At the age of 18, Billie Eilish has already won five Grammy Awards. The Los Angeles-based singer’s genre-shifting sounds can be heard on her chart-topping debut album, which was produced in a bedroom at her parents’ house.
Home is where the heart is
The evolution of digital audio workstations (DAWs) has had a huge impact on how music can be produced at home. These applications initially had potential but there were limits to what they could achieve. Now, it is easier than ever to turn an idea into a record.
Finneas O’Connell is the brother of Eilish and he produced every single song on her award-winning “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” project. Sound on Sound reports that the pair produced their hits using Mac-based DAW Logic Pro X.
“I love listening to music more than anything and I never get tired of listening to music,” O’Connell said, as reported by Sound on Sound.
“I also have always been obsessed with how music was made, and where people record it, and have always wanted to do that myself.”
It was this love for music that got the musician into producing from a young age. Logic helped him apply his passion and develop on his skills.
”I started doing that when I was 13, when I got Logic I put a lot of focus and energy into learning how to record, because it was so fascinating to me.”
The right tools
All of the music heard on the hit track “Ocean Eyes” was created using Logic stock sounds, which were tweaked using EQ and layering techniques. O’Connell’s minimalistic approach meant that he used three main plug-ins on the song.
These tools were Spectrasonics Omnisphere, Keyscape, and Trillion. The producer then recorded live instruments such as acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and bass and edited them on the platform. Quantising has had a huge impact on the industry as any off-beat recordings can be fixed with ease using DAWs.
O’Connell isn’t the only young artist that is making use of modern technology to efficiently produce music. Fellow Californian Steve Lacy has been making ground by making tracks produced just by pairing his guitar with his iPhone.
The guitarist has also contributed to Grammy-winning albums. He laid strings on Pride, a track on Kendrick Lamar’s critically-acclaimed DAMN.
Less is more
Previously, it was a costly process for musicians to get their music recorded. For a high-quality recording, it would cost thousands for studio space and time, not to mention the high cost of recording equipment. Now, modern musicians are showing that a minimalistic approach can produce a maximized sound.
Along with this, the internet and newer technologies make it possible for musicians to collaborate without having to meet up. If singers need extra bass on their tracks, they can send them to producers online for them to edit and send back. Therefore, further time and money is saved.
Additionally, it was a drawn-out procedure to get music published and distributed. Upcoming artists had to rely heavily on investment and backing from third-party companies to get their music heard.
However, they can now publish a song online instantly and go through different experiments before announcing an official album.
Altogether, the development of new technology is both a blessing and a curse in modern music. With less investment made in the process, many popular songs fail to leave a legacy as there is less risk involved.
However, as the relationship between modern tech and musicians continues to mature, the result could continue to be positive as many artists have already shown.
What are your thoughts on how the way mainstream music is produced is changing? Let us know what you think in the comment section.