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What's your approach to making electronic music? Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 4th March 2014
  #31
If youve already got an iphone the tascam im2 turns it into a great digital recorder
Old 4th March 2014
  #32
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Spazoo's Avatar
it depends
Old 4th March 2014
  #33
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For me, the most important thing is having fun. So i'm making a celebration out of the whole process, and the ideas start flowing. Always good to make music on a full stomach:

Old 4th March 2014
  #34
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slugworth's Avatar
 

a good groove is essential.

lately i've been reading the roland aira thread until i have no choice but to slam my forehead on my controller until i have a workable beat. in the daze that follows, the rest seems to fall pretty easily into place.
Old 4th March 2014
  #35
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I usually start with a basic rhythm or sound in my head. Then I fiddle around with sound design until I have that "a-ha" moment and run with a particular timbre. Sometimes it's the same process starting with drums on my drum machine.
Old 4th March 2014
  #36
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Septik's Avatar
Take a picture, song, bit from a movie etc. that triggers some kind of feeling that I want to use as inspiration for the piece, then I usually make a quick 3 minute timbre somewhere in the ballpark of the patch I'll end up using, and start playing with chord progressions and tempos until I find the kind of motion and key that I want this piece to be in. Then record different ideas in this mood for about 30 minutes with varying progressions, paces, rhythmic playing of the melody.. After this, I take these recordings and write some kind of beat to them (or beats, I should say, as I will save renditions of basic-complex rhythms as I go so that I have some different complexities to work with to build some progression.) I have been using mostly drum machines with a little bit of post-recording DAW sequenced drums on top in the past, but I finally got my hands on an MPC60 and S1000 and will now be able to incorporate samples and loops in the rhythm, so now the kit development will be an entirely new step in my process! After I have some beats laid out, I will start playing with their arrangement/layering over some recorded chord progressions that I took earlier that I've decided work best for the pace of the track. After this, I'll probably work out a more finalized patch for these progressions and re-record them to go in time with the actual beat progression that is now laid out.

Now that I have these 2 parts working pretty nicely with each other, it's easy to generate a baseline, harmonies with the main progressions, fx, etc. that's when the rules start to loosen up and I can get a little more experimental with process, since it will now actually have some frame of reference in terms of where I want to go with it and what any newly recorded material will be working around.
Old 4th March 2014
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zahush76 View Post
For me, the most important thing is having fun. So i'm making a celebration out of the whole process, and the ideas start flowing. Always good to make music on a full stomach:

OMG, this my friend, is what the electronic music community needs!!


... A real keyboard
Old 4th March 2014
  #38
Gear Addict
1.Get an idea for a bassline or melody
2.Lay down a basic drum track
3.Mess around with synths to get the desired sound for bassline/melody and record it
4.Add more synths
5.Add different drum patterns

and it goes down from there
Old 4th March 2014
  #39
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balma's Avatar
Humble,curiousity. Get rid of any narcisism or usless ego when composing something.

Synthesizers are the most beautiful and empowering musical instruments yet created, so it´s an honor and an intellectual adventure to create something with them.

Then, try to make your own path with them, traslate your personality and personal existence into sounds.
Old 4th March 2014
  #40
The secret is to mix things up, otherwise it's easy to get stuck, bored, lose inspiration and often get what people are referring to as "writers block" which doesn't exist.

Dig after samples and find interesting loops that you can build a song around (you don't HAVE to use the sample in the end)

Start dissecting and recreate songs that you like, often you can end up with something completely different.

Give yourself limitations. Like do a whole track with just one synth or some samples, don't sit down with a keyboard before you have completed a melody line by huming etc. Chose scales and modes beforehand.

Come up with titles, words and/or concepts and base your songs on them. Find inspirational pictures or movies that give certian moods.

Sit down with a completely different instrument than what you are used to and usually play.

Draw some weird patterns on a paper and try to base something musical out if it. etc etc..

The possibilities are endless! And I also think it's important that you do songwriting (just like other creative work) regularly like almost daily, it's like a muscle that needs to be exercised.
Old 4th March 2014
  #41
Gear Maniac
try and error!
Old 4th March 2014
  #42
Quote:
Originally Posted by pr0gr4m View Post
THIS! Glad to see I'm not the only one. Just make sure to never accidentally play it (the humming) in front of someone.
I've not done that, but several times, people have asked me in a quite loud and obtrusive manner, "What are you doing? Are you singing someone a song? Who are you talking too?" See you have to hum very clear and loud to really make it a good recording, and lets remember we are relying on our voices for accurate pitch information, and a singer I most certainly am not.

I have to be very specific because I may not listen to it for months. So, I've learned the hard way that describing a synth timbre helps as well. Don't know why that helps me remember, but it does. I'll be like, "Slightly detuned squares, spread wide, with a saw wave on retrig, pitched down an octave and in the center, slightly less volume than the squares.....amp envelope......

I'm doing synthesis in my head......I might need to talk to someone and get some help.....
Old 4th March 2014
  #43
Quote:
Originally Posted by deepc0re View Post

Give yourself limitations. Like do a whole track with just one synth or some samples, don't sit down with a keyboard before you have completed a melody line by huming etc. Chose scales and modes beforehand.

I like this one and use it when I do feel "stuck". I'm with you, I don't believe in writer's block. I believe in being human, and being innately selfish, distracted, and deal with pressure by procrastinating.

I've recently started the one synth thing. Never felt my synthesis skills were up to the task until lately. Probably because I never tried to make a whole track with one synth. What a great synthesis exercise. Even if you have to look up how to make a snare, or a kick, at least you are learning and programming.

I like setting a time limit sometimes. Or, I've had music buddies I've made on the internetz who we agree to set a deadline and share our work with each other. Its a good way of getting things done. No excuses, you have to turn in a finished product in 1 week.

My best work was created in one sitting....albeit a 15 hour sitting, but nonetheless, all the way through to master and done.
Old 4th March 2014
  #44
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blinky909's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
1) buy lots of ****
2) don't hook it up, just dump it somewhere
3) let it gather dust
4) cry myself to sleep since i'm never going to achieve or make anything
you forgot the whiskey, don't forget the whiskey
Old 4th March 2014
  #45
I hear **** in my head, and it haunts me until I "accidentally" play it somehow. Doesn't have to be an instrument. I've worked out a melody hitting shampoo bottles on the tub, jingling a dog leash and stomping, even the wedding ring on glasses or the table. My wife puts up with a lot of random noises, I'm constantly banging on the steering wheel in the car, etc.

Other than that I roll like Yoozer.
Old 4th March 2014
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
1) buy lots of ****
2) don't hook it up, just dump it somewhere
3) let it gather dust
4) cry myself to sleep since i'm never going to achieve or make anything
you are very perceptive! its like you can see into my life...

i usually try something i dont know how to do very well, or try out a new feature of my new piece of gear. if it ends up sounding good, i usually work on it a little while and get bored. then the process starts again.
Old 4th March 2014
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EDGEK8D View Post
Most of my material starts with me humming into my iPhone when inspiration strikes at any moment.

Make a very simple beat.
Apply iPhone humming idea over the beat.
Sometimes it works as a bass line, a melody, or a chord progression, and sometimes it leads me elsewhere. Always start with a piano sample. Then start designing sounds after I get the primary musical idea out.
Build the track around that. Stretch things out ASAP or I get stuck in loopitis.



Then listen to my iPhone humming, and start jamming based on that all over again. Lately I've been using arps a lot more. I never did much because setting up an arp in Logic before was like pulling teeth. Love, love, love the new MIDI FX in Logic X, the Arp plugin is OUTSTANDING!
Can you do this from an iphone? That is, is there an app which allows recording and can also produce simple drum beats and soft synths? Inspiration comes often when I'm away from my gear, so being able to get a vocal line, beats and a synth pad would be great on the go.
Old 4th March 2014
  #48
Quote:
Originally Posted by aleyas View Post
Can you do this from an iphone? That is, is there an app which allows recording and can also produce simple drum beats and soft synths? Inspiration comes often when I'm away from my gear, so being able to get a vocal line, beats and a synth pad would be great on the go.
Well you can record humming and voice with the included "sound recorder" app. But if you want beats and a synth and recording Imaschine does this fairly painlessly. 5 bucks in the app store.
Old 4th March 2014
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughtrhaus View Post
Well you can record humming and voice with the included "sound recorder" app. But if you want beats and a synth and recording Imaschine does this fairly painlessly. 5 bucks in the app store.
Exactly what I was hoping for. Awesome!
Old 4th March 2014
  #50
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lestermagneto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zahush76 View Post
For me, the most important thing is having fun. So i'm making a celebration out of the whole process, and the ideas start flowing. Always good to make music on a full stomach:

Ha! That picture reminds me of what you could literally do with my old Yamaha 02r console…. thing got so damn hot you could literally make a grilled cheese sandwich on it! No wonder why when i finally went ITB my electricity bill dropped 40%!
Old 4th March 2014
  #51
Gear Addict
 

I always start with the a beat - everything hangs off that
Inspiration then usually comes from either a synth sound I made previously or a sample I've pulled off some vinyl
Old 4th March 2014
  #52
Whatever instrument I happen to open first, if its a new piece of hardware or a new plug in something usually starts from that, a melody or a bassline. Other times I just open Ableton and start loading up drum samples and make a beat and that leads to more.

Occasionally I'll have a melody or something in mind from earlier in the day, and record/sing it on my iPhone. But usually everything happens when I'm sitting at my set up. Its important to not be stressed so you can get into it. Nothing like having a free sunday where you can just experiment all day.

Time limits are definitely important, its helpful to have a deadline, if its a release for example. Otherwise I just fiddle with **** forever.

.
Old 4th March 2014
  #53
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login's Avatar
Think it a a concept, design sounds and choose samples that fit that concept, make some melodies and chord progressions, drums drums and drums, more fx, bassline, loop ad nauseum.
Old 5th March 2014
  #54
Here for the gear
 

approach to making electronic music

lately been focusing on the chord progressions to start and then building from there. Sometimes using a tool for this that has buttons with various chords within a particular scale (I use harmony navigator but there are free options too) helps to get ideas going when you're not already a virtuoso (I certainly am not.) I find a chord progression helps get your "story" in order to an extent before going for the technical side; as someone else mentioned, I also like to get the musical ideas down first, disregarding specific sounds or patches, and then later tweaking to find good sounds and if necessary altering the music.
Old 5th March 2014
  #55
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Start with an interesting beat or chord pattern and layer on from there. Easy peasy.
Old 5th March 2014
  #56
I almost always start with a chord sequence, either a Korg M1/WAVESTATION pad or an VA arp tweaked from an init raw saw wave. Start tweaking and adding elements from there, at some point I play/sequence a lead melody over the chords and beats and if it's any good at that point, I arrange something out of it.

I often don't get anywhere if I start with a beat. Melody (or sometimes atmosphere) is primary, beats, bass etc are secondary.

Either that or I just get carried away by a synth, sound or a reverb.
Old 5th March 2014
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raymondwave View Post
I almost always start with a chord sequence, either a Korg M1/WAVESTATION pad or an VA arp tweaked from an init raw saw wave. Start tweaking and adding elements from there, at some point I play/sequence a lead melody over the chords and beats and if it's any good at that point, I arrange something out of it.

I often don't get anywhere if I start with a beat. Melody (or sometimes atmosphere) is primary, beats, bass etc are secondary.

Either that or I just get carried away by a synth, sound or a reverb.
I think it would also depend on what you are making. Somethings are far easier if you start with a guitar for example.
Old 5th March 2014
  #58
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Praxisaxis's Avatar
 

I reckon "sing/beatbox" the kind of groove you want, then do that. If going from what's in your head to what's on the sequencer/piano roll/score process is difficult for you, then practice lots .
Old 5th March 2014
  #59
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ranzee's Avatar
I'm a little different to the traditional way of composing I guess. I start with a feeling, an emotion, an idea - may not even be anything related to music. Then I find a sound that makes me feel like this. Then I find a beat, some melodies and other sounds and tricks that compliment the overall feeling. Sometimes I care about how others would perceive the final result, other times I'm like "nah" its just how it is! A lot of my music to me feels unfinished, unpolished and a little embarrassing, but one day I'll get there ...
Old 5th March 2014
  #60
Quote:
Originally Posted by aleyas View Post
Can you do this from an iphone? That is, is there an app which allows recording and can also produce simple drum beats and soft synths? Inspiration comes often when I'm away from my gear, so being able to get a vocal line, beats and a synth pad would be great on the go.
Yeah, I just use this guy right here. Probably something slightly better for 99cents at the app store but this works okay. I don't really use any music DAWesque apps on my phone. I haven't tried anything yet that strikes me as what I have in mind it should be. I'm sure it isn't far off. Even something like Garageband on iPad I find kind of difficult to use. I carry my MacBook most everywhere with me along with some good headphones and a USB dock for my dongles so I'm ready to go at any time. The phone thing just works well while I'm driving or working.
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