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Mixing via negativa: Cutting sounds to add intensity

Stay uses repetition, a simple chord progression, and an emotional vocal performance to hook you.

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Db Maj
Blake Slatkin, Omer Fedi, Charlie Puth, Cashmere Cat

Key Takeaways

So many good things packed into this short song. Let's dig in: 

  • Structure: The majority of the song centers around the uber-catchy chorus ("I do the same..."). Verse 1 is only 8 measures, but Justin Bieber gets 16 verses in V2.
  • Vocals: The use of reverb creates a massive space behind the vocals of The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber, but it doesn't detract from the dry vocals up front. There's a lot of subtle ear candy and additional layers added to vocals in verse 2, plus additional layering of bgvs towards the end of the song that creates a ghostly presence.
  • Drums: The drums follow a ridiculously simple pattern: kick - snare - kick - snare - kick - snare - kick kick - snare. But they really bring the song to life because of the way they push the beat forward and the way they strategically pause the drums throughoug the song.
  • Silence: I'll make this comment one more time because it's worth repeating. Sometimes all youu need to do to make your drums hit harder is to cut them out strategically throughout the song. When you can't add more volume/energy/sounds try to subtract and carve out space.
  • 8-measure sections: The song is broken up into predominantly 8-bar sections and typically something new happens in the production every 8 measures.
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