Create Color

Welcom to PASTEL! Pastel is an art inspired platform that showcases and merges different creative art forms and their process into one place giving the viewer a chance to get a behind the scene look at how the content is created. The arts expand for this brand from visual art to music all the way into fashion. The target market for PASTEL is primarily millennials both men and women between the ages of 18-35. These millennials reside in major cities in both the US and the UK. PASTELS audience are creators of visual art, music, & fashion and are always looking for outlets to express themselves. These creators spend a great deal of their time on laptops and other mobile devices and that is the primary way they experience new content. The PASTEL brand greatest value is that they believe true and honest expression is priority and art should never be compromised. The brand’s personality can be described in three words Modern, Artistic, & Collaborative, but it doesn't stop there PASTEL is also bold, inspiring, and high quality. What the brand is not is Boring, Low energy, and Confusing.


January 1st 2017 we will get an sneak peak at the production process of super production group NARCOTICS at their North Hollywood recording studio. The team plans to show us the process of making a record from start to finish featuring Nastasia Griffin the Sony ATV signed songstress.

Part I: Composing and Producing

I always start with one of two things: a concept for a type of sound, or a melody or chord progression. Sometimes I'll randomly come up with a melody at an unexpected time, or sometimes I'll stumble on one when playing around with the keyboard or banjo. Other times there will be a particular song that I like and I'll want to write something in a similar style. I never use those AB-whatever song structures that are so prevalent in pop music, nor do I try to come up with hooks for my songs. I love hooks, I'm just not particularly good with them. Anyway, lets say I've got an interesting melody. I'll then practice playing it over and over with different instrument sounds, like piano, strings, synthesizers, maybe horns or something. During this time my left hand will often be searching for chords that fit with the melody as well. Eventually, I'll find a sound that clicks with me and I can picture an entire soundscape surrounding the melody, which is when I get to work.

First I'll decide the tempo I want the song to be at. I do this by tapping a special button on my drum machine that gives me a tempo readout based on my rhythm. I start a new song in Cubase and set that tempo. Then I'll pull up some drum preset on the keyboard and record it real quick and loop it. I'll choose a drum loop that roughly fits the feel I'm going for, though it is unlikely that it'll be used in the final production. This makes for a metronome, or click track, that is way better than the usual obnoxious beeping sound that the software gives you. Now I can play my melody along with a nice beat to keep time.

I'll record the melody first in MIDI format, which means instead of recording the sounds of my keyboard, I record the data of what keys I press onto a MIDI track in Cubase. After that, I'll tell Cubase to quantize my notes, which essentially means make minute changes to each note so that they're all in time with the rhythm. I don't do it too much or everything will sound too mechanical. But since I have just about the worst rhythm a musician could have, it's very useful. Once the notes are in place and they sound like someone with actual talent played them, I'll have the software MIDI track play my keyboard, and this time I actually record the sound. Often for simpler melodies or chords, I won't bother with the whole MIDI/Quantization thing.

I'll then record other parts in the same fashion, like a bass line or a sweet pad (a simpler background chord). I'll also start thinking about what kind of percussion I want. I make sure that I experiment with any instrument sound I can think of. I never leave out any possibility for any kind of sound. Who says you can't have harpsichord, oboe, a screaming synthesizer, xylophone and distorted rock drums all in one song? I'll never tell you that.

By this time I'll be thinking about new melodies to follow up the first one, new chords to move the song to, and transitions to tie the pieces together as I make them. Because I pretty much record as I write, a very experimental way to make music, I'll often end up with several versions of a song, each one going in different directions. Many of them are terrible, but by continually experimenting I'll find new avenues to write in. Working with each part is like working on a miniature song, since any one part can sound completely different from the next. Sometimes I'll go from purely symphonic to purely electronic to several layers of percussion without melodies, and each one requires a different mindset when mixing. This is also a good time to record anything acoustic, like bongos or, *shudder*, vocals. Eventually I'll get to a point where I either think it would be a good place to end the song or I simply can't think of anything else to add. Sometimes I'll try to incorporate some elements from the beginning of the song into the end, to wrap things up nicely, but it isn't necessary.

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