ZOBOT breaks down the production behind her new single ‘Bullet’

Check out the secrets behind ZOBOT’s new single ‘Bullet’ co-produced with TEJAVU.

Singer, Musician, Producer and one half of WIIGZ, ZOBOT has just dropped a single ‘Bullet’ she co-produced with long time collaborator TEJAVU. It’s a hypnotic dance inspired track that’s full of ear candy with stunning vocal production — and it’s no surprise when you read about how she created it. 

Opening up her Ableton Live set to show you all the secrets, tricks, processing and the inspiration behind Bullet, she gives away some gems that you might even add to your own productions.

ZOBOT describes the songwriting ideas behind Bullet:

“The song started as an instrumental heavily inspired by one of SOPHIE’s nonstop-remix albums tracks. It came together just playing around within Ableton, sound designing some drum and bass sounds, and how they interplayed off one another”

Read on as she talks through the production and magic of her single ‘Bullet’ — released April 13th.


Kick Shaping

“The kick in this track took a long time to get hitting the way we wanted. I think we have about 6 layers, which is way more than I usually do. Each layer is filling out a different space frequency wise.

There’s a stomp, a sub kick, and some mid and high-mids punchy/texture layers. For this track one thing we were experimenting with was heavily clipping the kick and blending it in underneath for much more aggressive sound.”

ZOBOT’s Drum Arrangement

“Heavily clipping a kick is really sick way to add texture (if you do this just make sure you EQ out all the low end and leave the bitey top end). I group all the kick layers together and process them all in one chain with Compression and Saturation to glue together the multiple layers.”

ZOBOT’s Kick Clipping Plugin
ZOBOT’s Kick Low Cut


The claps also have multiple layers, I use a bit crush layer to add texture give the claps more grit. Some of my favourite subtle production in this song is sending the claps to a big reverb that has a trance gate on it. It gives the reverb some wild movement and rhythm. I overuse trance gated reverbs so much I can’t get enough of it — hahaha!

ZOBOT’s Clap Reverb
ZOBOT’s Clap Bit Crush


“The hats in the verse have a drunken feel that builds tension in the verse, I did this by adding grain delay to the hats and alternating the pitch in the MIDI. When the chorus hits, I layer in some of my TR8-S drum machine 909 hats to give it some nice dances swing and a classic texture.

ZOBOT’s Drunken Hi Hats

“The main hat in the chorus has a Trash-2 layer which is heavily saturated blended in underneath giving the hats real weight and thickness in the chorus

ZOBOT’s Trash 2 Plugin
ZOBOT’s Hi Hat 909 layer

Rhythmic Sine Wave (The Wub Wub)

“My favourite rhythmic element in the drums, which I drew massive inspiration from SOPHIE is a LFO’ed sine wave that is wubbing away in mix, it gives the more simple hard-house groove some real swing and was probably one the first experiments I made when sound designing.

All it is, is a simple sine-wave in Serum that has a LFO routed to its pitch and filter. After that, I then added a-bit of reverb and saturation/sidechain.”

ZOBOT’s Serum Wub Wub Instrument
ZOBOT’s Wub Wub Chain


“Originally the bass in this song was something completely different, the only thing that stayed from that first version is the big 3 bass hits at the end of each 8 bars. The BAM BAM BAM noise.”

ZOBOT’s Bass Arrangement

“The sound is heavily processed with Output’s Thermal. I then layered some of my hardware synth for some more sub, and a STOMP layer for more of a transient/percussive texture.

ZOBOT’s Thermal Treatment

“The bass in the verse was created using Soundtoys Tremolator on some crazy preset on a sustained bass sequence to give it the crazy robotic movement. I did the same thing for the Bass in the chorus, but I ran the sustained bass through Shaperbox 2 plug-in to give it lots of movement.”

ZOBOT’s Tremolator Settings

Then in the chorus I layered some simple sine-wave Sub pulses underneath for the CLUB. I love how the bass in the chorus is so swirly and fluid, but it’s broken up by the 3 HUGE Bass hits.

It’s kinda like this back and forth between robotics bass and swirly fluid bass I love it.
Also this song doesn’t have much harmonic content in regards to chords etc, so the Bass is allowed to fill up lots of space.”

ZOBOT’s Chorus Bass FX Chain

Vocal Chops and FX

“I spent a lot of time on the ear candy/micro edits in this track, micro-edits I believe are just tiny little sound design moments that keep the track interesting, but I love overdoing it a little.

I spent a couple long sessions just feeding the Lead vocal through a range of different plug-ins, Thermal, Portal, EFX Fragments and resampling the audio back into a new track. I then sift through all the chaos to find little bite sized moments.”

ZOBOT’s Vocal Arrangement

“This process is time consuming but in the right headspace it’s kinda addictive just searching and discovering little sound design moments, its like you’re making calculated happy accidents haha. It’s the ear candy stuff that keeps showing the listener something new on the 20th/30th listen which I love.

At one point in an early version I thought the chorus needed on more layer/production element, I had a dream that the chorus had these spooky vocal chops layered in over the top. So I woke up and dropped some vocal lines into Ableton’s simpler and fired away on the midi keyboard again just searching for the gold amongst the chaos.

ZOBOT’s Vocal Slicing and Chain

Lead Vocal

The topline actually has a fun story to it!

My studio has a small kitchen connected to it and the day I brought out the track from the archive Zoë had just bought a NutriBullet and was using it for the first time. The ZOBOT project had not even been birthed at this point but we were chanting top-line ideas to one another from the kitchen to the studio.

The “reload” lyric was purely us vibing and we just went with the first idea. The topline came together so effortlessly, it was just finding the right lyrics/delivery.

The vocal fx uses a nice pre amp (usually used for a clean pop vocal), but layered with thermal, distortion, auto-tune EFX, and slightly formant shifting the vocal up the tiniest amount. Also the vocal has a really short delay mixed in to give it a metallic feel.

The Lead vocal is also layered with a wide vocal, a super low formant deep voice vocal, and a heavily distorted vocal in the chorus.”

Listen to Bullet below, see more on ZOBOT here.