April 09, 2018  

Watch TIEKS Break Down His Dance Hit ‘Sunshine’ ft. Dan Harkna

For our latest guest deconstruction video, we caught up with London-based producer and songwriter TIEKS – the man behind last summer’s smash ‘Sunshine’ ft Dan Harkna. Despite his modest solo discography, TIEKS has production credits with a host of artists and believe us when we say he knows what he’s doing: check out the video below for one of the most information-packed videos we’ve ever made as TIEKS takes us through the project on Logic Pro step-by-step. If you’d like to get into producing using Logic yourself, there’s no better place to start than with our Intro to Music Production module which is part of our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree.

TIEKS made his name as a producer in the more traditional sense, working with the likes of Florence and the Machine and Duke Dumont (he worked on the former’s ‘Hardest of Hearts’ from her breakout debut and on Dumont’s number one track ‘Need U (100%)’). While his solo career may only be few releases deep, all of them have been certified bangers. His first, ‘Sing That Song’ ft. Celeste, set the tone for the style he has become known for, a perfect slice of breezy pop built on smooth house beats and layered vocal tracks. ‘Sunshine‘ marked a further step up, releasing on Ministry of Sound to become the song that defined the summer in 2017 for many. The success of ‘Sunshine’ has even led to the chance to work with Popcaan and the mighty Chaka Khan on his most recent single, ‘Say a Prayer’.

In today’s video, our focus is firmly on ‘Sunshine’. TIEKS goes through each element of the track with remarkable thoroughness, passing on tips on the make-up of the drum pattern, it’s relationship with his bass parts along with mixing and effects flourishes that really give the rhythm section movement. One fascinating aspect is his breakdown of the parts that are essentially inaudible but improve the track almost intangibly, in this case backing vocals from Kelly Lee and long single-note lead lines in the mould of many a Chicago house classic.

The finished track in all its glory, along with a host of Dachshunde

TIEKS also extolls the virtue of his favourite plate reverb from the 1960s and the use of virtual tape machines, and he drops several priceless nuggets of information via metaphor, including why producing is like cooking and gain staging should be considered the onions and garlic of the operation. Perhaps most importantly, he tells us about the conceptual make-up of the song, the balance between light and dark and why you must put the needs of the song before your own whims as a producer.

Follow TIEKS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We hope you enjoyed this video as much as us. When we watched it back it was all we could do to keep from downing tools in the office and jumping into the studio ourselves. If you feel it too but perhaps don’t have the requisite know-how to put your own ideas into practice, then let us help you by taking one of our music production courses. We have a host of these available in London and Online, and for the most comprehensive of these, we recommend our BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering. Find out more by calling +44 20 7729 4884.

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