        ,Adis
        Participant

        Craz

        In its core to explaining the approach, i believe when i started young it was a game of trials and errors, which naturally lead to improvements so if you constantly fail at one thing you will constantly succeed in another and learn from mistakes. When i approach my builds, i always think about does it sound futuristic or not / have i heard this somewhere before as well. The strategy behind the builds is a plenty of highend which is more free ( ( there is more stuff you can put there ). In terms of multiple cool and exciting uplifters. And there is so much you can put on the build and carve your way. Also listen to the music in movie trailers for example, how the builds are moving toward what picture and use that example to imagine your drop as an important movie frame and try to understand what happened in the trailer, so it gives you one cinematic direction that works very good.

        In your Dojo track you have a skilled front of the track, now it is time to play with background subtle sounds small effects that dont interfere with this front and more uplifting power on the start. i still find lots of pitching up synth and short loops rotating faster and faster to be the best thing berofe the drop. Audience is still demanding that kind of tease in club standards. But dont let that be the guide, confuse those fu#ers, they are there because they love science drops.

    • #2263
      ,Will
      Participant

      Hey Billain! Thanks so much for doing this πŸ™‚

      Could you give me some ideas about how to fill out a track? I usually finish a tune with about 20 tracks and hear that it needs something but never know what to add.

      Also, here is a track I finished recently:

      Id love some feedback!

      EZ,
      Will

      • #2299
        ,Adis
        Participant

        Will

        For the example on Lightah track i can give you some particular ideologies that work on other tunes as well. Track should always have more dimensions then one layerish streaming summing feel. Add more stereo reverb on this startup sawtooth lead will widen the track, some of the short fx, some echos always bring justice to the old vibey tracks slam this amenbreak to a brickwall and bring more sub by using Rbass from waves and give some reverb to a bass that opens with a filter so its tail brings the distance in the track.

        For the ideas around the track, persussions and more effects are a must ( especially fx ) since we live in the special effects world, from cinema to game industry the wide mass has accepted the term suprising new sounds of weird zaps! πŸ™‚

    • #2277
      ,[email protected]
      Participant

      Hello Billain, i absolutely love your work sir!!!
      please could you give a few tips on mixing reese bass with foley sound and how to get them to sit together without sounding like two separate sounds stuck together.
      in other words: how to make them sound like one sound.
      thanks
      Si.

      • #2301
        ,Adis
        Participant

        [email protected]

        There are multiple ways, but you know that they all depend on their own variables, so you need to search for variables in terms of what sits best on each other, and you can do that by first let the reece sidechain this foley, then try vice versa, some sharp fast movements can glue this trough good sidechain. Other approach can is highpass one channel lowpass other and find their good coexisting middle, then try both of these approaches sidechain plus filtering, try a distortion at their meeting channel where you send them on one channel. and then third aproach is you timestretch for a bit just to check if a good moment happens on both of them until you find something interesting. once you set up this modus operandi save it as a template “reece and foley research” so you open it and try replacing samples and record those sessions until you record hours of these and find the best pieces to cut it.

    • #2281
      ,Adis
      Participant

      Hi guys. Im finally online after some vast amounts of works in progress, and will take my time to give you answers and feedbacks here, so feel free to talk to me about your problems, ambitions and pure nerdisms ;).

    • #2289
      ,Eric
      Participant

      Hey Adis, long time fan. Glad that you are taking some questions. Just a few for you.

      1. Before starting a new track, how do you generally split up designing your sounds for the track? Separate projects each for bass samples, pad samples, drums etc.?

      2. Do you have any tips for obtaining a tighter groove between bassline and drums?

      3. Would you care to explain in any detail how to setup filters in z-plane for bass? I understand the fundamentals of the procedure but have only obtained morph filtering instead of z-plane

      Many thanks, from one collection of stardust to another πŸ™‚

      • #2352
        ,Adis
        Participant

        Eric

        1. Before starting a new track, how do you generally split up designing your sounds for the track? Separate projects each for bass samples, pad samples, drums etc.?

        Well i dont tbh, because i find some stuff useful for other tunes as well. After all breeding the breeds give new breeds in terms of layering layers of basslines, effects, or kicks / snares. Its a big mess, but keeping the strict numerics in libraries helps to have an order with vast amounts of samples. There is a certain moment “i dont have what i want in this track, so i need to make it for that track which is true for example.” most of the cases its pads or intro synths logically.

        2. Do you have any tips for obtaining a tighter groove between bassline and drums?

        They all differ, perhaps a hierarchy of layers is the most logical answer, attack should supress layer two which is midsnare, midsnare should supress whitenoise and whiteish tails of the snare and then summing to one channel to tighten them up with desired compression / distortion clipping / transient plugin. Same goes towards bassline and then you get to see its the same principle branching out like a fractal, all suppressing hierarchy, but thats also a style of music, so it might differ to someone else’s books

        3. Would you care to explain in any detail how to setup filters in z-plane for bass? I understand the fundamentals of the procedure but have only obtained morph filtering instead of z-plane

        Hardly here, imagine a cube in 3d space and a dot inside which is a variable traveling to xyz so thats 6 xy pads working together to explaing this movement in a cube and every side is routed to one filter so 6 times 2 is 12 automations which can be applied to filters distortions and whole channelchains. It is more then a filter now. Fl studio is good for even creating some projects that are actually instruments. This is the sidechained principle of the zplane which i upgraded to my needs.

        Many thanks, from one collection of stardust to another πŸ™‚

    • #2302
      ,Craz
      Participant

      sincerely appreciate the guidance/wisdom adis!

    • #2318
      ,[email protected]
      Participant

      Hi Adis!

      Whats your oppinion on this wierdness:

      https://soundcloud.com/percy_tc/warboys

      Question 1: I often found myself to overdistort things. I have finally figured out which is works for me, but i would be intrested to have some practical tips on distortions?

      Question 2: Can you advice a nice sample manipulation tool besides samplers?

      Question 3: Do you find Sherman Filterbank useful?

      • #2353
        ,Adis
        Participant

        Hi Adis!

        Whats your oppinion on this wierdness:

        Its solid, but arrangement wise its more of a tool for mixing than an actual track due to no intro and no buildup development. production wise it sounds okay and in place.

        Question 1: I often found myself to overdistort things. I have finally figured out which is works for me, but i would be intrested to have some practical tips on distortions?

        We live in the distortion century actually, so it is a matter of main artists to go over the edge just like what happened with electronic harness of drum and bass bests discoveries and exploiting our treasures to edm. So what they dont understand yet after all those wobbles and screamers is that overdistortion is the new old cool thing, and i think now its all about who has more metal teeth to tear the cones apart on the club systems. So it is trully madmax time for the dnb scene and there is never enough distortions, where some very cool results happen with overdoing sessions.

        Question 2: Can you advice a nice sample manipulation tool besides samplers?

        Reaktor is El Dorado for that. Not much people understand the potential of vast community making sample manipulation ensembles, but i do and i can tweak some when i get bored since the architecture is open.

        Question 3: Do you find Sherman Filterbank useful?

        Very, very, useful.

    • #2319
      ,Ruben D
      Participant

      greetings, love the work also you’re versatility been an FL power user.

      how do you battle writers block and i’m an FL12 user should i go back to 10 or continue under 12?

      feedback:

      • #2391
        ,Adis
        Participant

        ruben d ruiz

        greetings, love the work also you’re versatility been an FL power user.

        how do you battle writers block and i’m an FL12 user should i go back to 10 or continue under 12?

        You fight writers block by going in the nature, We forget how loud the cities are. In other ways, i find drawing a very good practice to keep my synaesthesia strong and alive, and drawing does help in keeping this audiovisual bridge streaming with crossover inspirations. If all of that fails, i strongly reccomend becoming an anime enthusiast πŸ˜‰

        track feedback:

        You need some more time overall around all the elements here, drums needs more punch to it, track dynamic as well, more sub, knowing what to put in front and what in back. Most of these lessons you can find on this website, from drum processing to different bassline approaches, so take your time in analysing these videos as they will surely improve the things lacking in this track, and future projects.

    • #2325
      ,Mofisch
      Participant

      Hey thanks for this opportunity and you taking the time!
      And a late Happy Birthday!!!

      My one question is:
      How do you program drums? Especially the ghost hits and percussion?
      Are you analysing a loop you like, render audio to midi and use a drumsampler or machine to exchange the sounds or do you build them from scratch? I know there is probably not “one” way, but is there maybe a way you do most often?

      Thank you very much!

      • #2445
        ,Adis
        Participant

        Mofisch

        Thank you very much!

        I use my ears and use very messy and dense old funk breaks / drums highpassed because they have a lot of potential that can surface and bring the dirt and humanize the dead front. The variations of searching and tweraking those include trying them on different pitch and using transients to kill heavy attacks so the main punch remains the front, but if i want to mess on purpose i will keep them louder but kill them with sidechain killing their peak whenever main kick and snare punches, sometimes even main hats kill the ghosts for the sake of interesting developments in their coexistence , thing are a free ground after all, and as long as you understand that there is no specific rule in searching for an interesting color of the groove, you will find inovative grooves with their coexistence, and ghost play a very important part of it. Slicers are the best tools for everything.

    • #2327
      ,Antelope
      Participant

      I’m confused, it says that we’re only allowed to ask one question but people have been asking multiple. I have a lot that I want to ask, but I’ll keep it at one question because that message seemed pretty threatening…

      Billain, you’re one of my favourite producers and I’ve read and re-read your Dogs on Acid Q/A multiple times where you hinted at your Z-Plane filtering techniques, but didn’t really explain what it actually is or what makes it different to regular parallel filtering. Could you explain how you created your Z-Plane filter ’emulations’ in detail, and explain how we could set up something similar ourselves? Thank you very much!

      • #2339
        ,GENIE HQ
        Keymaster

        Thanks for paying attention Antelope!
        So far we haven’t followed up our deathly, scary threat… but we might! x

      • #2446
        ,Adis
        Participant

        Antelope

        That is true you could call this one a parallel if you take 3 axis and bring them back on the same output. But i think z-plane is and old name for that.

        on one explanation earlier here i stated this.
        3. Would you care to explain in any detail how to setup filters in z-plane for bass? I understand the fundamentals of the procedure but have only obtained morph filtering instead of z-plane

        Hardly here, imagine a cube in 3d space and a dot inside which is a variable traveling to xyz so thats 6 xy pads working together to explaining this movement in a cube and every side is routed to one filter so 6 times 2 is 12 automations which can be applied to filters distortions and whole channel chains. It is more then a filter now. Fl studio is good for even creating some projects that are actually instruments. This is the side chained principle of the z-plane which i upgraded to my needs.

        Now you can parallel eq states as well and their movement from one eq to another can be declared as filtering operation, The interesting list goes on when you make parallel z-plane effects chain.

    • #2340
      ,Alex
      Participant

      What are the 3 most important eureka moments you have had that turned your productions from amateur to the professional quality tunes you produce today?

      Thanks for taking the time to engage with fans/fellow producers.

      • #2447
        ,Adis
        Participant

        Alex
        What are the 3 most important eureka moments you have had that turned your productions from amateur to the professional quality tunes you produce today?

        1
        The punch the main drop delivers, as a carefully planned brushstrokes that finally all sit in their proper places.

        2
        The power of eq and velocity as you start to understand the eq can also be dry/wet and there should never be a volume constant in a carefully planned storyline of your vision. Track becomes alive.

        3
        Dat snare. It’s Fu#[email protected] true! That @!#! snare. And the best of all, its your own signature snare, made from scratch.

    • #2354
      ,laserrain
      Participant

      Finding extensive bandpass filtering results in the most evocative and expressive movements when applied to bass noises, but at the cost of thinning and weakening them. What are your favourite methods for maintaining aggression and presence despite substantial filtering on your bass sounds?

      How do you cope with your Virus TI adding low-level noise when running sounds through its inputs, as you presumably put things through it a few times, and distortion and limiting quickly brings noise into audible territory.

      Thank you Adis, love your art.

      • #2448
        ,Adis
        Participant

        laserrain
        Finding extensive bandpass filtering results in the most evocative and expressive movements when applied to bass noises, but at the cost of thinning and weakening them. What are your favourite methods for maintaining aggression and presence despite substantial filtering on your bass sounds?

        How do you cope with your Virus TI adding low-level noise when running sounds through its inputs, as you presumably put things through it a few times, and distortion and limiting quickly brings noise into audible territory.

        Thank you Adis, love your art.

        Different distortion plugins flattens some profound bandpass problems most of the time in my case, so i kinda believe this rule can easily be adopted by other producers as well. Ohmicide, Subvert, Reaktor user community distortion plugins. In other cases slamming a signal to spl vitalizer mk2-t outboard hardware unit.

        Depends, i rarely remember about that low level noise since im a balkan nomad maxing even inputs XD. I dont have problems with that, if i go into micro sound design, i clean in afterwards if i need to. But in my books noise is kinda natural thing of its own. So 50/50.
        I like dirty samples. Juno 106 is my favourite dirtsaw. For those who dont like it you can always clean it by capturing noise profile and killing it, well i keep it as simple as that.

    • #2362
      ,Dominic
      Participant

      Greetings Adis I’m a long term listener/lover of the music/sound design you create, I think its very important for sound/music that art like this is created so we progress more as a species in to the unexplored.
      I am still new to this world but am determined to go deeper and darker, more science fiction more layers more weird.. maybe you have some directions?
      This is a version of just a track I have done recently, mixdown is clean but I think too clean, sterile and not enough layers. I have been analyzing your releases, just figured main bass sounds are near fully mono, this seems important. I guess I am taking this opportunity to thank you already for how you have altered my imagination and opened my eyes to the next levels of production/sound design and what is possible and also what is possible but not made yet.
      Track is Butterfly, to me butterfly is a huge crystalline being who is worshiped like a god figure by those who fear it because they don’t understand it. There aren’t enough sounds in the production to tell the story, intro also ended up representing jungle/anime to me, thank you for your time and much love,
      DOM
      https://soundcloud.com/obfek/butterfly3b3superteck3final2b/s-Fb3zl

    • #2436
      ,Kevin
      Participant

      Hello,
      Billain i think it is very cool that you do this, thank you.

      Stephen King would write at least 3000 words per day and then recover and read books as an exercise to improve as an author.
      What do you think would be good exercises to improve as a sound designer/music producer?

      What would you have been glad to know about if somebody had told it to you earlier in your life ? (does not necessarily need to be something about production, i would be happy about life tips from billain too πŸ™‚ )

      • #2561
        ,Adis
        Participant

        Kevin

        Well it seems that the drill is actually the same. I was actually in that kind of a process where i would create loads of samples per day, and then read about every vst news known to man. This seems to be stuck with me forever. The thing is, you may never need anyones samples ever.

        1
        That i should have put out the tunes out even the ones that i felt they were shitty ( because when i listen to them now, i still kinda like them ).
        2
        That you should be even more eccentric about everything, because rules are just things invented by humans.
        3
        That there would be no half life episode 3.

    • #2437
      ,kromik
      Participant

      hello Adis,
      I’m a fan of yours, and I love your filters and distortion sounds.
      Do you always use only the sherman in your mixes for distortion, or I need any vst for help me to sound great?
      I use Live and IΒ΄m thinking in create a channel strip with any compresor like Glue (Cytomic) after sherman. Is a good idea?
      Thank you so much for all.

      • #2562
        ,Adis
        Participant

        Kromik

        Not always, it depends on what im making, but varies on everything from melodies basslines to drums. in any other cases that are more controllable i use subvert from glitchmachines and ohmicide.

        Sherman does overdo things if you push it hard enough so yeah i put limiter to keep things safe. so putting a compressor is a must.

    • #2474
      ,Eric
      Participant

      Thank you for the replies! Very useful information. If you don’t mind me asking, how do you generally separate/organize your sample library?

      • #2563
        ,Adis
        Participant

        Eric

        Thank you for the replies! Very useful information. If you don’t mind me asking, how do you generally separate/organize your sample library?

        lots of folders like these of dnb for example

        DNB1

        DNB1-SNARES
        DNB1-ATMO
        DNB1-BASS
        DNB1-PERCS
        DNB1-FX
        DNB1-LIFTERS
        DNB1-PADS
        DNB1-SYNTH
        DNB1-LOOPS
        DNB1-KICKS
        DNB1-VOCALS
        DNB1-FOLEY
        DNB1-STRETCH
        DNB1-STRINGS
        DNB1-HIHATS
        DNB1-CUTS
        DNB1-REECE

        the samples are in the folders as follows
        DNB1-SNARE1

        etc etc.
        now theres tons of these and it is easy to keep a track of them.

    • #2504
      ,GENIE HQ
      Keymaster

      thanks for all your questions.
      Some great insights and food for thought from Billain in here…

      The thread is now closed and won’t be taking any new questions, but we will get this into a PDF doc and easy to read… it will be posted as a members only news item ASAP!

      See you in the next geek out :p

    • #2519
      ,Daniel
      Participant

      Billain please come to ayia napa id love it if came here big fan or guaba beach bar that would be the tits . please can you tell what effects you use on your voice samples cheers

      • #2564
        ,Adis
        Participant

        Billain please come to ayia napa id love it if came here big fan or guaba beach bar that would be the tits . please can you tell what effects you use on your voice samples cheers

        Hehehe. on vocals would be literally everything and i can’t even name you a generally known plugin that i haven’t used it for. If you mean normal vocals i would say guitar rig is pretty nice for colouring mc’s. For alien voices, well glitches and fx chains of different mentality will do proper hit and miss strategies with long recorded sessions. As long as you try lots of effects, you can’t really go wrong with them.

    • #2560
      ,Adis
      Participant

      Dominic

      Directions totally depend on your idea and imagination so i can’t really give you an advice, but i can give you this: Don’t be afraid to try everything. Idea-wise and technical-wise. The best ideas come from weirdest sources, from recording sounds around to making automated fx chains to mangle one sound for 30 times over and over and recording and cutting the sessions…

      The track sounds great, i can see that you have noticed the things you need to add and you’re not wrong about it, i recommend ghostly background heavy wet reverbed fx that are tonal and vary in lenghts. good track overall.

    • #2578
      ,GENIE HQ
      Keymaster

      Thanks Adis for clearing up those last ones πŸ˜€
      Full write-up incoming!!

      ///// Post closed /////

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