Getting into Bedroom Pop: Gear, Techniques & Practical Advice from Grace Monaco
In this series of articles, we speak to some of the best bedroom pop artists out there; who capture the essence of what has made this genre so magical. We discuss how to get that signature sound, production, DIY recording, gear, promotion, and creating a visual world for your music.
In part 3, we spoke with Grace Monaco
Musicngear: What does your overall creative process look like?
I’m classically trained on the piano and have also lightly studied jazz piano; which means I can create riffs and voicings on the piano, which I can then transform into a full production in Logic.
Sometimes I have a repeating melody/progression in my head that feels plucked from the ether. Other times I hear a song, usually a jazz standard, and hear a chord change that I love and I'll use it to create a song.
In terms of lyrics, I usually write my best when I have been emotionally stimulated, especially by a negative one i.e sadness/anger. It means that I can let go of whatever is dragging me down and turn it into a gift that I can wrap and put away.
Sometimes I have a day where I just feel especially perceptive like I'll just have a topic or concept that just spins around my head and I have to write about it.
I don't have much gear compared to some producers I know. I have Logic, a Focusrite Scarlett Interface, an Editors Keys USB condenser mic (SL600), and a broken midi. Sometimes I think less is more when it comes to production as it's easy to get option paralysis. I don't even download extra vst's online, I only have a few splice samples my friend gave me.
I think you really discover your signature sound when you start experimenting through a DAW - it just comes naturally. When I started producing, VST's like ES2 would look like aeroplane controls to me, but I'd just mess around and make the sound-wave as trippy as possible.
Now that I'm used to navigating Logic, I know that I love using retro sounding leads/pads and I love being as experimentive as possible and making use of all the plug-ins to make things sound crunchier. I love a bit of bit crusher, Pitch shifting, and lots of delay. I also like to NOT quantise my percussion as I feel it gives a more human-like feel and just makes the beat feel a little more expensive.
Musicngear: As an artist who conceptualizes all of the music and the visual world behind it, what are some useful resources you would recommend?
Adobe Cloud is great but even with a student discount, not very affordable. I'd recommend piggy backing on a friend's account, which then you can access Premiere Pro (video editing), Illustrator, Photoshop etc. I found Premiere accessible for a beginner and was still able to achieve a good looking video, however, because it is not too affordable, I currently use DaVinci Resolve.
I've never owned any filming equipment, so I linked up with people in my college who did film studies. Also an iPhone does the job since most people watch TikToks/Instagram anyways, so everyone's very used to that format.
Musicngear: For artists who are interested in getting into Bedroom Pop/DIY Pop, what are some artists you recommend they listen to?
To me, Bedroom/DIY pop is creating something of your own, off your own back - so it totally depends on each person's individual inspirations/influences and what they can make out of it!
Some current inspirational artists for me are Kali Uchis, Laufey, Erykah Badu, Porches, Melanie Martinez, Grimes, Billie Holiday, Agar Agar, Kate Bush. It's a very random selection but I think taking inspiration from all over the place makes things interesting!
Musicngear: What is your process for promoting your music once completed?
I find promoting my music very scary, as my creation is my baby that I'm birthing to the world - but promoting something badly is better than not promoting something at all.
TikTok is a blessing and a curse. I personally struggle to go on the app as I find it very unhealthy. However, it's given a chance for the ordinary person to be seen unlike ever before. It used to be that you could only get into the industry and make success if you already had money/connections, but now all you have to do is post a 10 second video of yourself lip syncing and pray to the algorithm for good luck.
Obviously, it's a lot more than that, and it takes a real dedication to grow a following that sticks. It used to be that the release campaign for a single/album was the most important aspect of promoting an artist. Now It's more of creating a constant alter ego of yourself to post online daily, slowly gaining fans, which can be tiring.
Something I find helpful for getting Spotify streams is finding playlists you like, and that would suit your music, and messaging the playlist curator directly. It's good to consider the quality of the playlist and how many followers it has.
Also I don't recommend paying money to be added to a playlist as I've got a lot more streams out of a playlist if I created a genuine connection through the curator and they added my track because they enjoyed it.
In this series: Part 1: Getting into Bedroom Pop: Gear, Techniques & Practical Advice from The Scary Jokes and Part 2: Getting into Bedroom Pop: Gear, Techniques & Practical Advice from Senseless Optimism
In this section of the blog you will find recording advice, tips and tricks from fellow artists and music producers.
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