Today we’re going to talk about a topic that many people miss, but it’s really important to get this straight.
When most people start learning about music, they usually start learning about music theory. However, what people don’t understand, is that in these days, music genre is not just about music theory, but about music production as well.
I have received many times the question: "How can I sound like band X ?" . These can be bands like Nirvana, Rolling Stones or The Prodigy.
It is important to note that music defined not only by what you play, but also, by how it sounds. This might seem self-evident, but then again, why don’t people understand that the guitars and amplifiers that Rolling Stones use, are completely different from the effects that they are using in their effort to imitate them?
So for example, let’s take Nine Inch Nails. Their sound is driven by digital distortion. There is no way ever you can imitate their sound, if you don’t use this kind of distortion. 80s bands used a lot the chorus and flanger effects. And classic rock bands, used a lot analog distortion.
Sound design is an essential ingredient of modern music. So, you should always take in into account when you are writing and recording music.
It isn’t rare to write a tune using a dry guitar signal, that outright sucks, and then add distortion, to find it sounds like a hit. Additionaly, effects, not only alter the sound, but they can alter the notes as well. For example, if you use delay, you are adding a rythmic element that didn’t excist previously. The same happens with flanger and phaser.
If you think about it, it’s pretty much like when you are listening to a beethoven sonata on the piano, and then some guy plays in on his guitar. It’s not the same thing. Actually, it’s not even close, no matter how good the guitarist is.
This could be due to wrong choice of effects
This is why learning how to use effects for sound design is important.
First, define your genre and your goals.
Secondly, listen to artists of the style you are trying to imitate.
Third, experiment with effects, to try to recreate the desired sound.
Once you master this, the next step would be to try and make your "own" sound. Like all instruments have a sound of their own, the same is true for the effects.
I am planning to include tutorials on specific effects and VSTs so that you can get started somewhat easier