Here's to sharing......
1. If the kick seems like it's perfect just sitting right in the mix perfectly blending in...throw that fader up one notch. For some reason it works....don't ask...You have to fight the urge to bring it down or bring the other levels up to compensate though. I'm still learning this....and fighting it...that's why on some records I do the kick sometimes sounds light and sometimes sounds just right..bangin'.
2. Structure wise the general consensus on most house records you hear today is , that's if it's a vocal record, your verses should be in by about 1:30 as this gives a dj plenty of lead in time to mix into your tune. By that point that record should be jumpin' otherwise you risk the chance of boring someone right out the room.
3. Lyrical structures vary greatly.....sometimes they don't go the usual verse chorus verse chorus x2 bridge route. See KOT's "finally" as one of those records that does that. Depending on your track sometimes these kinds of stuctures work better.....the sort of I'm comin' out of left field thing is cool as long as you can bring the listener back to your focal point.
4. ARRANGEMENT ARRANGEMENT ARRANGEMENT.....I can't stress this enough. I'm still learning it. I've heard incredible records with just 4 sounds in it beat a floor to death while a well produced production just fall flat. It's all in how you arrange your tune. It's how you can keep suprising the listener..not boring them to death. Even with minimal stuff that's repetitive you can still find ways to surprise people. We tried this with "sandcastles".
5. Volume levels...hmmmmm since this is dance music the norm is to have the kick be the determining factor in relative volume and build around it. The bass will either be a notch below or even with it. Unless your doing stuff like ethnic music which in this case the bass is more predominant. Everything else falls in to the supporting cast column. It really comes down to what you want the listener to focus in on. If it's vocal record then you definitely want the vocal to be predominant and tightly enterwined with the kick and bass. Followed by whatever you think should support that vocal a bit underneath those 3 elements. Whether it's a pad, piano, ep or whatever. The rest after that is basically aural candy and sweeting to fill in your foundation. Goobs is the term quite frequently used. For track records the theory is basically the same....it's just that instead of the vox being the focus your using a particular sound with a particular rhythmic and melodic pattern to hook your listener in. Then once again...you provide the supporting cast.
You can search until your eyes blur but no one really gets it right....just what they think is right to them. Thats the key...that's why everyone kinda sounds different. That's why I love this.....it's always open to interpretation. In fact I've learned so many new things this week alone, I had a unique problem eq'ing a live bass that had missing tonality above the 250hz range so i did a search on eq'ing on google, that just when you think you know it all here comes somethin' else.
hope this helps a bit....and have fun on your quest...it's never-ending..but fullfilling.
"you bust your ass to make all the money you can...thinking it solves shit...and then you realize..when and if you get there at all...you got more problems and you missed out on the one thing you can't buy or get back...your life! Spend time with friends and family...You can be broke in other ways too!...."