“Mostly I use free software synths like Synth1, OBXD, TAL UNO62, but I also use software like D16’s Lush101, U-He Zebra2 and Arturia Spark a lot. For hardware I use a Alesis Micron, Yamaha AN1x, Korg Radias KB, Roland D50, Roland Alpha Juno and recently the Roland Juno106.”
- Eyes Closed Bass 00:00
To create a synthwave lead like that in Eyes Closed, start by turning off the sub oscillator to get a really light sound, and then set the cutoff frequency to 3, resonance to 2, and the envelope amount to 5. This will create some subtle movement in the sound, and the resonance adds some colour, suitable for lead sounds. Move on to the ADSR envelope, which is really important as it shapes the timing of the sound. Set each fader under ADSR to 2, 5, 6 and 7 as starting points and tweak them by small amounts to hear the effect they have on the sound. I find that having a MIDI track play while I adjust the settings helps me hear what changes are taking place. The longer decay and release times help the notes bleed into each other, which sounds really lush. Lastly turn on the both Chorus effects for a really wide sound!
- Eyes Closed Lead 00:00
- Eyes Closed Full 00:00
- Lovers Bass 00:00
The lead synth in Lovers uses a great technique for making your patches sound super-rich: using the square wave with pulsewidth modulation mixed in with the default sawtooth oscillator. Using the LFO mode for pulse width makes it sound much richer than the manual mode. Turn off the sub oscillator and set the PW fader to 6, then set the LFO trigger mode to ‘free’ and leave the rate at 5. Set the ADSR faders to 2, 8, 5 and 6 and turn on Chorus I, this create movement in the patch, lets the notes bleed into each other and finishes off a great lead patch.
- Lovers Lead 00:00
- Lovers Full 00:00
- Come Back Arps 00:00
The lead in Come Back is also great. This lead uses the sub oscillator at 6 to get a really thick sound that’ll be prominent in the mix, and the ADSR envelope is set to 0, 5, 5, 5 for long, flowing notes that bleed into each other. Finish it off by setting the filter cutoff to 6, resonance to 3 and envelope to 2, and of course turning on the Chorus II effect.
- Come Back Lead 00:00
- Come Back Full 00:00
- Home Lead 00:00
Home has a lovely strings-like patch that the Juno is great at creating. Turn the sub oscillator down to 1, then the cutoff frequency and envelope to 4 and 2.5, respectively. For a string sound we want some attack and a long, fading envelope, so set the ADSR to 1, 6, 8, 6 then turn Chorus II on.
- Home Strings 00:00
- Home Full 00:00
“I don’t have a particular technique or anything, but I do have a FL Studio template I use all the time. It consists of a multiband compressor, parametric EQ and a limiter. This gives my music the same feel and sound every time.”Another detail to note is that his drum tracks often eschew hi-hats and cymbals, and instead rely solely on simple kick and snare patterns, sometimes with toms for fills. The lack of hi-hats and cymbals gives his songs a sparseness and gives up a lot of frequency room for the synth elements.
“The basis is always a short loop — 6-7 seconds — that has all the sounds that are played in the middle of the track, and from there I start working on the build-up and break-down of the track.”One of the elements that makes Timecop1983’s music sound so catchy is the choice of harmony in his songs. A chord progression he really likes is the IV – V – vi – I progression, which has an ascending bassline and sounds interesting because it doesn’t start on the I chord. It is the basis of the songs Come Back and Lovers; in the key of C Major the chords are F – G – Am – C, and they sound like this:
- IV - V - vi - I Piano 00:00
You can also make these progressions sound more interesting by layering a repeating arpeggio over each chord that helps to pull the harmony together, and makes each chord sound more colourful than when using standard block chords.