Interview with Hindsight Bias

American Folk + Reggaeton + Bass Music

Interview with Hindsight Bias

You’ve written a beautiful song. What genres did you combine in it?

Thank you! It’s like a folk music vocal with a reggaeton beat, and then the beat drop is kind of like trap or bass music.

Please tell us about the vocal – who’s the singer, and who wrote the lyrics?

I am the singer. I wrote the song and lyrics first before producing it. The falsetto stuff came from messing around later. Writing this song took a long time–I had many past versions, and finally settled on these lyrics from a couple different options. It’s about transitioning, like saying goodbye to someone or a certain time of life, and being on both sides of that interaction. So I worked on it mostly when that situation was applicable to me.

How did your creative process work for this track?

I started with the chords and the melody–just on the piano. I was playing around with folk/country-sounding chords and it slowly developed into an idea that became the melody. I tried a few variations on the chords, speed, and key before I ended up with the current version.

Then came the vocals–first the chorus, then the verses. Just the main line though–harmonies didn’t come in until the recording process. The falsetto singing over the drop came from a recording session I was doing alone to put together a demo-ish version. I ran it through an amp and thought it sounded really cool, so I stuck with it.

Production-wise, I had the framework of the vocal in my head (verses, choruses, outro), and worked on it from that structure. I knew I wanted a beat drop/bigger instrumental section after each chorus. So I filled out each section–intro/verse, chorus, drop, and outro, adding fills and transitions along the way. Then comes checking it over–making sure the buildups are big enough, and making sure it never feels like it loses energy. At the end I added more melodic fills–just instruments that only occur once in a couple places to keep it interesting.

That’s a really condensed version of the process though–the drums and instruments are all layered, and I mixed along the way. I handled the initial bus processing on everything, and then brought dry stems (just without reverb) to the recording session.

In the recording studio, I worked with the studio engineer, Landon, to put together the harmonies and vocal layering, align the vocal, add reverbs, create an additional touch-based effect, do additional mixing, and master the song.

How complex is your DAW session, are there a lot of layers of sounds?

It’s reasonably complex. In my Logic session, there are 3-4 layers for the bass, pads, and snares, and a couple for the pianos. The percussion is pretty varied, and I wanted to make sure to have lots of different fills and FX to keep it interesting. I have to bounce as much of the processing to audio as possible to avoid system overloads.

Then, after the initial session, there’s a separate ProTools session of just the audio tracks in the studio. There is additional hardware and software processing from that session, and we added a lot of additional automation.

What are your favorite music production tools and plugins?

For saturation/distortion I’m a big fan of Izotope Trash 2, the Soundtoys Decapitator, and the Native Instruments Driver. For basses, I really like Output Substance and Serum. There are so many good options. And for samples, I really like Splice. I have a huge library on my own, but it’s really valuable to be able to search for something to fill a specific spot in the song. The Kush/Sly-Fi Bundle is also pretty cool for preamps and compressors.

When you were starting out as a musician, did you think you’d be making this kind of music?

Not at all. I was trying to make progressive house like Avicii or Swedish House Mafia. It’s funny to think about it.

It evolved into alternative influenced by dance music, and now this kind of bass music.

Who are your biggest influences?

Bleachers (Jack Antonoff), Porter Robinson, Queen, Louis Armstrong, Louis the Child, Whethan, and the Mowgli’s are a few, but I listen to a lot of music.

Do you have a favorite tip you’d like to share with other music producers? What are some cool techniques that you like to use in your music?

If you want your tom fills to cut through, a 3-5k EQ bump makes the world of a difference. To clean up reverb tails, automate them to 0 before the next section comes in or use gates. If you use a stock pitch shifting plugin on a guitar or bass layer, set it to 1 octave, and leave the dry/wet at like 40%, it can really help the bass cut through, and the delay that gets introduced from the pitching algorithm can help a sampled bass sound more like a real bass (creates almost like a picking sound).

For production in general, it’s really important to make space. If there’s a fill, let it shine on it’s own. If there’s a huge kick, have some sections where it isn’t present. Contrast is what creates excitement.

Who would you love to collaborate with?

Jack Antonoff or Porter Robinson. I’d like to work with other singers at some point too.

What’s next for you as a musician?

I have a few songs done. I’m trying to just keep writing all the time and release as soon as I can get the infrastructure together. I would love to make a career out of this.


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