In the “Behind The Song”-series we talk about the writing process, the technical side, the ideas behind the lyrics, and much more… Today we tackle the track “Our Common Future” which features vocalist Kyoko Baertsoen (known from her work with Hooverphonic, Lunascape and more recently Buscemi). The track is taken from the 2013 Psy’Aviah EP “Future Past“.
Behind “Our Common Future”
The track’s lyrics are dual, in the way that they deal with the world on a global scale, and the world in your every day life. Mutual respect for each other is the core theme, in both environmental issues as communication between humans. If we do not succeed in working together, listening to each other, living with each other, then our common future will not result in “survival for us all”, but in “destruction for us all”. It’s a quite simple message, and I don’t think it needs any further explenation, but do read the lyrics below…!
The vocal part…
For as long as I’ve known the band Lunascape (I discovered them during a late-night talksshow “De Laatste Show”) I wanted to work with Kyoko Baertsoen one day. Why? Simply because her voice is very distinct, warm and emotional. A perfect fit for the track. And because I was moving with to a more triphop / synthpop way for the “Future Past” EP I thought it was the perfect time to contact her. I wrote some demos and we sent ideas back and forth through the internet, ultimately resulting in the track “Our Common Future”. Kyoko can do harmonies like no other, she did some dubbings on the verses, and especially on the chorus parts that made those sections stand out even more. (PS: Fun fact: Kyoko recorded the vocal parts in her pyjamas… :-)!)
For the techies…
The bassline is procuded out of a KORG MS-20 synth, dubbed with a very clean subbass from NI Massive. Our main guitarist Ben Van de Cruys wrote the guitar parts for the track, the only thing I changed was adding a filter and a huge delay on them using NI FM8 as an effect processor, to get a mix between a normal delay and a reverse delay. This to get a more dubby flow on the whole track, and especially on the verse parts. The biggest pads come straight from ReFX Nexus and NI Massive.
When constructing the chorus I felt it was a bit empty. I was experimenting with adding guitars, but that made it a bit too full and cluttered. The solution came when I repeated a vocal part, listen below to hear the A/B difference…
Another subtle addition were the fills, or walkup passages, (read up about the term here if you’re not familiar with it). I used different sounds to construct a fill that would fit with the already dubby track, and endup up layering two ragga snares with a huge delay. Under those I added short hihats, with a phaser, delay and subtle variation in both amplitude and pitch. If I would have used snares in stead of those short hats it would have been too overwhelming. But, before ending up with this, I experimented with leaving out an eigth of the music (leaving only her vocals) as a transition into the next section, even a reverse crash.. But they all felt a bit dull and more importantly they didn’t fit with the feel of the dubby track. The fill now is subtle, but leaving it out would be signigicant. Anyway, listen to the example below:
The section between the verses and the chorus is one where I first only had a synth playing 2 notes, again with massive delays on there.. It felt a bit empty, and more importantly when the chorus kicked in it would’ve been too overwhelming. The next step I took was adding a pad to support the synth part. In the original version I also added Ben’s guitars, making them reappear in this section made the track feel like a whole more, and added to the dubby feel… Below you can kind of hear the step-by-step process:
Listen to the track
We are all on the same boat here,
We are all on the same…
We are all on the same boat here,
We are all on the same world here…
We’ve got a common future, we’ve got a common goal
Survival of the fittest, or survival for us all?
Our views trouble our sight, blind for each other’s eyes
Our views trouble our sight, blind for each other…