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Read ten music production questions from Toronto-based electro-pop artist KYLO on songwriting and creative process. Plus watch a tutorial on using VocalSynth in a pop song, featuring the song "Your Eyes" by KYLO!
1. How do song ideas start for you? Where do they come from?
Song ideas generally start from me just getting inspired and writing down lyrics. From there I expand on ideas. Also, if I get an instrumental sent to me first, I feel the vibe of that and sort of go from there.
2. How do you decide when a song is done? What works for you?
It takes a lot of time to finish a song. When the structure, lyrics, and production are at a point that the producer and I are happy with it, the song is essentially done. But sometimes it’s hard not to nitpick and be a perfectionist—going back to edit things. But at some point, you have let it go.
3. What is your lyric writing process like?
If I am starting a song from scratch, I usually just take a pen and notebook and start writing randomly, see what comes out, and build off of that. But if I am going into the studio and just freestyling off of a beat, I usually will come up with a melody first—try numerous options and pick my favorite, then write lyrics or adapt them to the melody.
4. What are your techniques for getting lush harmonies in vocals?
I love harmonies and they always come pretty natural to me. I usually just go into the studio and record overtop the mains, then keep my favorite ones.
5. How do you create space and atmosphere in a song?
Ad libs are definitely a key thing for my sound. Adding the extra oohs and ahs can really add texture to a song and give it that finishing touch.
6. In your experience, what are the secrets to successful musical collaboration (whether with a producer, another musician, or someone else)?
I think you just both have to be on the same vibe and also be open to each others opinions and work. It’s hard sometimes if you are used to only working by yourself or a specific person or team, but that’s what is cool about collaborations—feeding off of each other's creativity and making something you couldn’t have by yourself.
7. How do you combat writer’s block or times when you feel creatively drained?
I honestly take it as a sign and try not to force it. I go through waves. If I am not feeling it and trying to force it, nothing good usually comes from that, so I’ll take some time to do self care—relax, meditate, read books, etc., and then try to come back to it.
8. If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be, and why?
That is such a hard question I don’t know if I could pick just one?! If I had to pick one I would have to say Grimes. She has always just been a huge inspiration musically and artistically and it would be so cool to see what we could come up with.
9. Who are a few Toronto-based artists that everyone should listen to right now?
10. What are your goals for 2019?
My goals for 2019 are to release my next EP and go on another tour.