Big Picture Thinking: How To Produce An Epic Pop EDM Song

If you’ve been learning how to make music and feel like you’re skills have plateaued and haven’t quite reached that industry level, then our friend and mentor on the Pyramind mentorship network, Avery Berman, has a great video for you!

Avery has licensed his music with companies like Tesla, MTV, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Uber. He has developed a very straightforward and easy to replicate process that takes a hummed melody to a fully produced hit in no time at all.

In the following video Avery will show you how to make a song using his process, logic pro X and about an hour.

The main steps and points are listed below and you can watch the full video at the bottom.

 

Step 1 – Hum A Melody

A lot of the great producers use this method and it can deliver amazing results. The idea is to sing or hum every part first and record it so that you can use the recording as a reference to re-create the parts in your DAW. If you can hum it in the beginning, you’re audience should be humming it by the end.

 

Step 2 – Write Out The Melody

This is the process of turning your first melodic idea into music in your DAW. Avery starts with a simple piano and draws in or plays in the melody from his phone’s voice memos. Before he goes into sound design, he lays the melodic and chordal structure that will make the core of the entire song.

Quick tips from Avery:

  • At this point, velocity is not as important because you are more focused on the core composition itself. I recommend to keep your velocities relatively the same so you can keep focused on the big picture in this step.
  • Focus on “chunking” your melody. Find elements that you can repeat with small changes. This will solidify your idea in your listeners mind.
  • When it comes to drawing it in or playing it in, he tends to draw it in more often.
  • He quantizes everything and listens back to feel where there needs to be swing or a manual change, then he’ll adjust notes manually to get the feel right.

 

Step 3 – Write A Bassline

Next Avery develops a bassline and just adds it to the lower register in the same piano clip that he composed the melody. You can think of this as filling in the entire frequency spectrum using the piano from bass octaves to high octaves. Again he’s waiting for the sound design phase before he starts worrying about synths and unique instruments, he needs to write the song first.

 

Quick tips from Avery:

  • He copied the rhythm of the melody to start, so every bass note was the same time as the melody note above it.
  • This requires some harmony knowledge of how to create chords.
  • He does hum it first sometimes.
  • He normally looks at the notes he played and asks himself which chord is this outlining.
  • He feels out which bass note feels best depending on where the melody notes are leading him as chordal tones. Where is the melody spending more time in these sections and what chord is it outlining?
  • This one’s a little tricky and comes with some years of experience.
  • If you can’t seem to find a good bassline with the melody. Don’t be afraid to change the melody. It’s just a sketch which can be modified. The bassline might lead your melody.

 

Step 4 – Write Chord Harmonies

Now that the melody is in the high register on the piano, and the bass is in the low register, it’s time to add chords to the middle register. To do this he copies the bass line up and adds intervals to each bass note. He uses whatever notes are in the key of the song to make triads, fifths, sus2, sus4, chords anything that sounds good.

How To Make An Epic Pop EDM Song in 11 Steps - Pyramind

Avery calls this his “sketch” and now that the part has been fully written across the entire frequency spectrum, you can move on to sound design, percussion, FX, ambience, etc.

 

Quick tips from Avery:

  • Start at simple triads and then discover a melody within the chords using suspensions etc
  • The communication of every single piece from the first moment. None of it is arbitrary and it all was birthed from the melody.

 

Step 5 – Sound Design For Your Melody

To begin the sound design phase, he starts by copying the melody into a nice synth and uses Nexus for the sound he’s creating.

 

After getting a nice sound, he adds sidechain compression for pump and ducks the reverb behind the lead with sidechain compression as well.

 

Step 6 – Add Complimentary Synth Layers

In order to “fatten” the sound, he duplicates the lead over to a few synths that complement the first. Now he’s got a big fat sound for the most important part of the song, the melody.

How To Make An Epic Pop EDM Song in 11 Steps - Pyramind

Quick tips from Avery:

  • Think about the sonic “colors” you want to use first, and then go find them in a synth or something else.

 

Step 7 – Add bassline into a nice bass synth

After choosing a synth and dropping in the bass part, he adjusts the note lengths and adds details like pitch bends to help everything work together.

 

Step 8 – Add chord harmonies into a nice saw synth

For this type of track he uses Serum to create a nice saw synth that’s great for EDM chords like this. After he has the first main synth, he duplicates and layers different sounds to make one big, fat sound.

 

After step 8 you should have a full instrumental drop.

 

Step 9 – Add cinematic sound effects that compliment your lead

In this case he uses horns, impacts, crashes, and bass fills to further develop the sound and make the parts more interesting.

KSHMR from Splice sounds is his friend.

 

Step 10 – Add KSHMR Or Other High Quality Drum Samples

  • He starts with a quarter note “top kick” to help it cut through the mix
  • He adds an 1/8th note high-hat
  • Then layers the kick with a nice clap on the 2 and 4
  • Then adds in some toms

With the drums included you should now have a full melodic drum with drums and all.

 

Step 11 – Finish out the song structure by using your main melody and chords as a guide

After sketching out the melodic and chordal structure of the song in the drop, he uses that to inform the other parts of the song.

He wanted to start out more acoustic for this track and then build momentum until the epic drop.

 

Full Video

 

 

Conclusion

As you can see, Avery is a skilled producer and has a clear process to make a song. You can book 1-on-1 time to have Avery work with you on your track in our mentorship network, so find him HERE.

You can also check out more of his content using the links below.

[Instagram]

[Facebook]

[Website]

[YouTube]

 

If you are interested in taking these concepts further, take a look at our Complete Producer Program HERE.  Our flagship, year-long program covers everything from theory, playing the piano, creating music in Ableton Live/Logic Pro, as well as mixing and mastering.  For more information be sure to book a call with our admissions team HERE.

 

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