Welcome back! In this 3rd episode we’ll look at the Mondo Rock Style in UJAM.
Have a browser window open with UJAM loaded up and follow along. I suggest you load the Rejam Template “Electro 1″, but you’re welcome to use any of your own songs too, as always.
To use Electro 1, go to Create, pick “Rejam a Song Template”, and click the Rejam button for Electro 1.
What you wanted to know about Mondo Rock
Mondo Rock is a heavy, uptempo, modern hard rock style with gritty guitars and pounding drums. It was produced by Rick Di Fonzo in a real studio using real guitars and other instruments – just in case you wondered why it sounds real.
Tip: This style requires a powerful voice or instrument to carry as a melody. Don’t even try humming or using the humble nylon guitar, it’ll be buried under a wall of sound.
Let’s dive in:
With “Electro 1″ open, load “Mondo Rock” from the Rock genre and mute the melody instrument by setting the Mix slider at the bottom right to -5.
Now play your song from beginning to end and try to imagine how many players are involved.
Now hit “Edit Style” – surprisingly, there’s only 4 tracks: Drums, Bass, 2 guitars. Let’s look at them one after another.
Mute all tracks except drums, by clicking the little speaker icons at the bottom left of each instrument symbol. (Tip: That’s one of many ways to customize styles, by the way.)
The drums are typical heavy drums. Very punchy – they have to be, as they have to cut through dominant rock guitars. Play the song and notice how the drums vary between verses and chorusses.
Now add the bass by unmuting it. You’ll notice it sounds pretty metallic and powerful, a typical rock bass sound.
Next, unmute the “Gritty Guitar”. You’ll notice it doesn’t play in all song sections, and it plays different stuff in say Chorus 1 and Chorus 2. It’s a low, “chugging” rhythmic guitar.
Last but not least, unmute “Rock Guitar” – that’s a high, cutting-through power chord guitar, complementing the Gritty Guitar for edge.
Ok, let’s add some orchestra. In UJAM, you can easily add tracks from other styles to the preset styles. Tip: this is a very powerful tool for making songs sound original based on your own ideas (in other words, making them sound like you).
Since the rhythmic foundation of the style is already there, we’ll just add strings and some timpani.
In the track browser atop the instrument icons, select “Strings” from the first column, then “Soundtrack” from the second column. There you have four sections of strings.
Simply click the names of the instruments in the right column to add them. Adding all four can be a bit much. I suggest you leave it at the Cellos and Violas, but entirely up to you. It will sound pretty orchestral already, but let’s add one extra accent:
Select Drum, Soundtrack, and pick Timpani. (Trick: this gives the track instant “Gladiator” feel.)
That’s it for today’s tips & tricks session – now you’ve got a symphonic rock style from editing the Mondo rock style in UJAM. In the next column, we’ll build a style from scratch. Stay tuned and keep jamming!