How It Was Made: Silly Boy Blue - Goodbye

The French artist breaks down her latest pop record.
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Silly Boy Blue (Ana Benabdelkarim) is a French singer, songwriter, producer who took the inspiration for her name from one of Bowie's songs from when he was just starting out and not yet a legend. She recently released "Goodbye," a synthy slice of adventurous pop music that is infectious right from the get-go. We invited her to break down the process of its creation for the latest installment of our How It Was Made series.

Words and photos by Silly Boy Blue

Silly Boy Music

Silly Boy Blue cc Manu Fauque

Nord Electro 3 Sixty One

A friend of mine lent me this synth one day. That’s how I find the chords I want for a song, even though this instrument doesn’t end up on the final track. It has exactly what I want: lots of different sounds, from strings to Grand Piano. Many cool reverbs. But not too many things so I don’t lose myself trying to fully understand every detail of it. The day I got it, I didn’t sleep for like 3 days. I ended up buying this one from my friend.

Nord Electro 3 Sixty One 

Nord Electro 3 Sixty One 

The Ableton File

I’ve learned to use Ableton with an ex (and then I’ve made a thousand songs about him on this software). But when I start a song, I never know its name. So, before it was named « Goodbye », I guess it was called that way. I’m using some classic plug-ins, but I also have a great VST called Tal-uno-LX V2. Very useful when you live in a small apartment and you want to pretend you’ve got a Juno.

The Ableton File

The Ableton File

Where I write

I just need my laptop, my Akai APC Keys 25 - a quite simple controller - and my sound card FireFace UC. Of course, I wish I had more things to work with, but these are the perfect things to create songs. And if I had been waiting for more, I wouldn’t have an album ready to be released I guess.

Akai APC Keys 25

Akai APC Keys 25

Photo 4 - The wall of synths

This is where we’ve been working on the first version of Goodbye, at Studio Noir (Apollo Noir’s studio). He’s got a lot of synths, and the Juno 60 was used for the pad sounds in this track. The JP8 is the bass arpeggio. A great place to work, especially when you use the VST I use, and then you hear this sounds but for real.

Vintage synths

Vintage synths

Photo 5 / 5.2 (credit: Jeanne Lula Chauveau) - The studio

That’s a picture of my two producers, Sam Tiba and Apollo Noir. Right after the lockdown, we left Paris for a week to work on my first album. Sam comes from the electronic scene, he’s amazing with samples, weird sounds, and rhythms. Apollo Noir comes from the techno scene: he has a lot of synths and taught me how a Prophet or a Mellotron could change your life. 

credit: Jeanne Lula Chauveau

credit: Jeanne Lula Chauveau

One of the main challenges for this song was to find a good mic for my voice because I’ve got a lot of medium frequencies. The Telefunken CU29 was perfect to get a worm yet clear sound, and actually, we ended up using it for the whole album. We added a preamp (Chandler TG) and a compressor (Grove Hill Liverpool).

Silly Boy Blue

credit: Jeanne Lula Chauveau

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