Category Archives: Orderliness

Pop Danthology 2013

dan·thol·o·gy

/danˈTHäləjē/

noun
an anthology of various creative works arranged by Daniel Kim.

Finally, after a total of 180 hours of work, I have finished the 2013 edition of my annual “Pop Danthology” music mix series.

SONG LIST

(In alphabetical order by artist)

  1. Anna Kendrick – “Cups (When I’m Gone)”
  2. Armin van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie – “This Is What It Feels Like”
  3. A$AP Rocky feat. Skrillex, Birdy Nam Nam – “Wild For The Night”
  4. Avicii – “Wake Me Up”
  5. Avril Lavigne – “Here’s To Never Growing Up”
  6. Bastille – “Pompeii”
  7. Bauuer – “Harlem Shake”
  8. Bingo Players feat. Far East Movement – “Get Up (Rattle)”
  9. Britney Spears – “Ooh La La”
  10. Britney Spears – “Work B**ch”
  11. Bruno Mars – “Locked Out Of Heaven”
  12. Bruno Mars – “Treasure”
  13. Bruno Mars – “When I Was Your Man”
  14. Calvin Harris feat. Ayah Marar – “Thinking About You”
  15. Calvin Harris feat. Ellie Goulding – “I Need Your Love”
  16. Capital Cities – “Safe And Sound”
  17. Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams – “Get Lucky”
  18. Demi Lovato – “Heart Attack”
  19. Drake feat. Majid Jordan – “Hold On, We’re Going Home”
  20. Drake – “Started From The Bottom”
  21. Ellie Goulding – “Burn”
  22. Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX – “I Love It (I Don’t Care)”
  23. Imagine Dragons – Demons
  24. Jason Derulo – “The Other Side”
  25. Jay-Z feat. Justin Timberlake – “Holy Grail”
  26. Justin Timberlake – “Mirrors”
  27. Justin Timberlake feat. Jay-Z – “Suit & Tie”
  28. Katy Perry – “Roar”
  29. Kelly Clarkson – “Catch My Breath”
  30. Ke$ha – “C’mon”
  31. Ke$ha feat. will.i.am – “Crazy Kids”
  32. Krewella – “Alive”
  33. Lady Gaga – “Applause”
  34. Lana Del Rey – “Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais Remix)”
  35. Lorde – “Royals”
  36. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Mary Lambert – “Same Love”
  37. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton – “Can’t Hold Us”
  38. Maroon 5 – “Daylight”
  39. Maroon 5 – “Love Somebody”
  40. Martin Garrix – “Animals”
  41. Martin Solveig & The Cataracs feat. Kyle – “Hey Now”
  42. Miley Cyrus – “We Can’t Stop”
  43. Miley Cyrus – “Wrecking Ball”
  44. Naughty Boy feat. Sam Smith – “La La La”
  45. One Direction – “Best Song Ever”
  46. One Direction – “Story Of My Life”
  47. OneRepublic – “Counting Stars”
  48. OneRepublic – “If I Lose Myself”
  49. Passenger – “Let Her Go”
  50. P!nk feat. Nate Ruess – “Just Give Me A Reason”
  51. Pitbull feat. Christina Aguilera – “Feel This Moment”
  52. Pitbull feat. Ke$ha – “Timber”
  53. Pitbull feat. TJR – “Don’t Stop The Party”
  54. PSY – “Gentleman”
  55. Rihanna – “Pour It Up”
  56. Rihanna feat. David Guetta – “Right Now”
  57. Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko – “Stay”
  58. Robin Thicke feat. Kendrick Lamar – “Give It 2 U”
  59. Robin Thicke feat. T.I., Pharrell Williams – “Blurred Lines”
  60. Selena Gomez – “Come & Get It”
  61. Selena Gomez – “Slow Down”
  62. Taylor Swift – “22”
  63. Taylor Swift – “I Knew You Were Trouble”
  64. will.i.am feat. Britney Spears – “Scream & Shout”
  65. will.i.am feat. Justin Bieber – “#thatPOWER”
  66. Ylvis – “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)”
  67. Zedd feat. Foxes – “Clarity”
  68. Zedd feat. Hayley Williams – “Stay The Night”

LYRICS & SONG TITLES

(In order of appearance)

THE MAKING OF POP DANTHOLOGY 2013

There is so much that goes into the production of Pop Danthologies. Below is a pie chart that shows the breakdown of all the work I did for Pop Danthology 2013.

Pop Danthology 2013 Pie Chart

MUSIC

GATHERING

The first and least exciting part of making Pop Danthology is gathering all the different instrumental and acapella tracks, audio stems, and full songs. I search all over the internet like a determined chef searches different markets and grocery stores for his ingredients. Mashup artists such as myself, however, are “chefs” who live in a world of many deceitful grocery stores that mislabel their produce as “fresh” and “organic” when they really are far from those descriptions. I am one “chef” who will not be deceived. I instead take the time to visit every “grocery store” in order to get ingredients of the highest quality. This year, I felt that there was a shortage of high quality audio parts compared to previous years. Nevertheless, after 33 hours, I was able to compile a ready-to-mix list of 179 (73 vocal, 41 instrumental, 65 complete with both) music files.

Pop Danthology 2013 Song List

PLANNING AND ORGANIZING

A lot of planning is required in the making of Pop Danthology because not all songs fit nicely into one stationary tempo and key (many other mashup artists do this but it distorts the sound quality and timbre of the original audio parts too much for my liking). In order to determine what keys to use in Pop Danthology, I draw up a chart like the one below.

Pop Danthology 2013 Key Chart[ the numbers above refer to the number of songs in that key ]

This key chart shows me that this year’s music, like many of the previous years’ music, is all over the place; there is no one key being predominantly used. I, therefore, had no choice but to use multiple key changes in this year’s Pop Danthology. The tempos of all the music this year were all over the place too. I had to use a total of 11 tempo changes in Pop Danthology 2013.

Pop Danthology 2013 Tempo[ This is Pop Danthology 2013's tempo graph showing all the fluctuations in tempo from the beginning (left side) to the very end (right side) of the mix ]

I spent a total of 9 hours planning and organizing Pop Danthology 2013.

ARRANGING AND MIXING

The fun part began only after investing 42 hours into this epic project (talk about delayed gratification, huh?). This is the part I get to combine all the different sounds together to make new sounds. I spent a total of 114 hours arranging and mixing Pop Danthology 2013. A lot of that time, though, was spent just listening to my progress at full volume and dancing as if I was hearing it at a DJ concert. It is also during this part of the mashup making process that the only music I listen to, on loop, is my work in progress. Even while driving my car from one place to another, I examine all the volumes and frequencies of each individual audio part with a critical ear.

Pop Danthology 2013 Arrangement

[ Arranging my music on Logic Pro X ]

VIDEO

GATHERING

Unlike the music portion of the mashup making process, it is so much easier to find the official music videos to all the songs used in Pop Danthology. All it took was 1 hour of simple YouTube searches.

EDITING

Editing the music video was so easy as well. All I really had to do was find the video clips matching the audio parts featured in Pop Danthology 2013 and then stretch or compress them by the same percentage that the audio parts were stretched/compressed. I do spend the extra time, though, to carefully select video clips that are appropriate for all ages. I spent 23 hours editing Pop Danthology 2013.

POP… DAN… THOLOGY INTRO

Van Damme VS Dan

This year I decided to make a parody of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s viral Volvo commercial as my video intro. I could not have done this part without the help of:

Justin Lam (Lighting, Equipment)

Steve Tan (Editor/Compositor)

Website: threesixtyphoto.com Website: stevetan.net
Facebook: ThreeSixtyPhotography Instagram: @stevetan
Twitter: @threesixtyphoto Twitter: @stevetan
Vimeo: threesixtyphoto Vimeo: stevetan

Click here to read more about how Steve was able to make my floating head move so perfectly along with Jean-Claude Van Damme’s body.

DOWNLOAD

Pop Danthology 2013

Pop Danthology 2012

Pop Danthology 2011

Pop Danthology 2010

TITLE ART

(Click to enlarge)

Pop Danthology 2013 CoverPop Danthology 2013 Black TitlePop Danthology 2013 White Title

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OCD vs OCPD: Restoring Our Imagination and Heart

One of the most frustrating things about having extremely high standards is feeling like nothing is ever done as well as it could be. It is exactly this frustration that I experienced when I first looked for information on OCPD after I was diagnosed with it. No matter how much I researched, I found nothing that could fully satisfy my longing to understand and better myself. I decided to take matters into my own hands.

For an entire year now, I have been filling in the missing pieces of this highly misunderstood and overpathologized personality type. In a year’s time, my unconventional way of looking at this condition has attracted many loyal readers, encouraged people to give their marriage another chance, and saved people from committing suicide. This blog is now the #1 online self-help resource for OCPD and it appears as one of the first search results for “OCPD” on Google.

As a lover of psychology who studies this subject for fun, I also happen to come across other “disorders” and “illnesses.” Like the information out there on OCPD, I cannot help but think that so much is missing. My mind then begins to question and wrestle with conflicting theories until I find the one that makes the most sense. After much questioning and wrestling, I now feel ready to share my own personal (and very different) theory about the real difference between OCD and OCPD.

People with OCD are gifted with a huge imagination. People with OCPD are gifted with a huge heart.

OCD vs OCPD
First things first – there is nothing wrong with you and there is nothing missing in your brain!

SHARED CAUSE

Anxiety
Most of the information out there will emphasize that OCD is an anxiety disorder while OCPD is a personality disorder. I do not think such distinction really matters. I believe it is quite simple: both OCD and OCPD are caused by the anxiety that comes with being highly sensitive.

Thinking/Learning Style
Both OCD and OCPD come from being extremely “left-brained.” This “auditory-sequential” linear thinking/learning style draws many people with OCD and OCPD toward facts, details, rules, routines, efficiency, order, cleanliness, organization, linear processing, logic, etc.

DIFFERENTIATING FACTOR

Dominant Overexcitability
Psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski identified five areas of “overexcitabilities:” psychomotor, sensual, intellectual, imaginational, and emotional. OCD happens as a result of a dominant imaginational overexcitability while OCPD happens as a result of a dominant emotional overexcitability. In other words, people with OCD have a HUGE imagination and people with OCPD have a HUGE heart.

GIFT VS CURSE

Possessing extreme sensitivity in one area can be both a gift and a curse. When a person with OCD is not overwhelmed, his or her imagination can greatly enrich his or her own life, the lives of others, and assist in problem-solving. The same goes for people with OCPD and their emotions. Unfortunately, it is exactly these areas of extreme sensitivity that also betray them the most. People with OCD can imagine extremely disturbing events and consequences that most people cannot imagine with the same intensity. People with OCPD can feel extremely disturbing emotions that most people cannot feel with the same intensity. I am in no way suggesting that OCDers and OCPDers “make up” what they imagine and feel. They do not conveniently choose the thoughts/emotions that enter their imagination/heart.

WRONG LESSON LEARNED

The very first thought that enters the mind of people with OCD and OCPD upon feeling overwhelmed by their dominant overexcitability is “I feel very uncomfortable. This thought/feeling cannot be right. How do I get rid of this immediately?” Without the right kind of parenting and counselling from childhood, people with OCD and OCPD teach themselves from a very early age the wrong lesson that they must get rid of their imagination/emotions altogether. After seeing the positive results of their self-taught strategies, they repeat those strategies over and over again until those strategies become compulsions and addictions.

OCD COPING STRATEGIES

Fear of the unknown can come with having such a huge imagination. One way people with OCD attempt to eliminate this fear is by turning the unknown into the known through checking. Another way people with OCD attempt to eliminate this fear is by working hard at doing everything possible to prevent the unknown from ever happening. Lastly, many people with OCD distract themselves from their fear of the unknown through hyper-focusing on an activity (quite often one that requires extreme attention to detail) that takes their mind off of their imagination.

OCPD COPING STRATEGIES

Fear of emotions can come with being so emotionally sensitive. Most of the coping strategies of people with OCPD are aimed at removing emotions altogether. Whenever negative emotions are present, people with OCPD do whatever they can to avoid feeling them. They often think their way out of their emotions and exercise all kinds of psychological strategies in their head to comfort themselves. A great deal of energy is also invested into the prevention of future negative emotions. Lastly, many people with OCPD participate in distracting activities that drown their difficult emotions.

WHEN THE CURSE WINS…

When the curse wins, both groups live with a high level of anxiety for the majority of their existence. Both groups never experience a minute of peace in their respective areas of sensitivity. When their anxiety gets really bad, neither group can get through the day, no matter how much time and energy they spend on their coping strategies. Even if both groups find a way to get through the day, most of them are left with their dominant overexcitability so dulled that they never reach their potential in creativity or empathy. The inability to imagine also affects relationships differently than the inability to feel. While relationships can get by without imagination, not many relationships can function without emotions. Consequently, many people with OCPD still have extreme difficulty in their interpersonal relationships.

WHEN THE GIFT WINS…

You most definitely can turn both OCD and OCPD into gifts! When you do, life becomes so exciting. You no longer are pushed to do things out of fear, but you are pulled to do things out of joy. Your sensitivity adds to your life. Your dreams, imagination, and emotions inspire you. People with OCPD who have their gift for empathy restored can experience intimacy in relationships like no one else can. People with OCPD can experience compassion for entire nations of the world and be selfless enough to give up their life for the benefit of others.

You are going to be just fine! Now go ahead and experience your imagination and emotions. :)

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The Making of Ultra Dance 14 Megamix

Three weeks ago in my post titled “Teenage Dream Come True,” I wrote about my exciting new opportunity to work with Ultra Music. Today, Ultra Music released my work on their YouTube channel!


I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this work. To be more exact, I enjoyed all fifty hours that I spent making this music video mix. Even though Ultra Music gave me just two weeks to finish the project, I was so passionately involved that I finished it within a week.

GATHERING (2 hour)

One of the greatest perks of legitimately working on a mix with a record company as opposed to working on a bootleg mix alone is the full access to all the best quality audio parts. In “The Making of Pop Danthology,” I had to spend an entire month working on this part. It is this part of megamixing that I hate the most because it feels so unproductive. I was thrilled to find out that Ultra Music was willing to save my time by providing me with all the audio parts that they had access to. All I had to do was click one button to download everything onto my computer. I felt like a little boy on a shopping spree at a toy store when I saw all the perfect audio stems! There was only a little bit of additional searching that I had to do on my own.

LISTENING (1 hour)

To get a good overview of the compilation of music, I spent an hour just listening to the fifteen songs that Ultra Music wanted me to mix.

PLANNING (8 hours)

My planning always starts off with me making a list of all the songs with their tempos and keys. I thought maybe I could save some time on this part by looking at the key information provided by Beatport, but I discovered that even their details are not always so accurate. I then made a note of all the best and most marketable parts for each one of the fifteen songs (I have always had a natural sense for sounds that appeal to the masses). Then I started to plan out the order in which those best parts would appear on the mix.

ARRANGING (23 hours)

I spent the next twenty hours putting all of the audio parts together using Logic Pro.

MIXING (1 hour)

Once all the audio parts were in their rightful place, I had to mix my arrangement. Surprisingly, this took a much shorter time than I originally expected because, this time, I worked with such good quality audio. Previously when I worked with lesser quality audio and warped them using lesser quality warping mechanisms, I had to play around with the EQ so much to make up for the lost frequencies. This time, however, I downloaded a free trial version of Ableton Live and was amazed by its ability to warp audio while retaining much of its original quality.

VIDEO EDITING – first edit (8 hours)

Once the music is done, the video editing comes so easy. I finished making the first edit of the video in one day with no breaks, no meals. To me, all the parts before this stage is like drawing and this part is like tracing over my drawing. Since there is also less lip-syncing in electronic music videos, timing is so much more flexible. I did not need to speed up or slow down too much footage. After watching all of the electronic dance music videos, I realized that too many directors overuse running and fighting during the climactic parts of electronic music.

VIDEO EDITING – final edit (7 hours)

Adding images, text, logos, making changes as requested by Ultra Music, making the teaser.

SONGLIST:

[A] Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch – Sweet Nothing
[B] Qwote – Letting Go
[C] Brass Knuckles- Bad Habits
[D] Enur feat. Nicki Minaj and Goonrock – I’m That Chick (Rune RK Remix)
[E] Alex Gaudino feat. Taboo – I Don’t Wanna Dance
[F] Kaskade feat. Neon Trees – Lessons In Love (Headhunterz Remix)
[G] Benny Benassi presents The Biz – Satisfaction (RL Grime Remix)
[H] deadmau5 – The Veldt (Tommy Trash Remix)
[I] Sandro Silva feat. Jack Miz – Let Go Tonight
[J] Fedde Le Grand & Nicky Romero feat. Matthew Koma – Sparks (Turn Off Your Mind)
[K] Bang La Decks- Kudeon (Obsession)
[L] Michael Mind – Feeling So Blue
[M] Congorock and Stereo Massive – Bless Di Nation feat. Sean Paul
[N] Black Boots – Rebels In The Night (Extended Mix)
[O] Above & Beyond feat. Zoe Johnston – Alchemy (Above & Beyond Club Mix)

ORDER OF APPEARANCE:

[time start - song - time end]

 VOCALS:

 INSTRUMENTALS:

00:03 – C – 00:07
00:07 – A – 00:11
00:10 – J – 00:19
00:11 – H – 00:15
00:14 – E – 00:15
00:19 – C – 00:21
00:21 – J – 00:23
00:23 – C – 00:24
00:24 – J – 00:26
00:26 – C – 00:35
00:37 – F – 00:52
00:44 – C – 00:45
00:52 – B – 01:07
01:07 – C – 01:22
01:22 – N – 01:52
01:59 – K – 02:00
02:01 – D – 02:05
02:07 – L – 02:22
02:28 – L – 02:30
02:30 – M – 02:37
02:52 – O – 03:21
03:25 – G – 03:26
03:33 – G – 03:34
03:40 – G – 03:41
03:41 – J – 04:11
03:48 – G – 03:49
04:10 – I – 04:28

00:03 – C – 01:22
01:22 – C + N – 01:37
01:37 – N – 01:52
01:52 – N + L – 02:07
02:07 – L – 02:37
02:37 – O + G – 03:26
03:26 – G – 03:56
03:56 – A – end
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Intellectualization

Emotional pain is not an easy thing to handle for many people, especially emotionally sensitive people. Emotional pain that is too overwhelming often causes people to resort to the use of defence mechanisms. One of those defence mechanisms that people with OCPD are likely to use because of their dominant “left brain” is intellectualization.

People with OCPD primarily use intellectualization to cope with their difficult feelings.

Intellectualization

INTELLECTUALIZATION:

This defensive style is a cousin to “Isolation of Affect.” Feelings are not allowed into consciousness. Instead, issues are discussed in a hyper intellectual manner. Everything is examined from every possible point of view. Everything is taken seriously; humor does not seem possible. A person who intellectualizes seems to rob life of its spontaneity and replaces it with an exaggerated sense of seriousness and microscopic scrutiny. (taken from “The Caller’s Coping Styles“)

Most people with OCPD are so accustomed to using intellectualization to cope with their difficult feelings that they do not realize it is a defence mechanism that is not shared or very well understood by the majority of the world. Consequently, it causes so much disunity and frustration between them and their loved ones.

Having successfully comforted themselves with the use of this defence mechanism for so long, most people with OCPD cannot think of any other way for their loved ones to comfort them. People with OCPD hope that their loved ones would partner with them in their intellectualization, help them in their logical reasoning and problem solving, and celebrate with them when they figure out the answer. In other words, many people with OCPD want their loved ones to join in on their use of their defence mechanism. This, of course, rarely happens.

What happens instead is that their loved ones give the kind of comfort that usually works on most people. They might say “don’t worry, you’re going to be ok.” To this, those accustomed to intellectualization will feel compelled to ask “how?” and “why?” as those are the questions they always begin with in their attempt to comfort themselves. Their loved ones may then take their best shot at an explanation. But being already ten steps ahead in the identification and analysis of all the different possible explanations (would you expect anything less from those who have been doing that for the majority of their life?), it is likely that people with OCPD have already considered the explanation suggested by their loved ones. In much of the same way that they wrestle with their own reasoning, people with OCPD will then wrestle with the reasoning of their loved ones. Although this just happens to be the OCPD way in which they eventually reach their comforting “truth,” their loved ones most likely take it personally when their reasoning is rejected in the process. The loved ones then conclude that people with OCPD are just too argumentative and impossible to comfort. When it is apparent to people with OCPD that their loved ones have given up trying to comfort them, people with OCPD then revert back to what they have always been used to: they go off on their own, work out their pain in isolation, and tell themselves that the only people they can count on are themselves.

People with OCPD who habitually intellectualize their own feelings often do not know any other way to comfort others as well. Out of genuine care, they may intellectualize their loved ones feelings. This, however, does not bring comfort to most people. The loved ones may wonder, “Why does he seem so disconnected from my emotions?” “Why is he unable to just empathize with me?” “Why does he turn my feelings into some emotionless law case?”

In the end, because of intellectualization, both sides are left feeling sad (or even angry) that the other is so incapable of providing the needed form of comfort.

SO WHAT NOW?

HOW TO CO-EXIST WITH THE OTHER (OCPD):
Focus on the heart of your loved one. He or she cares about you and his or her intention is to comfort you. Whatever he or she advises, even if the logic is so flawed, accept it with delight. Understand that your loved one will most likely take it personally if you disagree with and rip apart his or her reasoning. Do that in your own head in silence (with a smile on your face) if you are going to do that at all. If your loved one is going through difficult emotions and needs you to comfort him or her, resist your urge to intellectualize his or her feelings. Remember, even though this defence mechanism makes you feel better, it does not make the majority of people feel better. It can make them feel much worse. If your loved one is unable to specify how he or she would like to be comforted, try to comfort him or her in the way that most people would feel comforted by. Show concern, emotion, and empathy. Feel the pain with him or her. Tell him or her that he or she will be ok. Let him or her vent out whatever he or she wants to say (even if it all comes out unstructured, illogical, and imperfect). Do not correct him or her. Hold him or her in your arms. Be there for him or her.

HOW TO CO-EXIST WITH THE OTHER (OTHERS):
If you are going to give your OCPD friend any reasons, explanations, or advice, make sure to give the ones that encourage him or her to experience his or her difficult feelings. Any other reason, explanation, or advice will encourage your OCPD friend to make use of his or her defence mechanism. Whatever reasons, explanations, or advice you give, understand that your OCPD friend’s analysis of your reasoning is simply his or her own unique way of trying to find comfort through working out a final answer. If he or she disagrees with you, do not take it personally – this is just what he or she does in his or her own mind all the time. Try to imagine that his or her disagreement with your reasoning is bringing him or her that much closer to the truth that he or she is trying to figure out through a process of elimination. If it appears that your OCPD friend wants to be comforted by your participation in his or her intellectualization, you can still participate by asking questions and listening. But as soon as you can (probably best idea not to do it while your OCPD friend is experiencing difficult feelings), discuss with your OCPD friend the consequences of intellectualization and have him or her understand the importance of resisting the urge to use this defence mechanism.

HOW TO GRADUALLY ELIMINATE INTELLECTUALIZATION (OCPD):
Completely removing this defence mechanism without replacing it with another one is not recommended if it is the only coping method you have to handle your difficult feelings. In order to soften the blow, you may want to lean on other healthier defence mechanisms (see “Mature Defence Mechanisms“) in the meantime. Choosing to resist the urge to intellectualize your difficult feelings will require you to first recognize the complications it causes on you and your relationships.

THE COMPLICATIONS OF INTELLECTUALIZATION (OCPD):
This defence mechanism is not helpful to you. It keeps you weak. It steals your opportunity to grow stronger and develop your ability to endure more difficult emotions in the future. It causes you more frustration and anxiety. Who knows when you will be able to figure out your “truth” through the stressful process of reasoning that you take? It may take forever. It keeps you in anguish until you find that answer you are looking for. Is it really worth it all? It also keeps you feeling very lonely. It limits the kind of people that can comfort you. The only people who can comfort you are those who are as good as you or better in logical reasoning. Good luck trying to find them. Do you not want to find refuge in your loved ones? Does it not ache your heart that your loved ones feel hopeless?

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The Making of Pop Danthology

Pop Danthology 2012Once a year, I try to make a seamless musical mix (“mash-up”) of the year’s top pop songs. This is not a quick and easy thing to do. Making a mash-up is like completing a huge puzzle (not every piece goes together). Fortunately, my brain was made for these kinds of puzzles. The whole process takes me about three whole months.

FIRST MONTH (GATHERING)

This is my least favourite part of the process because it feels so unproductive. All I do for one month is gather my ingredients (vocal parts, instrumental parts, video clips, etc.). Like Jiro, the master sushi chef I wrote about in my last blog post, I sacrifice my efficiency to get the best ingredients. I search all over the internet and use my sensitivity to compare all the different versions of the same puzzle pieces. If good quality audio parts are not available on the internet, I will then make my own audio parts (using audio engineering techniques like phase cancellation) as a last resort. I then start compiling an organized list of the best puzzle pieces.

This is what my list looks like from A to C

Mashup List

[ Song Title (Part) - Key - Tempo ]

SECOND MONTH (PLANNING)

Once I have all my audio parts, I then start planning out a way to fit them together. Audio parts must be in the same key AND in the same tempo in order to fit together. But it is not as simple as digitally manipulating all the tracks to one key and tempo (though many other mash-up artists do this). If vocal parts are pitched more than one semi-tone from its original key, the vocalists no longer sound human (they either sound like chipmunks or like king Xerxes from “300”). The tempo of instrumentals cannot be changed too much either. In order to find the perfect key to work with, I make a key chart.

Pop Danthology Key Chart

[ the numbers above refer to the number of songs in that key ]

Looking at this chart, I can tell that C minor is a great key to work with and F# minor is a terrible key to work with. In the end, I decided to use four different keys and three tempo changes.

THIRD MONTH (ARRANGING AND MIXING)

In the third month, I finally get to work on my favourite part of the mash-up making process, arrangement! This is the part when I get to have fun putting my puzzle pieces together. The part that feels like work, however, is the very technical part of mixing. I must adjust the volume and EQ of about 150 individual audio parts. I get very OCPD about mixing because everything just sounds so imperfect and messy to me. This is the part when I listen to Rihanna sing the line “Shine bright like a diamond” on loop, over and over again, as I make my changes.

Hope you enjoy it! It was a lot of work! For an entire month, I went to sleep every night with ringing in my ears :p

FAQs

Q: Is it easier to make a mash-up of pop music because it all sounds the same?
A: No. I can just as easily mix the Beatles and other “more complex” music. Different time signature does not make a song less easy to mix. All you have to do is find another song that is in the same time signature. Mixing live classical music can be a little bit more challenging only because of its inconsistent tempo (those inconsistent conductors!). Quantizing can easily fix this obstacle (I use “flex view” in “Logic Pro” and manually compress and stretch the audio for classical music). The biggest challenge I can think of would be mixing songs that are using completely different scales. So mixing western music with something like classical Arabic music or Gregorian chant would be challenging. But even those can be mixed after changing the pitch of some of the notes using tuning software. Mixing pop music the way I do is not all that simple either. I mixed together the music of “We Are Young” and “Brokenhearted” between 2:29 and 3:00. After putting them in the same tempo and key, “We Are Young” has the chord progression F, Dm7, Gm7, A#, C while “Brokenhearted” has the chord progression F, Dm, A#, C, F. Do you notice how only the first two chords work together? I had to find the parts of “Brokenhearted” that played the bass notes without too many other sounds, copy that sound to all the down beats of the instrumental of “We Are Young,” and then use a professional tuning software called “Melodyne” to change the individual notes of the bass to match the chord progression of “We Are Young.”

Q: Why put in all that time and effort in something that you cannot earn any money from?
A: I do it simply because I can. That is what I believe separates us passionate artists from the rest of the world. That is probably why the term “starving artist” also exists haha.

Q: What did you use to make this mash-up?
A: MacBook Pro (Computer), Logic Pro (DAW), Melodyne Editor (Pitch Correction), Final Cut Pro (Video Editor)

Q: Where can I download the mp3?
A: http://www.facebook.com/danielkimmusic

Q: Can I play this on my radio show, during my DJ set, on my wedding, etc.?
A: Yes, you at least have my permission. But I’m no lawyer. So you might want to check first before playing it on something that you are making money off of :p

Q: Why is Taylor Swift and other big artists of 2012 missing from this mash-up?
A: I extracted some of the audio parts of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and really wanted to use it. Unfortunately, the tempo of the song is too different from the tempo of the section of my mash-up that is in G major (the key that Taylor Swift’s song is in). The key is also too different from the key of the section of my mash-up that is roughly around the same tempo. If you did not hear some of 2012’s hit songs, it is simply because I could not find a way to fit them in or the audio parts that I had for them were in such poor quality that it would have compromised the quality of my mash-up to include them. Also, 2012 was not a big year for Britney Spears and Lady Gaga. Please check out Pop Danthology 2011 to listen to them.

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