Enmore Audio

Feels take us under the hood of their new single, ‘Sunrise Juice’

SIP UP ‘SUNRISE JUICE’, THE NEW TRACK FROM FEELS

Electro-pop duo Feels are nothing short of weapons on the live stage, and their boppy tracks are the basis for the parties they never fail to create. Defined by bright electronic elements plus positivity in spades, a new tune from Feels is always going to perk you up.

Sunrise Juice is their latest, released just today. It’s Elise Reitze-Swensen and Rosie Taylor’s first new tune of 2021, and it’s as summery as you’d expect.

To celebrate the release, we were able to peek into the Sunrise Juice Ableton Live set, Elise acting as our spirit guide. Here she broke down some of the track’s key elements, from the shifting leads to the Ableton Live 11 features which led her creative direction.

Take it away, Elise.

feels sunrise juice

Introduction

“Sunrise Juice started out as an exploration of reverb and space. I wanted to create an atmosphere that felt like waking up to a Summer’s morning – hopefully about to start a good day lol! At the time of writing this track I had been testing out all of the new features of Ableton Live 11 and was really drawn to Hybrid Reverb. I am a big Ableton nerd so naturally I spent a lot of time playing around with all of the settings of the reverb and basically crafted most of the tonal elements around this effect.

I wanted to challenge myself to write a track using only Ableton Live presets (or presets that I had edited) for the tonal instruments and effects processing. I often find that restriction is one of the best ways to get creative, so I picked out a bunch of presets that I liked from the new packs, made edits, and didn’t change the instrumentation from this point on. Sunrise Juice doesn’t use any plugins – and comparatively to some of my other production work – is quite simple in terms of processing.

I was so engulfed by my experiments with Hybrid Reverb that when I looked away from the screen, I had finished a track. I always write best when I am learning something new or experimenting with new sounds/tools, and while this approach places boundaries on starting an idea, it often develops into better ideas than if I had said to myself “I am going to write a track today!”

I wrote the opening melody while playing around with Hybrid Reverb and this hook ended up being the whole focus of the track.”

Harmonic elements

“The short chord stabs sit pretty consistently across the track, but rhythmically out of the way of the kick and the clap. As a mixing engineer, I have learnt a lot about how transient placements can have a huge impact on the overall punchiness of competing ideas.

For this reason, I tried to place my ideas rhythmically in their own worlds where possible. I also explored volume ducking for important moments in the drum pattern – mainly so some cute bubble moments could come through.

The short and long synths that are the basis of the harmony are all presets that I have edited. My favourite is the Pitch Twitter (from the new Voice Box pack) – it has an amazing Sliding FX macro which I automated to fill much of the space in the big break at 2:10.”

Ableton Live 11
Harmonic Elements
Ableton Live 11 Pitch Twitter
Harmonic Elements: Pitch Twitter

Percussion

“I am a percussionist, so choosing drum sounds and creating rhythmic patterns is a big part of my compositional process. I have been really enjoying using real-word samples of different environments and chopping them up to fit in between the larger rhythmic conversations. For example, in Sunrise Juice there are actually lots of sounds from casinos. This is obviously because as a musician, I am driven by financial gain/all things money. So you may be able to hear some coins and roulette tables if you listen closely.

In addition, there are some bubbly/water based samples that are consistent with other Feels tracks (especially our album Water Level). Some of these samples are from my field recordings of different locations along the Western Australian coastline during surfing/camping trips.

Interestingly, in terms of variation, the drums in Sunrise Juice are probably the most stable in comparison to other tracks I have written as Feels. I actually felt that it was nice to have such a stable and grounded rhythmic pattern to anchor the many variations in the main lead.

I wrote the drums from this track entirely in audio which was fun. I often think less about music theory when I write in audio and go more off grid. For this groove, that was really important, especially for the kick placement.

I often like to write a really busy drum pattern and then deactivate individual sounds to create additional space and variation. The kick (top blue) is very dynamic, which only works as it is set against a back beat in the clap (in yellow – counts 2 and 4). In most of my production I like to use two different claps and delay the higher clap slightly for some extra width.”

ableton live 11 percussion
Percussion Arrangement

Lead/melodic elements

“The lead is my favourite part of this track because I spent so much time on the details of each melodic variation, and automation of the reverb. Recently, I have been really enjoying leads with lots of pitch bend, so the first edit I made of this preset was adding a significant Glide Time.

I also tightened up the original reverb in the effects chain and added my own chain consisting of the new Phaser-Flanger, Hybrid Reverb, my own close reverb preset, a Compressor, and Auto Filter. The signature sound of this lead is in my design of the reverb chain – I have a small plate (0.5s) running parallel with a Shimmer algorithm.

I played around with automating the decay time and freeze functions to create changes in space of the lead. I aimed to make really intimate moments for the punchier sections with the drums and then moments of significant distance/space to break up the moments of predictability in the structure.”

Lead Chain
FX Chain
Ableton Hybrid Reverb
Lead: Hybrid Reverb Parameters

“The variation in the main melodic hook is what drives the track overall. While the variation is most noticeable in terms of actual notes added/changed, the details are hidden in the velocity, chance, and reverb changes. For example, some notes won’t always play as their chance setting has been lowered – one of the new features in Live 11 that I love!

In other repeated melodic patterns, I played around with just velocity, which changed the quality of the lead dramatically. The lead synth is actually a Sampler, consisting of multi-sampled vocal one-shots. I love that the edits I have made to the instrument design make the overall sound barely recognisable from its vocal sample origins.

The second lead that takes focus at 1:14 (and also acts as support throughout) is a combination of a Copper Bell Operator and Upright Piano Sampler – both presets that I have edited focusing on glide alterations. The piano ends up sounding quite wild with the pitch bends created by the glide setting edits. With these secondary leads, I changed the focus to width by playing around with panning, whole track delay, and spectral time. I think overall this creates a nice shift from the centre within the main lead sections.”

Lead: Velocity and Chance settings
Secondary Leads

Structure

“The structure came quite naturally – I purposely disrupted a couple of moments where a repeat of the lead/hook would have been expected. I also explored disruption with moments of space, for example the intro has a 2/4 break of silence before the drums enter.”

Listen to Sunrise Juice below, or stream the song here.