Synthwave Tutorial in Bitwig Studio

Synthwave tutorial – Gelhein – Shields Up

In this Synthwave tutorial video I take you through the production process of making the track “Shields Up” released in 2018.

Ever wanted to travel back to the (glorious!?) 80’s and make some smooth music of the time? We have a whole “wave” of genres depicting some of the lovely smooth sounds of the time. Synthwave, retrowave, vapourwave….wave… Are we surfing or making music???

We look at arrangement, instrument layering, bass, concepts & lyrics, melody, production, plugins and vocal processing.

Synthwave tutorial in Bitwig Studio.

About Shields Up – How to Synthwave!

I first decided to write a song in the synthwave genre. No, it’s not the genre I typically write in. But I’ve done my share of 80’s tracks while practising composition in school. That’s a whole other chapter we will come back to.

The red thread in your song

To me it really helps to define an exciting topic, or concept when writing songs. The concept will help you on the path of finishing the piece of music.

The topic is your red thread throughout the session.

For Shields Up I pictured myself walking the streets of Tokyo during the 80s with arcade halls all over the place. I was wearing a yellow jacket and the rain was pouring down as I jumped into one of those arcade halls to play one of the games.

Need some great Synthwave drum sounds? Check out Beatmaker VICE from Ujam.

The yellow jacket…Totoro goes Synthwave

Hmm, I wonder if that yellow jacket idea was unconsciously stolen from Totoro… It’s weird how inspiration works. This happens all the time both in music, writing, design and…basically anything we create. We draw inspiration unconsciously.

Totoro synthwave…

I grew up with Spectrum, Commodore 64, Atari ST and all these gaming machines so it’s kinda second nature. And I wanted to include these machines in this retro track. One game in particular came to my mind, R-Type.

So Shields Up became kinda of an R-TYPE tribute song.

R-Type is an uber hard retro shooter! Try it if you don’t believe me! I wanted to capture the essence and vibe of this golden gaming era with blazing shooters. I hope you can hear that in the final song.

Ok, so that’s a little introduction to the track. Now go check out the Synthwave tutorial and learn more about the actual music production.

Listen to GELHEIN – Shields Up on Spotify


What gear I use in the studio? Check out the Resources Page.

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Mattias Holmgren

Mattias Holmgren is a creative director sailing from Sweden – business owner of Morningdew Media. Visit Mattias YouTube with videos on music, creative sound design, graphics and brand development. Check out the Resources Page if you want to know what gear i use. Join my exclusive community:

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