We came across this old old version of 3AM Tokyo’s “Do U Want Me (I Want U)” the other day and thought we’d share it to show the difference in where the idea starts and finishes.
This version of the song was just after we had recorded guitars and bass on top of the initial chord structure and beat we had laid down. We hadn’t written the topline yet and this was the point where we began adding more sounds and instrumental melodies in. The trick is to make sure the instrumental parts you add don’t influence the vocal too much otherwise you’ll end up writing a melody that just follows the music (this can be good in some cases but most of the time it’ll make the song way too repetitive). That’s why we often leave it pretty sparse for writers- ourselves or others- to create lyrics and melodies before we add in more parts.
Songs are very rarely done all at once in the studio, we have two setups that have different sets of sounds and keyboards that we go between and in terms of mixing we listen to mixes in every system we can, going into 5 different cars, multiple sound systems etc to check for consistencies. There really isn’t a set structure of what the song needs and which sequence it needs to be done in either, as you can hear in this one we started with a beat and a chord structure and had the band play their stuff over it before we developed it further. Other songs we may have had the vocal already cut, the sound bed laid down and just needed a couple more elements like the guitar and bass to finish it off.
We’ll let you hear for yourselves the difference between the raw version and the final version and let you try and pick out all the stuff that was changed or added. Bare in mind we hadn’t done much editing to the guitar or bass parts either.