Pond – Paint Me Silver Synths

Pond recently released their seventh studio album The Weather and it’s fantastic, after my Sweep Me Off My Feet tutorial I’ve had a couple of requests for the synths in ‘Paint Me Silver’. What a lot of people don’t know is that the main hook is based on a Todd Rundgren & Utopia song called Cosmic Convoy. Although ‘Paint Me Silver’ starts out with a direct sample from ‘Cosmic Convoy’, the main hook is based on the lead lick later in the song overdubbed by the Pond members.

I was lucky enough to see Pond on their recent tour and their live synth setup consisted of a Moog Sub Phatty, a Korg Poly-800 and a Dave Smith Prophet 08. They mostly used the Moog for basses and the Korg for chorused pad chords, and for ‘Paint Me Silver’ they used guitar for the lead, so it’s hard to tell what was used for the studio recording. I played with some differents synths and decided that the lead synth is either the Korg Poly-800 or a Roland Juno-106, which they also use regularly.

Sampling

Tell me about your new album… There’s this new song you played that has a repeating riff, I loved that. It was sort of hip-hop-y.

Jay: That song is a sample of a Todd Rundgren song, really slowed down, sort of like G-Funk and hip-hop.

Nick: Not so much the G-Funk, but more flamboyant southern sort of stuff, like Kanye flamboyant.

Coachella Interview

To get an idea of where ‘Paint Me Silver’ started I’ll try playing around with the ‘Cosmic Convoy’ sample a little. Here’s the original sample from around 1:05 in the song:

Original Sample Audio:

paint_me_sample.png

To get from ‘Cosmic Convoy’ to ‘Paint Me Silver’ we need to lower both the tempo and the pitch, and we can lower both at the same time with Repitch sampling. Put your sampler into Repitch mode and lower the tempo from 133bpm to 88.8bpm and the pitch will drop at the same rate as the tempo. This gives an immediate vaporwave vibe:

Timestretched Audio:

paint_me_sample_2.png

Lead Synth

As mentioned previously the lead synth line was likely created with either a Roland Juno-106 or a Korg Poly-800. It’s a simple sawtooth patch with some thick chorus and pitchbending for the melody. I’m using a TAL U-NO-LX patch with just a sawtooth wave and the Low-Pass Filter pulled down a little. I’ve got Chorus I on and the pitchbend range set to 2 semitones. To make the lead sound a little less sterile, add some LFO vibrato to the DCO and keep the amount small, the rate fast and delay the vibrato a little to keep the initial sound in tune.

Paint Me Silver Dry Audio:

As with a lot of music of this type, the effects play a huge part in shaping the sound. After TAL U-NO-LX I’m running the sound into a delay, compression, saturation and reverb. The compression after delay is the most important element as it creates a smearing effect across the notes, I’m specifically using an analog style delay and compressor to keep the effects element dark and driven.

Paint Me Silver Lead Audio:

paint_me_lead.png

Swirling Chords

The pad chords in Paint Me Silver are again from the Juno-106, making use of the Juno’s built in chorus effect and some additional phaser effects to get a swirling effect. I’m using TAL U-NO-LX again and I’m using the ADSR envelope to slowly open the Filter. To do this, take the cutoff frequency almost all the way down, raise the ENV amount to halfway and set the ADSR with a long, slow attack. Set Chorus I on and change the VCA mode from GATE to ENV so that the volume rises along with the filter frequency. For a Phaser I’m using my trusty EHX Small Stone Phaser pedal on low colour mode. For software options, every guitar amp sim seems to have a Small Stone emulation built in.

Paint Me Silver Chords Audio:

Paint Me Silver Chords + Lead Audio:

paint_me_synth.png

The Full Beat

I’ve covered the two main synth patches used in the song, some additional tracks are some guitar layering, bass guitar and processed drums. To get the sample to sit better in the mix I’ve EQed it to make it brighter and add more treble to it. I’ve then added some bass guitar and sampled drums from Superior Drummer, listen to the different mixes below:

Paint Me Silver Rhythm Section Audio:

Paint Me Silver Full Audio:

paint_me_silver_video.jpg

Download

Thanks for reading, hopefully the section about sampling has given you some insight into the process behind this kind of songwriting, check out the TAL U-NO-LX patches below and use them in your own songs.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/q2k0dz503ytnu2d/PaintMePatches.zip?dl=1

15 thoughts on “Pond – Paint Me Silver Synths

    • Thanks! Some of the articles take a while because I like to do my research and get things sounding as close as I can. Should be 2 more articles out in the next week.

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      • I’ll be sure to return im the next week then!

        Also, I’m not sure if you’re into video-games. I had a PlayStation 1 and 2 a few years ago and by doing a little research I found out that the boot sequence sound is actually sampled from synths. The PS1 one is sampled from a Roland D-50, a slightly modified patch called “Spacious Sweep”.

        PlayStation 2, however, is some kind of a pad, I wanted to recreate that kind of sound however I’m a complete synth noob and I don’t know where to start. Here’s the sample: https://youtu.be/XW-_7PxEqyM?t=8s

        And again, thank you. I’ve been trying to recreate the lead in Paint Me Silver for a few weeks now. 😀

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      • Yeah I love those old PlayStation startup noises, I’ll look them up but I’m sure it’s one of those things where you really need the original hardware to pull it off, so I’ll keep an eye on eBay for them.

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  1. Awesome! Also, you can download the bios for both consoles, extract and convert the sounds to .wav with PSound if you ever want to take a closer look at them.

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  2. When you run it through delay and compression is that another software tool or is it external pedals? hope that made sense haha

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    • Usually software plugins, like the DAWs plugins, Live’s Filter Delay and Glue Compressor are really good. Sometimes I use guitar pedals because there’s a few I really like the sound of. With them I use my audio interfaces outputs and inputs.

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    • The first thing is to make sure you’re getting the most out of the plugins in your DAW. If you need more than your DAW offers and you have the budget then my favourites are Soundtoys Bundle and the ValhallaDSP reverbs.

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  3. Have you heard the song Silver by Caribou? There’s this crazy bass synth going on that I’d love to know how they made! Thanks for another great article!

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