This is an exciting post to write. I decided to produce a remake of the drop of Madeon’s new track “All My Friends” and you can watch the full 2 h+ raw production video here, or the shorter more compact video here.
So what’s so special about this track? Well, Madeon hasn’t released anything in 3 years and this was a highly anticipated track that probably all his fans have waited for with big patience.
I myself am probably his biggest fan (not really, but I do love his music and style of production. I also asked him if he’s a horse a few years ago, which he confirmed) and since I already made a remake of one of his older remixes of “Raise Your Weapon” by deadmau5 (that has gathered quite a few thousand views) I decided that this would be a fun project to do.
This track is a much more simple track than most of his older productions, especially since he started off producing one of the most complex genres. I guess a few fans were pretty disappointed by the simplicity, but I for one love it. It reminds me of Jon Bellion’s track Guillotine, which is another favorite of mine. But whatever, let’s get into this sh*t.
When listening to the track for the first time, most people probably remember the bass and the bass line. It’s actually a really interesting bass from a production standpoint as well. When listening to it in headphones, you can hear that it’s extremely wide which seems to be achieved with some kind of chorus or dimension expander.
I chose to split up the bass in two layers; one sub bass and one mid / high bass. The sub bass is extremely simple since it’s basically just a filtered saw bass made in Xfer Serum. The mid bass is a bit more advanced.
My absolute favorite free acoustic bass plugin is called Ample Bass P Lite II, and of course I just had to use it in this project. First off I just replicated the MIDI in the piano roll, which was a bit harder than I thought but I got it down. Then I noticed that the lower D note wasn’t available in the bass plugin, so I had to write it an octave higher. The problem with this is that the deep bass feel disappears, but whatever.
The post processing is fairly simple. First off I used OTT to compress it a bit and to get that typical OTT sound. Then I applied some very weird EQ’s to mainly boost the highs and cut some mid frequencies. This was done by constantly referencing the original and trying to match the original bass. As you may hear in the raw production video, this creates some unnecessary highs, which I later cut by using a couple of SerumFX 6 dB lowpass filters.
In order to make room for the sub bass, I cut all frequencies under 100 Hz. The stereo effect was initially made using Waves CLA Bass chorus / widener / stereo thingy (?) but I felt like SerumFx’s hyper / dimension replicated the original much better.
One thing that bothered me was that the bass seemed to get some delay by using the first few plugins, or just from the plugin itself, I’m not totally sure. I rendered out the bass, matched it to the beat in the playlist and routed it to a new channel where I put the last couple effects; Fabfilter Pro Q 2 to cut the lows (<200 Hz) out of the side channel and Waves L2 to get rid of peaks.
The drums are pretty simple, but doesn’t 100% match the original. I have no idea how Madeon creates his drums (it’s probably his own great samples that does the magic) but I tried at least.
The kick consists of 3 layers, bottom, mid and high. The bottom and the mid layers are pretty straight forward, but I made sure that the top layer had some kind of hi-hat in it. The other hi-hats also plays on every beat to exaggerate the highs.
To get that sweeping feeling of the snare / clap I used two layers that both are pre shifted and placed some milliseconds before the beat. Nothing special here really.
Hi-hats are made of a loop placed into Slicex and played with MIDI notes inside the piano roll. Nothing special here either.
The rest of the drums are just a couple of samples making up a fill as well as a cymbal at the start of every 4 bars. These, together with all the other drums, are routed into a drum bus on which I placed a couple of EQ’s, a small reverb to get some room feels and a Waves L2 limiter that limits the peak when the kick and snare is playing at the same time. Okay, that’s all about the drums.
There are only 4 melodic elements in this part of the track (not counting the bass); a piano, two types of muted guitar and a heavily sidechained pad.
The piano (which I for some reason called Rhodes in the project) is the beautiful preset “Retro Stereo” in the Modern Upright piano inside Addictive Keys. This matches the original piano pretty well, even though I’m sure Madeon is using some kind of extremely expensive recorded piano (or not, I have no idea). It’s post processed with a Waves C4 multiband compressor that compresses the low- and mid frequencies, a standard fruity parametric EQ that removes the lows (< 150 Hz) and a Fabfilter Pro Q 2 that lowers some of the low / mid frequencies on the side signal as well as some of the high frequencies on the mid signal. This makes room for other elements occupying the space in the frequency spectrum.
At the same time as the piano is introduced, a muted guitar comes in. This one I made out of a muted guitar loop (from Singular sounds (aka. One of the Grey guys company) tropical house pack over at Splice) that I cut up and processed a bit.
First of all it definitely needed some OTT to get the compressed OTT feeling ;). Then I felt like it had to be a bit grittier which Fruity fast distortion fixes in a second. I also used a bit of Soundgoodizer, which is a bit controversial, but it did sound good on this guitar. Lastly there’s a couple of EQ’s reducing the mid frequencies. Done.
The second muted guitar sound comes from Omnisphere 2 and is a preset called “Strat muted” which is a basic muted guitar sound. It has a lot of interesting internal effects inside Omnisphere, such as a smoke amp, spring reverb, a vintage compressor and some kind of chorus delay. This really reduces the amount of post processing needed, so I only used a standard OTT and an EQ cutting the unnecessary lows.
Okay, so the last melodic element is a standard vintage pad called “Transparent polysynth pad”, also out of Omnisphere. This one is post processed with a SerumFX 6dB low pass filter, a couple of EQ’s cutting low- & mid frequencies, a C4 multiband compressor and lastly a fruity limiter to create an automation clip out of the gain knob to make the ducking. The MIDI information for this one is straight out a copy of the MIDI for the piano.
I totally forgot to master this project, so there’s really just a Waves L2 limiter that isn’t really doing anything haha. Great.
So what can you learn from a project like this? Well, nothing really.
Just kidding. It’s a really “simple” track in terms of elements, and does remind me of some of Daft Punk’s work as well as that one Jon Bellion track I mentioned at the beginning of this post. The vocals (that Madeon for some reason put out as a free download) are beautifully processed and takes up a lot of space in the mix. By having these “big” vocals, the rest of the elements doesn’t have to be many.
So why did it take me 2 hours + to remake this part of the track? I think that a big part of the production was to get the bass somewhat right. It’s really really hard to program a bass (especially a free plugin like this) to sound like the real deal. I’m 100% sure that Madeon uses a real recording of some high level bass player, but he’s done his magic and made it feel really interesting with the wide effect and all his other secret sauces. Now I’m just writing without thinking, so I should probably stop.
Anyway, feel free to check out my videos of this project (that took ages to render) over at my YouTube channel, or why not read another post of something totally unrelated. Have a great day / night / morning or whatever.