Today, Brooklyn artist bad tuner has released his latest work, Back To Me, featuring the vocals of Marie. The Garage-inspired work is deep, soulful, and groovy, with Marie’s pitched-down vocals adding extra warmth and depth. Below, bad tuner breaks down the process of the track’s creation, highlighting the gear he used.
Words and photos by bad tuner
Back To Me started with the breakbeat drums. I chopped them up to give it a slowed-down garage-style rhythm. I then put a 4/4 909 kick pattern over it to make it more housey as it entered the chorus. The rest of the drums consist of a chopped live hat pattern, 909 claps, and 909 open hats. Once you get the open 909s going you’re in house land.
For the bass in this track, I used the matrix 6. I love how smooth and round the bottom of the Wurly 2 patch sounds. I used a low pass filter to take away some of the high end and side chained the kick trigger to the bass so it ducked in volume when the kick hit. [2. WURLY 2 PATCH] [8. MATRIX]
The main keys in this song were played with a Yamaha DX21 layered with a Fender Rhodes. They are being played with different voicings to help create space and dimension. The Rhodes is being processed with a phaser which creates movement and texture.
In the last chorus, I have the TD3  playing a rolling acid-style arp line to build the track in energy. I also added in a few more synth layers with the Oberheim matrix 6 in higher octaves to get the track to its climax.
For the vocals, I connected with songwriter Marie (UK) via Adam from Keys N’ Krates. She sent over vocals to another song I had been working on. They didn’t quite fit over that instrumental but I did really like her style — I was simultaneously working on this instrumental and flew her vocals over it. It was in the wrong key, but I dropped them 4 steps down (pitched lower) to fit them over the chords of this track. It was very cool to have her write vocals for another song and then have them fit over this one! [9. MARIE]
We decided to make a music video for the song so Marie sent me footage of her dancing and singing to the song. I then projected the footage on the wall of my living room, had my friend over to shoot, and played keys and danced along. It felt full circle to have us in the same space for the visual component of the project.
For delay and reverb sends I used an external out from the apollo to send into the hall of fame (reverb) and dm2 (delay). Having those set up as FX sends I was able to do throws live and have more of a raw feel on the automation! [6. PEDALS]
I mixed the track at home using the barefoot mm45 monitors through the apollo twin!