Pond - Sweep Me Off My Feet Synths
Sweep Me Off My Feet by Australian psychedelic band Pond is a spacey synthpop song from upcoming album This Weather. It features heavily layered synths to underscore frontman Nick Allbrook's fantastic vocal performance. In this synth tutorial I'll look at all the individual layers that make up the song!
The song starts with a thick sounding deep synth bass, I tried a couple of synths and the Prophet was the one that got me closest to this bass sound. The Moog was too dirty and the Juno was too clean but any Prophet-type synth will really nail this sound. Set OSC B an octave below OSC A and set the volume so that it's a little quieter and blends well with OSC A. Raise cutoff and have all the sustain up to max for a big full sound, then turn on legato and set the glide to roughly the right time (below it's set to 450ms). The Prophet synths have a really distinctive sound when used for bass, I've used Arturia Prophet V but for a free alternative check out TAL-Elek7ro, a great free software synth to learn on and great for bass sounds.
The next most prominent synth sound in Sweep Me off My Feet is the wobbly sounding synth line. The most important elements here are using both filters to get it sounding thin and using the LFO to create a vibrato effect. I've used a Juno type synth because it has a Delay parameter on the LFO, so the vibrato doesn't come in immediately. Turn the glide on and set the glide time to halfway.
Doubling the lead synth is a simple glockenspiel mallet sound. These are a great way to add childlike wonder to a track and are easy to recreate without mic'ing up a glockenspiel. I'm using the great (and free!) Boscomac Twinkle, a Reaktor ensemble that is easy to use and sounds great.
There's a great classic String Machine synth in the mix too, it comes in at 00:57 and while most synth string patches will do, the one I found to sound closest is the ARP Omni, a classic string machine synth most famously used for the lead line of Love Will Tear Us Apart. I've used GForce Virtual String Machine with a patch that uses detuning for a really thick sound. For some free alternatives check out this list.
Last up is a quiet synth-brass patch that's slightly buried in the mix but helps thicken out the sound. It comes in at the start and is easiest to hear at the end of the phrase. I used Arturia Prophet V again (any synth will do for this though) and took the filter cutoff right down to get it sounding nice and dull. Use the filter Env Amt and ADSR to shape the sound to where it's sound brass-y and you'll get a suitable patch.
Now you can listened to all the synths layered together, notice how each element compliments the others; some are big sounding and others are dull or light-sounding. They also cover all the frequencies from deep bass to high strings which is important when layering. I've also added some quick drums from Toontrack Superior Drummer so you can see how they all sound in a full-band context.