“Good” Music vs “Bad” Music

This is the post excerpt.


As a DJ and producer, I find myself coming across many tracks that I like and dislike. It is not completely up to me to judge a track as “good or bad” as it is just my opinion, however I do feel that when taken in context of ability, tracks can be lackluster when compared to previous feats. An example of this would be the winner of best dance record in 2016 “Where are Ü Now?” (Ft. Justin Bieber) by Jack Ü . Although not a bad track in it’s production, it is simply disappointing when you realize that Jack Ü is made up of Grammy winning producers Skrillex and Diplo. Compared to their previous quality of work, “Where are Ü Now?” comes off as a very simple, very common, very easy track to make, with a pop icon slapped onto it to make money. And it worked.

Compare this to another talented artist, the Australian dubstep/metal producer PhaseOne who released his single “UFO” also in 2016. This track combines traditional dubstep with heavy metal beats and unique sound design. Titled UFO, this track truly captures an alien invasion in audio form. UFO is a unique style, a unique song, and a one of a kind track.

Variation in Production

For this assignment I took my track Times a’ Changin, sped it up to 140 and decided to take it a dubstep route. The drop consists of the typical halftime kick, snare pattern seen in Dubstep. After that I layered different sounds coming from Xfer’s Serum as well as some basic vocal chopping.

Once you get to the break you hear the main melody played on a harpsichord along with some vocoded vocals to the same melody playing.

This all builds up to a long suspension then another drop. This drop varies from the first one along with the vocoded vocals.

Sampling Ethics

Sampling is one of the biggest parts, and controversies in music production.

When is it okay to sample? Well, in my opinion it depends on a few factors.


Source: Where are you getting the sample from?

  • It is ill advised to take a sample from another song that  is easily recognizable and put it in a new song. This can easily lead to trouble down the road especially if your song does well.

Content: What type of sample is it? Is it a one shot? A melody line?

  • Sometimes, the type of sample can make a big difference. Drums are the easiest to get away with especially if you are just taking the individual drum hits. Fills and grooves are also fairly manageable as well. Once you start taking melody lines and Vocals though you put yourself at risk of someone recognizing the samples.

Context: How will you be using the sample?

  • If you are using the sample in a minimal type of track (hiphop, R&B, house) it may become recognizable due to how prevalent it is in your track. Try changing some things up so it isn’t glaringly obvious that the sample came from somewhere else.

Mobile Song Documentation

So, let it be know that I’m personally against using apps on mobile devices to make music. I know its possible to make good music on a phone or tablet, but when one has access to so many other tools at their disposal using a mobile app feels ridiculously limiting.

The song I created was made with the Launchpad app using the house samples that came with it. Besides some gating and filtering here and there there isn’t much to the track besides triggering loops and taking them out.

Remix Project

So I decided to do a future bass remix of my classmate Krystelle’s track “Hypnagogia“.

This track stood out as a fun project to do as I could hear one melody that the song formed around.

The process for making this track was fairly straight forward. I took the underlying melody from the original track, recreated it, then simply added some noodling in the same key.

Once I got to the drop I just repeated the chord stacks that the piano was playing on multiple channels of Parawave’s Rapid synth along with Xfer’s LFOtool to give it that large wobble chord sound that future bass is known for.

The ending is a slightly altered version of the beginning.

Who Sampled who?

The controversial topic of sampling is HUGE in the music production scene. It is rare to find tracks these days that don’t have a sample from somewhere, whether it be a kick drum or a whole section of a song. There was one incident about 3 years ago however which through the whole EDM scene into an uproar. I am of course talking about the Skrillex vs Zomboy who stole what when it came to their songs All is fair in Love and Brostep and Terror Squad.


Here is “Allegedly” how this came to be. Rumors say that Sonny Moore (Skrillex) and Joshua Mellody (Zomboy) met behind closed doors where Sonny showed Joshua a early draft of the track that would later turn into “All is Fair in Love and Brostep”. Then titled “Untitled DJ Tool” (now called “This Much Power”) the track featured a drop that was fairly revolutionary in the current dubstep scene. It was unique and fresh and totally different from Sonny’s past works.

A few months later Zomboy released a track called Terror Squad that sounded eerily similar to the feel of the unreleased track however, due to it being unreleased, the general public wasn’t aware of it.

Later, Skrillex released his track titled “All is fair in Love and Brostep” which was so similar to Terror Squad that it even has the same drop almost beat for beat. Even copying his now infamous pre-drop vocal “It’s Fucking Zomboy.” “Heard at 1:07 in Terror Squad and at 2:02 in All is Fair in Love and Brostep”

The Scene was in an uproar saying Skrillex copied Zomboy and what not.

Zomboy released this statement on his Facebook :

I wrote Terror Squad completely unknowing of Skril’s song, or so i thought… last year I was at Sonny’s place in L.A with a few other people and while he was playing us previews of his album ideas, I fear i may have subconsciously held onto the vibe of ‘DJ Tool’ which may be why i had the idea in my head, but hand on heart, it was not aimed to be a rip.

If you listen to the original leak there are only loose similarities to terror squad, but the new version fully mimics my drop which is hilarious, flattering, and a little bit embarrassing all at the same time, but hey as the man says – ‘All is Fair’

There is no beef between Sonny and I and as you probably know he is literally the sole reason i started writing electronic music…. even the fact that he bothered to do what he has done with his new song is an honour in itself.

The important words at play here are ‘FAIR’ and ’LOVE. If you don’t believe me then you can hear it straight from Sonny himself…

To which Skrillex replied on Twitter:


So that was the end to the whole terror squad but one thing came out of that lived on way past the incident did. That would be the infamous “It’s Fucking” pre-drop vocal. For a while it could be heard in a bunch of places. Originating in Terror Squad then mocked in All is Fair in Love and Brostep, it can be heard in songs like

Dubstep is Dead -Getter (2:07)

It’s Fucking Dubstep – Bear Grillz X The Frim (0:52)

And many times by Zomboy himself. One notable occasion is in the remix of Skrillex’s Song Ragga bomb. In this track you hear the pre-drop followed by Skrillex’s own predrop that ironically was heard in  All is Fair in Love and Brostep at 2:31 as a kind of redemption for the whole Terror Squad ordeal.

Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Skrillex & Zomboy Remix) (1:02)

Found Sound Song

This song was interesting as I went into creating it with no ideas or thoughts. I ended up taking my classmate Mariana’s sound titled Blizz. I then selected an 8 bar section of the wind going up in down in an almost riser fashion. After that I ran a Flanger on it to increase the rising sound. After that I modulated the sound using a plugin called LFOTool to make it modulate to the eighth note. After that I started with the piano sound in MIDI using Kontakt followed by the harpsichord sound using the synthesizer Rapid by Parawave. Once the melody lines were down I spent an hour vocal chopping this one sample. After that I went into making the electro house basses and eventually the hybrid trap section.

Overall it took about 5 hours.

Still have no idea how to mix correctly though.

Real Vs Hyper real Vs Surreal

First up for the real category is the acoustic studio recording of the Three Days Grace song “Animal I have become”

The song sounds “real” because, although recorded on separate mics, the mix over all sounds flat. The vocals fluctuate from in tune to slightly out of tune.


Compare this to the official version of the song for the “hyper real” section. In this version, the first thing you notice is how clean the bass is. The Guitar and drums come in aswell and nothing seems on top of anything else. It seems like every part of the song has its own space to play out, nothing gets buried. No noticeable room noise reverb on anything besides the drums. Filtered Vocals are also made post recording.

And finally for the “Surreal” part we have PhaseOne’s Track Origins. It starts with arpeggios and effects that don’t typically exist outside of the non-electronic world. Then it drops into its metal/screamo break. Here you can here real guitars sequenced to high intensity programmed drums played so fast and perfect that no human could replicate.