For the last production stream of the week, Mike Shinoda started a new song titled “Lillith” by an artist known as Plexxaglass (Alexxa Joan Rae). A very vocally intense and beautiful demo, Shinoda had plenty of talent to work with on this track, the main production of which only took about an hour and fifteen minutes — which might just be a new record for these production sessions.
“Plexxaglass, here’s their track. When I heard it, I was like ‘woah’, this is intense. Lyrically, it’s an intense song … A lot of soul, a lot of range, very intense vibes here … it’s like the track is very raw, like … it’s just piano and vocals. I really want to focus in on this lead vocal and add some unexpected ‘colors’ to the track.”
The first production change Shinoda made to the track was adding a bit of auto tune, EQ, compression, and saturation to the vocals. After getting a starting point on the vocals and putting a compressor on the piano, Shinoda then moved onto filling out the rest of the track. Pulling up a break beat he’d found when preparing to work on the song prior to the stream, Shinoda made a few edits to the pattern of the beat, comparing the direction he wanted to take the track to old DJ Shadow, Fiona Apple, Massive Attack, who were all big into trip-hop.
“In the 50s when they sang really heavy, like all the do-op stuff, those mics couldn’t take the volume of the vocal going in, and it distorted the capsule in the mic or something. Anyway, I want a touch of that feel, that they’re [Plexxaglass] singing so loud it’s distorting the mic a little bit.”
Shinoda then created a new group of sounds for the song, including vinyl crackle, what sounds like an echoing snare, SFX bass, a drawn out string part, and a repeating clave, and other special effects. He then added organ, drums, and compression on the vocal’s reverb to flatten it out in order to give them a big, echoing feel, much like vocals recorded in a church — or in the words of Mike Shinoda, “Come on, take them to church, Alexxa!”
After incorporating the majority of the effects he wanted, Shinoda then worked on straightening up the mix, making sure all the sounds were timed correctly and were all at the right volume in regard to each other. With the majority of production complete, Shinoda spent a little more time on a few details and special additions, such as adding shakers, reverse cymbals, and a small piano section to the end of the song to pull the entire track together.
Alexxa Joan Rae, also known as Plexxaglass professionally, is a singer, songwriter, and musician based in Los Angeles, CA, that does not like to limit themselves to the typical, clearly defined musical genres. Playing with the intricacies inherent to the creation of music, Plexxaglass has released multiple singles since 2016, starting with the single “Lamet en Route.” More recently, they released original tracks “Pinch Me” and “Drawn To You” in 2020 and “No Time To Die” this year in collaboration with Entropy Zero and Soul Extract, which is a cover/reimagining of the Billie Eilish hit song of the same name. Plexxaglass has collaborated with numerous others, appearing on Hours North album Substance, the single “Believer” by Sybrid, a compilation album titled V Amsterdam 2020, in which each track is by a different artist, and more. Both Plexxaglass’s original music and cover songs can be found on various platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud.
If you weren’t able to see Plexxaglass’s “Lillith” be produced live by Mike Shinoda, you can still watch the Twitch replay below! Make sure to check out both Plexxaglass’s music, as well as Shinoda’s previous production sessions. And stay tuned to Shinoda’s Twitch channel weekdays around 10 a.m. PT, especially as he will be starting on two new songs next week, “Mixed Signals” by Chandler and a track featuring vocals from by Brevin Kim!