Chromeo "Juice" Breakdown

Building on our series of Chromeo Tutorials, last week we remake the mesmerizing track "Lost and Found." Today, we're turning our attention to one of their chart-topping hits, "Juice."
"Juice" is a standout single from Chromeo's fifth studio album, "Head Over Heels," released in 2018. The song encapsulates the essence of Chromeo's signature sound, blending catchy melodies, funky basslines, and groovy drums with a modern production aproach, in this tutorial, we'll delve into the sound design elements that make "Juice" such a standout track and we'll break down each component of the song's sonic palette.

This article was possible because all of the presets from this breakdown came from our French House Serum pack and it has have 20% off with the code: SP01


- Chromeo - Lost and Found

- Chromeo - Clorox Wipe


Let's kick things off with the signature stab chords used throughout the song, begin by selecting the Basic_Cjw wavetable for oscillator "A" and the ICanHasKick for oscillator "B." Now, crank up the warp knob on oscillator "B" to bend the wavetable. Next, use envelope 1 with an attack time of 40 ms to modulate both the cutoff of the filter and the resonance which should be at around 50% to give those stabs their distinctive sound.

Now, let's focus on another key element of the track: the recurring melody that resonates throughout "Juice." This melody shares a similar foundation to the preset used for the stab chords. In oscillator "A," we have an IHasCanKick waveform, while for oscillator "B," a Basic Shape, being bent by the warp knob. What distinguishes this sound is the notably high resonance of the filter, which is being modulated by envelope 1, infusing the melody with its characteristic sound, in the FX tab use a quarter note delay and a filter to cut some of the low end.

As we reach the bridge of the song, this reese bass emerges, injecting depth and movement into the track. To craft this patch, we've employed an MB Saw wavetable in oscillator "A" and paired it with a BasicShape in oscillator "B." To sculpt the bass's sonic profile, employ a filter to trim frequencies above 300 Hz, ensuring a clean, focused low-end presence. Additionally, LFO 1 is modulating the levels of both oscillators and the filter cutoff, simulating a sidechain effect, to enhance the bass's dynamic groove, also activate the mono and legato to slide between notes.

If you listen closely, you'll hear a significant detail: as the sound progresses, the cutoff gradually opens, accompanied by a gradual increase in resonance. Achieving this effect involved automation of both parameters within Ableton.

To craft this synth patch, we begin with a Basic Mg waveform in oscillator "A" and a BS2 - Acid wavetable in oscillator "B". Envelope 2 is modulating the cutoff of the filter, shaping the sound that makes it sound plucky. Delving into the FX tab, we boost the low-end frequencies with an EQ, ensuring a robust foundation, while introducing distortion to infuse the sound with a gritty, textured quality.

Crafting this funky lead sound was an absolute joy. We kicked things off with a SQR_SAW_Wrd waveform in oscillator "A" and paired it with an ICanHasKick waveform in oscillator "B". To inject some brightness and character, we dialed the FM modulation of oscillator"B" at around 65%. Tinkering with the filter, we settled on a resonance level of approximately 40%. Enter LFO 1, gracefully modulating the fine-tuning of both oscillators, adding some movement and Envelope 2 is working as an Auxiliary source to gradually increase the modulation of the finetuning. 

Now that we enter the second verse of the song this guitar appears and once again, we dive into the realm of using Serum as our trusty sampler. We began by recording a C note in a Stratocaster. With the desired tone in hand, we imported it into Serum's noise oscillator. Enabling both pitch tracking and one-shot mode. Next, we introduced an Analog_BD_Sin waveform in oscillator "A," enriching it with frequency modulation sourced from the noise oscillator, this will make the Sine wave to sound very similar to our one shot adding another layer of depth to the patch, then route the velocity to the levels of both oscillators to get a more organic sound.

In the second bridge of the song, a captivating lead sound enters. To craft this sonic gem, we paired a Basic_Wrd waveform with a Sine wave, spaced an octave apart. Both oscillators were set to two voices to add some width, with oscillator "B" featuring subtle frequency modulation. To sculpt the sound further, we applied a filter cutoff, delicately trimming frequencies above 6kHz to remove some brightness, then LFO 1 is modulating the fine-tuning of both oscillators, infusing the lead with some vibrato.

To gradually increase the velocity of the LFO, you'll want to employ an envelope as an auxiliary source. Navigate to the Matrix tab to access this feature.

In the second bridge, this resonant chords make their grand entrance, elevating the track's complexity to new heights. We begin by selecting a SQR_SAW_Wrd waveform for oscillator "A," adding a touch of sync to the warp knob for added brightness. Oscillator "B" features a PWM MG waveform, both oscillators boasting 9 voices in the unison and subtly detuned. The most important part lies in utilizing an envelope with a prolonged decay, meticulously routed to control both the cutoff and resonance of the filter. This strategic combination of a long decay in the envelope and heightened filter resonance will give you an amazing sweeping effect.