We paid number-one-selling songwriter and record producer Alina Smith a visit in her LA home studio, to delve deeper into the process behind the writing and production of ‘Bathing Suit’, the infectiously catchy single by the other half of songwriting duo LYRE MUSIC GROUP, Elli Moore.
Built on echoing percussion, Elli’s delicately layered breathy vocals and huge 808s, Alina breaks down how one of her favorite techniques was instrumental in bringing the distinctive vibe of track to life: using and layering her own voice to build and layer luxurious pads, revealing her favorite plugins to do so.
Creating pads with your voice: 0:18
Making your vocal hooks stand out: 1:37
Plugins used – Gang Vocals: 2:34
Recording gang vocals with one person: 3:15
Making your voice into a synth: 3:36
Hi, I’m Alina Smith, a writer and producer and LYRE MUSIC GROUP and today I’m going to be showing you the production on ‘Bathing Suit’ by Ellie Moore.
Okay, the first thing I want to point out here is this is a technique I use in 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 here I basically stack several parts, you know, to kind of add a little bit of oomph to this post- chorus.
So when 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 centre 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 chance I call this gangs, it can be like ‘Yeah’, ‘Uh’, a kind of a yell thing. Or it’s like chanty type of singing. We have this hook here, so obviously, we’re trying to emphasise that lalala 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 autotune, 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 gains 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 centre which again spreads it a bit more to the side. 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 hoody kind of voice, you can sing it very nasally, you can sing it in your normal type of range type 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 is 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 a synth, but I chose to just sing this in and process it in a way that makes it sound like this weird like process and synthy high thing so I’ll play it solo. So obviously if you are an amazing singer and can sing this 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 times 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 you can just in real time, fix those final tweaks for us.
Follow Alina and Elli and keep up to date what they do next.
Alina Smith: https://www.instagram.com/thealinasmith/
Elli Moore: https://www.instagram.com/ellimoore/
LYRE MUSIC GROUP: https://www.instagram.com/lyremusicgroup/