If you’re at all musically inclined, odds are you’ve had a great song idea stuck in your head that never made it out of your brain and into your DAW. Next time you get hit by the fever, record yourself beatboxing the track, and follow this Mad Zach tutorial on moving from an off-the-cuff recording to a first draft of a track. You don’t have to be an expert beatboxer either – click through to watch today’s tutorial!
HOW TO BEATBOX + RECORD YOUR IDEAS
We know that barely anyone has their beatboxing skill at the level of Dub FX or Beardyman, so we recommend approaching recording your song ideas in a more traditional and relaxed manner. To simplify the approach, try keeping the beat going in your head, but alternating between different parts that you’re voicing out loud. Start with the drum rhythm, and then move to the bass and leads. This will let you layer your ideas – some basic warping in your DAW will make lining them up very easy.
Don’t be afraid to look or sound ridiculous, remember, it’s just a sketch. I also tend to have much better luck if I drink some coffee beforehand (although this usually results in drum and bass tracks). It can also be helpful to get physically into the beat. Don’t just sit there with your arms at your sides, jump around, leap on furniture, wave your hands and shake your ass. By becoming more kinetic, you can preemptively “feel the crowd” and almost create a song with a dance. You don’t have to record to a click track, but staying at least sort of on beat will help you out a lot when bringing the sketch into your DAW.
Understanding basic beat box sounds and how to make them:
- Kick – try saying “boom” with an emphasis on the “boo” but instead of the “oo” make it a more guttural breathy ending
- Snare – “pshhh” or “kkkee”
- Hats – “tss” or “cht” (sharper)
- Bass – “bow-wow”, “woomp”, “vrump”, etc
Some people aren’t inclined to use their mouth at all for this type of idea-based production work – instead opting to tap out a rhythm with pencils or drumsticks on a surface. Another household instrument that works really well when recording your ideas is a kazoo – it might be an annoying buzzing noise to anyone in the same room as you, but it’s really easy to get some basic harmony and melody ideas onto a recording using a kazoo.
Ever used a vocal audio sketch to start out a track? Let us know how it worked out for you in the comments below!