If you’ve ever seen a Shawn Wasabi style performance video and wondered, “How can I do thattt?” then you’ll love this article. For the first time ever Teqqnix reveals 6 secrets and dives deep in the thinking patterns behind a successful video like 75K. Learn what it takes to make a killer performance video directly from an expert.
- Gear Used: Midi Fighter 64
- Artist: Teqqnix
- Song: 75K
- Samples used: see the full list in the YouTube video description
Author’s note: Minor editing was done to improve clarity and group thoughts since this was originally a long-form verbal interview. If there are any mistakes, please assume they are mine, the writer’s mistakes. Aside from that, these are all tips directly from Teqqnix himself.
1. Create A Blueprint
I actually started by picking one song and cutting out a short four bar section of that song. Using it’s motif and chord progressions, I rebuilt the chords in Ableton and built my own song, patterns, melodies and all that. By the time it came to actually creating the mashup I already had the structure and progressions that I wanted so it was just about finding the right notes to the right chords or notes to play in place of the original song blueprint.
2. Use Short Audio Samples In The Same Key
It was all about finding songs that were in the same key or songs that I could transpose to fit into that key. I tried to stick to plus or minus two semitones but every now and then, when I was using maybe a small vocal shout from somewhere, it didn’t sound too bad if I’d put it up three or four semitones.
The trick is you don’t necessarily have to use large sections of each song. There are a lot of songs where I used only short vocal samples, a short percussive noise, or just a random sound that plays very faintly in the background. Although you don’t really hear it as well, it fills up the rest of the areas in the stereo field. That just makes the song feel so much nicer.
3. Add Some “Ear Candy”
Particular songs I wanted to use as “ear candy” – as in songs that were easily recognizable – so that when you’re listening to the mashup you could be like “oh hey, I recognize this song” so I used a few popular songs such as “Something Just Like This” by the Chain Smokers, “One More Time” by Daft Punk, and “Alone” by Marshmello.
4. Setup The Pads Wisely & Practice At Slower Tempos
Try and make it so that it’s not too hard to play but it’s comfortable so you’re not trying to stretch your hand across the entire controller to get to the other sound or something. If I’m having difficulties playing certain parts, what I tend to do is slow down a lot. I’ll practice playing them at a lot slower tempos and eventually, slowly speed up until they’re back up to normal speed. By practicing them at a slower tempo I get used to the patterns. Practice over and over because practice makes perfect. For me, the left hand is more for rhythms and drums while the right hand plays vocals melody and all that.
Why a Midi Fighter 64?
“At one point I planned on getting a few Midi Fighters 3Ds and to use those. But after waiting for a while you guys ended up releasing the 64 and I instantly thought I have to get it! I love it. The buttons on it feel great. The arcade style buttons bounce back. They just feel really nice to tap and it allows me to tap a lot faster on them. The noise they make is quite satisfying actually. “- Teqqnix
5. Design A Light-Show That Fits The Song
I generally start out by putting one or two lights here and there. I usually try to link the light from one sample with the light from another sample so it’s sort of a continuous effect. Have it so the lights are flowing from one another instead of just having random lights overlapping and such – unless that’s the effect you’re going for, like what I did in this mashup. With this mashup I wanted a more clearly point out that it was a mashup using different songs from all over the place. In a sense, I feel that that fit the style of the video better.
Also, try and vary it up with the colors of the lights but not too instantaneously. Try and flow from one color to another through gradients – it makes it more appealing to watch. Have the lights fit the sound that you want. For example, let’s say it’s a dubstep song and it has a fast growl in there or whatever. Try and make the lights suit that. So make a fast moving light to match that fast sound.
People have the assumption that if it looks more professional it is more professional so trying to achieve that look is probably the most important thing. That includes: good lighting for the video, the correct camera settings so it’s not blurry, and then editing that so it looks good as a final product.
Instead of recording the audio that I put out I tend to record the midi notes that I play and so in Ableton I review the MIDI notes and if there are pops and clicks in it, I can quantize those notes. If it’s off by a certain amount, I’ll have to re-record because obviously, I don’t want to in a sense fake the video. But if it’s small pops and clicks in between samples where a slight millisecond overlays or something, I’ll quantize that so that the whole song fits perfectly and you’re not getting random glitches in the speakers.
Tips On Getting Started
Take the time to really go and look at how covers are structured and the techniques that other people use. Try to incorporate a mix of techniques that you’ve seen work well with your own style. Creating a sense of uniqueness for yourself makes you more appealing to watch than if you just look like another cover artist that everyone else looks like. Don’t don’t think of it as a job where you’re obliged to make a cover by a certain time or whatever. It’s really just a hobby so just have fun with what you do.
Creating, practicing, and filming a mashup video in a day is probably not realistic. However, if you break things down step by step and take more of a systematic approach with careful attention to detail you’ll have a better chance of success. Don’t forget to have fun!
If you appreciated these tips, make sure to show Teqqnix some love and share this article with a friend!