When we have a song arranged, it’s like magic. Building blocks of chords, anchored by a mean percussion line, and boosted up with cool synths and treble. But once we bring it into the studio, sky is the limit to where we’ll take the song. So how does one write, arrange, and produce a track? Well, it kind of goes down like this:
David starts off by playing some chords. At times, it’s a pretty repetitive Cumbia Sonidero sound with few tones and a heavy baseline. Luis is really particular with chords and how they build up a song. Where do you take a melody if every tone sounds the same? A lightbulb usually turns on when Luis hears a colorful combination of notes, the ingredients for a great approach in song writing.
After memorizing, or recording a chord pattern on his laptop, Luis sets out to think. What does one write about? How do these notes make you feel? How can I top the next song? This is where living life comes into play.
How do you tell a story that needs to be told without revealing too much? Well, you have to be metaphorical about it. Writing is a beautiful art because you can say one thing and mean something completely different. Words, lyrics, rhymes, and syllables can all act as small brush strokes working to fill up a blank canvas one can interpret a million ways.
Once you write down your thoughts and all the painful memories, the good times, romantic moments, and the “what the heck was I thinking back then?” type-reflections… you have great tales to work with.
When the theme is set in place, Luis talks to the boys about the story behind the music. Then Lane, David, Robert, and Scott formulate their particular approach and attach. This collaboration between Son de Rey adds a touch that is quite remarkable. One person working all the corners of one song can’t compare to the collaboration of solid musicians who take the time to tweak, edit, and expand the melodies behind vivid lyrics.
It’s studio time. Our producer hears our pre-produced track, and then we break it down once again. Chords, beats, bass, guitar, horns, vocals, and the magic of technology rebuild the final masterpiece.
Songwriting, arranging, and producing are tedious jobs. It’s easy to fight over a specific vocal tone, pitch quality, rim shots, or a bassline. Lane has too much to say about music, David asks for too many opinions, Luis already has a picture of what he wants (and often gets shot down), while Robert and Scott take a more supportive role. Pops (our manager) is rather quiet in the studio. But when we leave, he’ll have a lot to say about the production.
It’s all done in a few days, weeks, or even months. Songwriting is like fine wine, it really grows better with age. You shouldn’t put out a song if it isn’t the best in the world. Take your time and make sure the story gets told the right way. Live a little, then go back to the drawing board.
This is how we build our music, and a valid example of why we think we’ll be successful.