Zeds Dead and Blunts & Blondes have always been an obvious match made in heaven, it was only a question of when.
Well the wait is over and the answer is now with Zeds Dead and Blunts & Blondes’ latest collab track titled “When I Think of You,” which you can check out below.
Making Music Like Zeds Dead and Blunts & Blonde
A lot more goes into making music like Zeds Dead and Blunts & Blondes than most newer producers and fans think. The bass-heavy wobbles and the added layers of modulation across the length of the project requires an incredible amount of attention to detail and nuance (even if the whole goal is to make the crowd hang-bang their way into oblivion on the dance floor).
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And we wanted to get to the bottom of exactly how these guys made their latest Deadbeats Records release.
So they let us sit down with them and ask five questions about what went into the making of this track, so that we can learn how “When I Think of You” was made.
1 – What synth did you use for this track’s signature bass sound, and what parameter(s) or production techniques give it such an interesting movement?
I used two different synths on “Think of You.” One is a plug-in, called VIP, that hosts a bunch of other different plug-ins. I used a basic square wave and added some EQ and compression.
After that, I throw a little Trash 2 (a distortion plug-in) with more EQ and compression. The second layer is just a square wave from Serum, then I messed with the octave of the sample and it ended up sounding really cool!
2 – Tell me of a mixing plugin you couldn’t have made this record without and share how you used it in a way newer producers might not expect?
Honestly, the Ableton stock plugins are extremely powerful. They are very straightforward and teach you the bare bones of what the plug-in does.
A lot of people fall into the trap of buying a bunch of sick, expensive plugins, but then just find themselves using Ableton stock because they work so well.
3 – Where did you find the drum samples for this track and did you do any unique processing on them to give them the character that they have?
I’ve been collecting samples for years now, and I just have an idea of what kind of drums I like. I think what makes drums stand out in a track is how well you can humanize them.
How well you can trick the listener into thinking there is an actual drummer keeping a rhythm, rather than someone programming samples on a grid. An easy way to do this is to slightly move your drum samples off grid as well as mess with the volume throughout.
See in the above MIDI clip how some velocities are changed and notes adjusted off of grid? That can be a great way to make your drums feel more human (and not like a laptop played them)
4 – How difficult was it to work with these vocals? What is the processing chain you used to give them the power and confidence that they have?
The vocals weren’t really difficult at all. I use Little AlterBoy and SerumFX. A lot of the “power” I think you’re speaking towards usually comes out of a tune in the mastering phase.
5 – Did you use any reference tracks while composing and mixing this track? I’d love to know a few songs that are inspiring you guys lately.
I reference all my tracks with GRiZ and I’s tune, “Juicy”. That’s just for the overall loudness. In order to get some inspiration, I tried to listen to older Zeds Dead stuff, as well as old school Flux Pavilion and RL Grime