Laboratory: How To Make A Song In The Style Of Lorde
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Laboratory: How To Make A Song In The Style Of Lorde




Here at The Dwarf we've spoken - both positively and negatively - about Lorde's minimalist trip-hop sound. 'Royals' is probably the most adequate example of what we're talking about when we say Ella has appropriated age-old hip hop sensibilities well, and given that she's close to total cultural saturation, we thought it'd be fun to undertake an audio experiment on the most basic components of her craft.

Essentially, we're going to show you how to systematically throw together your own Lorde-style track.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

- Digital recording software. Ableton, Pro Tools, Logic all work great.

- Some drum samples. You won't need many, and a lot of great ones come with store-bought recording programs.

WE'LL BE USING ABLETON

STEP 1. KICK DRUMS

The kicks you hear in 'Royals' come from programmed racks, and they're rounded together to thud rather than punch into the mix. We've heaped three kicks together, two from a 606 drum machine rack, and arranged them into a hip-hop break beat. Check it out:


STEP 2. CLICKS AND HAND CLAPS

Next you'll want to intersperse two separate tracks - one containing hand clicks, the other hand claps - between the kicks twice every bar. As per 'Royals' we added some reverb plug-ins to both tracks.


STEP 3: THAT TIMPANI-LIKE THUDDING NOISE

It's starting to take shape, right? Next you'll want to throw in the subtly mixed, heavily reverberated timpani thud. Ableton and Pro Tools both have 'Orchestra' racks, so the sample is quite easily recreated. It occurs once every two bars, as the beat loop in 'Royals' repeats. We also added some delay and threw in a few spectral patters to add to the feeling of space.


STEP 4. HI-HATS, BASS

We're almost there! Next to be added in is the hi-hat open-shut patters, which occur pretty rapidly across the two-bar loop we've created. We're using 606 hi-hat samples, but any dance-flavoured drum machine will suffice. Then, after you add a hip-hop-y fretless bass-line which follows the cyclical I-IV-V-I chord progression you hear in 'Royals', you're all set!

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