Something wasn’t quite right. The drums were hitting. Snares were crisp. Vocals were clear. Yet the song was boring. If you’ve ever felt like this, read on for 3 ways to make your mix interesting.
Songs get boring because there aren’t enough changes to keep your interest throughout. There are 3 simple ways to infuse your mixes with interest:
- Take something out
- Add something new
- Modify what’s already there
Take Something Out to Add Interest
When mixing, your best friend is the mute button.
Want to let your listener know the vocalist “really means something”? Drop the beat out. See if it sounds right.
The hook doesn’t sound as epic as you want? Try making the beat more sparse before or after the hook.
You’ll be surprised how much muting different sounds throughout your arrangement can create movement and interest in your mixes.
Add Something New to Add Interest
Conversely, adding something new could be exactly what you need to make your mix interesting. It could be as simple as teasing a part of the hook during the verse. Maybe you could repeat a drum fill as a transition.
Listen to your favorite songs and notice the different percussive elements that enter and exit throughout the arrangement. Listeners may not appreciate them at first but it helps them subconsciously remain interested.
Modify What’s Already There to Add Interest
One more way to add interest to a mix is by modifying the elements already in the arrangement. You can use a filter to add interest. You can hear an example of the filtered sound in Drake and T-Minus collaborations. You can also use a gate to add interest. Many EDM songs use gates to add interest. In some cases you can think of an arpeggiator as a type of gate. (Don’t worry if you don’t know what an arpeggiator is.)
You can keep your listener’s interest by creating a variation on a common theme. Without variation, your mix will be boring. With too much variation, your mix will probably be confusing.
Side Note: Ken Lewis has an awesome lesson at AudioSchoolOnline about Creatively Arranging a Mix that ties in perfectly with this post.
Let me know if those tips help you and the ways you create interest in your mixes in the comments section.