How It Was Made: Lyke - Arose [Electronic Elements]

Go behind the scenes of the Italian vocalist's first solo record
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Known for his vocal work with fellow Italian duo Mathame's 2018 'Nothing Around Us', Lyke has released his own single via Armada Music's Electronic Elements. With such strange and rather dark times, 'Arose' is like a breath of fresh air and sunlight. While his vocals might be the main element, it's safe to say his talents as a producer are equally solid.

"Arose’is my first single where my voice is a supporting element of the song. I made it in Bergamo just after the lockdown and I remember it all being a bit unreal. It changed everything, but I think that the single best expresses the hope I had and wanted to share with the world in that moment. The sound for me was very natural to pull out, and I didn’t want to limit myself during the creative process of the song. I thank Armada for having faith in this project and for the chance to get this single out together." - Lyke

Words and photos by Lyke

©Giovanni A Mocchetti

©Giovanni A Mocchetti

With ‘AROSE’, I tried to create a song where the voice was the main element. The song, therefore, has a different structure and sound compared to past releases such as ‘Lem’ or ‘Moonwar’. The idea came to me in full lockdown here in Italy a few weeks after my father’s death, and I wrote the song in a few days. I didn’t think much at all; it was a very natural process. I simply wanted to try to pull something true from what I felt at that time and didn’t want to limit myself in the creative process.

In the initial phase, I worked on the song from home with my laptop in a small home studio. Once the lockdown was over, I switched over to my actual studio to work on the vocal recording and final production tweaks. The track is in A# major. It has a relaxed sound: almost happy, but with nostalgia.

Almost all of my productions start at the piano, where it’s easier for me to come up with new ideas and create the first demos. After that, I get to work on the computer, where I transcribe everything with the midi keyboard and elaborate on the melodies I composed on the piano.

The main melody is a set of guitars and synths written on a 16-bar loop where, after the first 4 bars, the sound touches several high notes to mark a change in the chords and harmonies present in the loop. The melody is almost always the element I start to write out of. I work on how it fits the drums and synths, being careful not to overlap too many different sounds. Instead, I look for the sounds that create an interesting harmony. I rely on my hearing a lot, but the current situation and genuine life experiences are also important factors when it comes to finding original melodies and harmonies.

Main melody

Main melody

In the second melody, I used two different bass loops: one focused on the low notes and the other playing higher notes with a rhythm that’s more audible in the mix. There’s also a synth in there that sounds more electric and is present in the entire track.

2

Further down in the mix, there is a pad that unites everything and underscores the sound of the whole track. I often (and gladly) rely on a soft synth called Spire when creating the final sound of the pad, but the notes are often written with a simple piano sound first.

Pad MIDI

Pad MIDI

Spire

Spire

Arriving at the voice recording, I tried several demos before writing the definitive version. I almost always try to insert the vocal at the places where it doesn’t overpower the track or the groove. After recording the first drafts, I immediately start to treat them. I keep working on them until the timbre, setting, and voice equalization give me the sound I’m looking for.

Origin mic

Origin mic

After that, I use a tone-shaping plugin called Vitamin and other plugins to achieve the final sound of the vocals, setting them towards a more electrified sound with more presence in the higher parts of the frequency spectrum.
(Photos 6 and 7)

Vitamin V

Vitamin V

GW Voice Centric

GW Voice Centric

With ‘Arose’, I wanted to take a break from my past releases to try something different and keep the song as it was in the early versions. I may continue down this road for a bit beside the more melodic Techno productions. I think there is a great connection between these various projects, and I can’t wait to highlight that during live sets. 

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