How To Make Music Like – Michael Bibi

I started thinking about the usefulness of the ‘how to’ music production videos on youtube after, somewhat ironically, watching something on youtube that wasn’t particularly complimentary about this style of content. Essentially the premise was that most, but not all, of these videos exist solely to sell a sample pack or a patreon subscription, which is fair enough I think, but does this make them any less useful? Lets see. I’ve picked an artist I listen to a fair bit and whose style of music is very close to what I make and, more importantly, there are a fair few ‘how to make music like’ videos to be followed.

How to make music like – Michael Bibi

Before I crack on with this, I would like to mention that Michael has been battling cancer and it was great to see him post recently on Instagram that he’s responded well to treatment and he’s on the path to recovery. 💪

How To Tech House Like Michael Bibi & Pawsa

I’ve decided to start with the oldest and work my way through to the most recent. Although there is a remake of Hanging Tree from 4 years ago I decided to skip over this as it’s somewhat reliant on the excellent Jennifer Lawrence vocals. Next on the list is this from Julien Earle, and it’s a popular one with over 10k views.

The video was released on the 14th Jun 2019 and is just an 8 bar loop. Julien has been very prolific with this style of video covering a lot of different artists and genres. Here he identifies the following key features of a Michael Bibi track;

Kick – beefy, low mid range heavy kick, powerful, saturated (skippy kick pattern noted)
Bass – FM sine wave bass playing notes E and A, warm and round (he subtly widens highs with chorus).
Tambourine/Hi-Hat – 2 different patterns. 16 hats and the tambourine on different pattern
Clap – punchy and fat, sits on top of the mix
Open Hat – Sharp tight hat (shuffles at the end of 2nd bar)

Overall Julien places a lot of focus on saturation. He also notes there should be too much stereo width as club system playback is often mono.

There is not a lot to go on here for anyone to make a full track, but it’s a start. I looked at what Michael was releasing 4 years ago to try and establish what the inspiration was;

Skream & Michael Bibi – Otto’s Chant (Original Mix)
Michael Bibi – Frequency (Original Mix)
Michael Bibi – Got The Fire (Original Mix)

I decided to use Got The Fire as the reference for my own track and to use Juliens advice in my production decisions. This is what I came up with.

There isn’t a great deal of complexity to this tune so it worked quite well for this particular example. Starting with the kick, I chose one very similar to Juliens

My Kick
Juliens Kick

I also used exactly the same hi-hat as Julien for the accent hat pattern. For the other drum and percussion samples I chose similar sounds from various free sample packs. I decided against a tambourine and went for a shaker instead.

There is one issue I have with the advice given by Julien here, and that’s the bass. To my ears it has too much mid range and not enough thump in the lows and it doesn’t sit nicely with the kick. It’s a short tutorial, and just an 8 bar loop, but I think it’s worth noting that there are no velocity changes and no groove applied to the drums. Essentially, it’s very basic. If I was relativelty new to music production I think I’d struggle to make a full length track from this.

This is my finished arrangement. It is very simple – kick, bass, clap, open hat, skippy hat, seed shaker, snare roll, a short fill, some background ambience, the motif from Got The Fire, a handful of FX, a hi-pitched string sound and the all important vocal chop, which I sampled from Common – The Corner ft. The Last Poets.

Next up, djbods – How To Make Tech House Like Michael Bibi & Pawsa: Part 1

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