LAYERS: Drilling For The Inner Funk Of Marvin Marlyn's "Every Boogie"
There are varying opinions on what types of music are truly universal, but I maintain that “funk” prevails. There’s no lyrical or even harmonic standard to music that is funky. You can try and scientifically break down all the qualities that give music funk, but at the end of your experimentations, you’ll emerge from your lab, remove your goggles and declare emphatically, “That’s just funk, baby!” but you won’t pronounce “baby” like your parents do. You’ll say it like Bootsy Collins.
Marvin Marlyn is evidence of the universality of funk. Hailing from Santiago, Chile, Marvin broke into the beat scene at the tender age of 19 with Soy Otro Tu an album so drenched in funky goodness that he was snapped up by the Dominican Republic-based Stereoptico, who now count him among their roster of Latin American beat killers.
In putting together this LAYERS piece, Marlyn experienced some serious set backs. First, the nightmarish rigamarole of hard drive crashes threatened to set all of his previous production files into the stone heads that are final, non-manipulable tracks. Then, a massive earthquake struck Chile, destroying plenty, along with Marlyn’s internet connection. His stems finally made their way over to me last week, and so deep was the layering of funk on this track that it made up for the lost time tenfold.
If you ever wondered why P-Funk had like 80 dudes in it, let this LAYERS be your guide to how dense the funkiest kinds of funk need to be. We’re looking at eight layers, many of them quite simple on their own. Combined, they form a track so dang funky, that as soon as you put it on, every horny pizza guy within earshot will be at your door with a delivery you didn’t order.
With that, and a poignant mention of “less talk, more funk,” let’s get to the track. Here’s a breakdown of Marvin Marlyn’s “Every Boogie.” Here’s a note from the artist about his process.
I try to describe my creative process the best I can, but it’s a bit hard for me, as I live life jumping from one thing to another quickly, which is sometimes a problem.
Most of the time, for me, it is an advantage, as life is happening right now, all that shit in the world gets into our head and messes us up, so I think it’s important to not over-think things. It’s time to own up to our responsibilities and start to work together in equality. I am music, love, darkness and everything that surrounds me.
He forgot to mention funk!
Most of the time, I’ll start out making a main drum loop which I will duplicate and make small edits as I go along. Here, I started this way, the drums are very simple, I just loaded Pose in FL Studio and started playing on my PadKontrol. I had an idea of how the bass had to go, so I tried to make something that complemented it. It has a couple of cuts that I worked out as I recorded. This characterizes my style on the drums—my beats are always quite simple.
I always use samples that I have stored around to give my work a distinctive touch, since I also use a lot of synths. Here it’s a lead synth on which I just keep tapping the same note. The other is sort of a vocoder running the same phrase over and over, with a change for the B section of the song.
This is the most important part of the whole beat, given it defines all of the funky rhythm and style of the song. The bass uses a heavily utilized pattern in funk, and I really like the way this vibe goes. There is also a switch for the b section of the song, following the rhythm and melody of the sample. I’d like to mention how only the drums and samples were automated in loops, as the bass and all the other parts such as the lead, brass, and the pads I like to keep raw as I played them in session.
I love this sound, it’s a virtual synth, Native Instruments’s Pro53, and I use it a lot. In this track, I put it in the intro, in the hook and some little arrangements in the main sections.
LEAD R STAB SAW
When I was working on this, I started listening to it and thought it was a little empty, so I just threw in sounds from all over the place, playing around with scales and rhythms.
This sound was the first idea I had for this beat, since I always start out wanting one thing and then it changes, and so on. I’ll take stuff away, putting others in, trying to let everything flow simply.
LEAD VELO FILTER LEAD
Another lead type sound I used to adorn and polish some arrangements. I managed to put out exactly what I had in my head, a very rich sound.
Most of the time, a lot of things are random when I begin creating, I’m not really looking too much at sounds or forms or effects on my beats, it’s more of me using whatever I had in front of me at the time and building something new with it using simple structures. This happened here—I’m not really sure where this sound came from, as I recorded it to audio and forgot about its origins.
Put it all together, and here’s what you get. Marvin Marlyn’s “Other Boogie.”
Previously: LAYERS: Melting Down Wake’s “ButtaBump”