Miley Cyrus "Midnight Sky" Breakdown
Miley Cyrus released Midnight Sky as the first single from her Plastic Hearts album, this song along with Prisoners are very influenced by the Synthpop of the 80s especially artists like Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett, and Debbie Harry, the influence of these artists is so much that part of the song uses samples of Stevie Nicks' classic song “Edge of Seventeen, but in this Serum tutorial we will teach you all the sound design behind this amazing track and unveil all the secrets of this wide range of sounds, lets start listening.
This article was possible because all of the presets from this breakdown came from our Dreampop Serum pack and it has have 20% off with the code: SP01.
Let's start by clarifying that in this song, in particular, every time the arrangement goes from verse to bridge to chorus, all the elements change, so we will have several types of basses and synthesizers throughout the song, so with that in mind lets start with the bass from the verse.
To recreate this preset we need a Basic Shapes in its second position in oscillator "A" with one octave down and in oscillator "B" we need a square wave, when choosing how many voices you want choose odd numbers if you are making a sound that should be in the center of the mix, envelope 2 is modulating the cutoff which is around 450 Hz and the filter to give a little resonance, and in the FX tab, we use a little distortion and eq to boost the low end.
Now if you are wondering how we did the slides and the pitch bend, the trick is to do it inside your DAW, in this case, Ableton, but first, you have to enable your Mono and Legato in Serum, and after you have done that you need to overlap the notes you want to slide to get that effect and to do the pitch bend you need to draw it manually on your midi.
The bridge bass is a classic monobass with a high resonance sweeping and to achieve this sound we will need a Basic Shapes in its second position in oscillator "A" and a Jno wavetable in its fifth position in oscillator "B" now to give it a little more body and warmth we need a saw wave from the sub-oscillator and the secret to get this type of sound that is very popular in Synthwave and Synthpop is to use an envelope to slowly sweep the cutoff, in this case, is envelope 2 but you will also need a high resonance to get this characteristic sound.
This bass is huge sounding and pretty much the driving force behind the amazing chorus of the song, even though this sound is pretty quite simple first we need a Basic Mg in oscillator "A" and a Basic Mini in oscillator "B" and like the last preset our sub-oscillator it's going to give warmth and body to the sound with a saw wave after that we need envelope one to have a short decay to give that plucky sound just set your decay around 600ms and route it to your cutoff and that's it.
I have to be honest, this was my favorite part to recreate, this sound is quite interesting, this track has a clear tendency to retro synth sounds, but this particular preset is a little different from the rest, to make this sound we need a BS2_Acid on oscillator "A" and a MiniBass on oscillator "B" this has a bit of pulse width modulation (PMW) our envelope 1 is modulating the cutoff that cuts everything above 2 kHz and what makes this sound so special is the vibrato that is given by LFO3 modulating the fine tuning of both oscillators at a speed of sixteen notes.
This patch resembles a little more to a keyboard than a synth, nonetheless, we made it using Serum showing the wide range of capabilities and flexibility it has, start by setting your oscillator "A" with an FFT_SQUEAL wavetable and a Basic Mini wavetable in its third position and one octave up, envelope 2 its slowly closing our cutoff we add a little resonance to that, drench it in reverb and delay and use an eq to cut everything below 200Hz and you got it.
This sound is as classic as they get, this is your typical brass sound use in countless songs from the 80s, its more likely that you already know how to do it but in case you dont we will show you how to do it.
First you start with a saw wave in oscillator "A" and a square wave in oscillator "B", now to trick to get this sound right is that the envelope that its going to open your filter should have an attack between 50ms and 100ms depending in how fast you want it to open, this is what is going to make that classic brass sound we all love.
Now for the last synth, we have this sound mixture between digital and analog, if we have to guess which synth they use while producing the song we will bet it all in a Yamaha DX7, to achieve this sound we need a PWM Maths 2 in oscillator "A" and add Frequency Modulation to taste, in oscillator "B" we have a PWM_Mdc, now set and envelope with a long decay and release to close the filter and add an eight-note delay and that's it.