WATCH: #TheMakingOf | Bathing Suit – Elli Moore | Alina Smith

We visited number-one-selling songwriter and record producer Alina Smith (ITZY, Red Velvet, Fall Out Boy) in her home studio, to delve deeper into the process behind the production and mix of Bathing Suit, by her LYRE MUSIC GROUP counterpart, Elli Moore. 

Taking us into the original Ableton session, Alina demonstrates the magnitude of creative possibilities that come from using your voice to create synth and pad sounds, unveiling the plugins she uses to bring these elements to life.



Hi, I’m Alina Smith, a writer and producer in LYRE Music Group and today I’m going to be showing you the production on Bathing Suit by Elli Moore.

Okay, the first thing I want to point out here – this is a technique I use on every single song I produce. I have a pretty airy voice, and I use it as a pad quite a bit, so you can hear this here.

I really advocate for people using their voices and their natural qualities to enhance their productions and h ere I basically stack several parts, to add a little bit of ‘oomph’ to this post-chorus.

So I accomplish this very simply. Obviously starts with the voice. You have to sing, you know in a soft, airy way. I also use Valhalla Shimmer plugin by Valhalla DSP. It’s one of my favourites, it really does add a shimmer on top of the track. It’s very oddly named.

And I use Center by Waves, which is one of my favourite plugins for vocals. It helps me get background vocals out of the way of the leads by spreading them to the side. This is what it sounds like without processing. As you can tell, quite dull, and this is it with it on. Big difference.

Okay, another technique that I use, pretty much in every song, some people call this chants, I call this gangs. It can be like a ‘yeah’ ‘uh’ like a kind of a yell thing. Or it’s like chanty type of singing, like we have this hook here.

So obviously, we’re trying to emphasise that ‘la la la’ hook and this is a really good way to do it. So the way I’ve accomplished this is the two of us are basically singing these gangs together in the room.

There’s no auto-tune, the mic is pretty far away, like about this distance from us. And we’re just singing very kind of loosely, wildly, it doesn’t have to be too on pitch and too perfect because it’s tucked in under the lead vocal in the mix. This is what it sounds like without any processing.

One of the things though, that makes these gangs for me is the processing. So I have this chain here that I just called ‘Dirty Gang’.

It starts with Decapitator which is a saturation plugin, and then I will take away the lowest part of the frequency range and the highest part of the frequency range.

Then I use my favourite plugin ever, which is Valhalla vintage verb I am known as the ‘Valhalla back girl’. And here I’m just adding a bit of this reverb, you know, a pretty high decay three seconds is pretty significant.

And then we have Center which again spreads it a bit more to the sides . This is what it sounds like with all the processing on.

To create the sound of multiple singers when you’re alone, you have to change the way you sing. You basically need to sing a melody and try to pretend you’re different people you can sing it in like a hooty kind of voice, you can sing very nasally, you can sing it in your normal type of range, type of voice and combining all of these different techniques will make it sound like a group.

There is another technique I want to show you guys that also has to do with using your voice as an instrument. It’s basically singing and re-pitching to make almost like a synth part out of a voice. So I’ll play you guys this pre-chorus part of the song.

So if you listen close, there is a part underneath here that is sort of this very high pitched, floating kind of vocal. This could have been accomplished with the synth, but I chose to just sing this in and process it in a way that makes it sound like this weird like processed synthy high thing.

So I’ll play it solo’d. So obviously if you are an amazing singer and can sing this in whistle tone, you can do that. Most of us are not, so I sing this, I’m pretty sure an octave lower than this. And then what I did is just add reverb on top of it. So it’s very easy to do and quite fun the melodies you can get this way.

We have really great mix and mastering engineers we work with. A lot of the time, the engineers will do the bulk of the work on their own. But we will get together with them on Zoom using LISTENTO and we will give notes and they can just in real time, fix those final tweaks for us.

Neil Dowd
Author: Neil Dowd