As we discussed in the sponsor portion of S05 E12 (clip provided above), GarageBand was key in creating The Bro Show's new intro and outro. In this post, I'll explain in more detail how it was used.
By looking at the score view of a song in GarageBand, you get a measure-by-measure layout of every instrument used to create the song. This, to me, is like a conductor's score. This is where I spot an off-beat percussion instrument or an out-of-tune guitar.
By sliding the list of instruments to the right, I can use this view of the song to set the volume levels of each track until it sounds balanced to my ear—once again, just like a conductor looks at a section of the orchestra while pushing his hand downward. I can also tap the speaker icon to mute one or more tracks to isolate other instruments and thereby hear an instrument by itself.
You may have noticed that there are several drum tracks in this song. Since I began my musical life as a drummer, I give extra love to percussion tracks by creating one track for each part of the kit. The kick, snare, side toms, floor tom, and cymbals each have their own track. As you can see, I isolate each note the drum or cymbal plays on a track so I can move them horizontally on the staff to make minor adjustments to the rhythm. This is super helpful when I need syncopation in this particular piece.
Although I have a bass and guitar on hand, I used the instruments in GarageBand to save set up time. I was surprised by the full, punchy sound of the digital Hoffner Bass. As you can see in the screen shot of the bass, the strings and frets appear so that I can tap the notes out for the base line.
In the case of the GarageBand guitar, I chose to use the chord view rather than the note view since I was only slinging out ringing chords ala Pete Townsend of The Who. Using more detailed views of this instrument, the distortion and ring can be tightly controlled so it gives us the perfect sounds to complement the bass and drums.
As I mentioned in the audio clip above, I've always wanted to have my own Hammond B3 organ with rotating Leslie speakers, but the $10,000 price tag proved to be quite a barrier. Although it's not the real thing, the Garageband rock organ certainly sounds like the real thing—complete with draw bars and rotation speed.
Rather than use keys on the screen, I played the MIDI keyboard shown in the banner photo at the top of this post to play the GarageBand B3. A physical keyboard (even the Akai Mini) senses how hard I'm striking the keys and thereby lets the B3’s percussion setting kick in. This means that any note played can potentially give the piece more punch. And let's face it, there's nothing like playing a physical keyboard and hearing hearing the B3 howl back at you. That B3 is definitely a wolf—not a dog.
After recording multiple tracks and adjusting each, what remains is playing the piece and adjusting tracks—again and again. As I do with writing prose, I revisit my “finished” creation the day after with more objectivity in order to make final adjustments.
Now I can share (export) the completed work to iCloud as an MP3 audio file where I use it for any episode of The Bro Show.