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What's your approach to making electronic music? Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 3rd March 2014
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
Raleigh's Avatar
What's your approach to making electronic music?

I understand this is a really broad question, but yes, what's your approach? Do you start with programming your drum tracks? Create your unique sounds/sound design first?

For me, its different every time I turn my equipment on, But sometimes I do start with a drum track. Next I'll get a bass line going. Sometimes I get stuck at this point, but next I try to create melody with a different synth sound, that gels well with the sounds of the bass line and drums. (note: often they don't gel well.) Depending on how the song is going I'll add some samples, then do a lot of editing hoping to break up the song into distinct sections, intro, hook, bridge etc.... Or more simply have points of build up and climax, and points where its slower, less going on, lower volume, etc. Also around this point
I might layer other synth sounds on top of each other for texture, etc. also somewhere in there I'll usually eq each track, add effects, normalize the sampkes, etc. As I mentioned, each time is different, and I don't follow a strict routine, but if I did this would be close to it.

What about you?
Old 3rd March 2014
  #2
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I mess around until I make something I can build the track around, usually the bass.
That's about it really.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #3
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
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
Old 3rd March 2014
  #4
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xanderbeanz's Avatar
I write the entire thing in my head and then sequence it note for note, messing with timbre and rhythm as I go.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #5
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xanderbeanz View Post
I write the entire thing in my head and then sequence it note for note, messing with timbre and rhythm as I go.
Mozartbeanz.

Make some room, let God in the room......
Old 3rd March 2014
  #6
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teebeekid's Avatar
1.sound design
2.melody/lead
3.chords
4.drums
5.bassline
Old 3rd March 2014
  #7
Gear Addict
 
CelloJP's Avatar
1. Understand the kit (synths)
2. Create/edit a sound (or with preset)
3. Find the right key where something 'magic' happens
4. Understand the mood of the sound and key
5. Improvise - adding different sounds
6. Finalise
7. Notate (for me in Sibelius)
8. Play from notation and record
9. Revise
10. Complete and enjoy
Old 3rd March 2014
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
bs333's Avatar
 

I'll bite. It's a strange process for me that is almost always different. Sometimes I just sample some synth noodles or stuff from Reason into my sp-404 and try to get something going like that. Other time's I'll use the monome to chop and combine drum tracks with some goldbaby drum samples or some samples I have from a Tempest. Usually something, like two or three seconds of audio, will catch my ear and I'll take that idea and run with it as far as I can. Lots of times, I'll just record myself playing classical guitar in different keys and tempos and then run those recordings through guitar pedals and the D16 plugs and manipulate them until it barely sounds like guitar. Regardless of the beginning process my tracks always end up in Logic where I'll draw a bunch of automation, usually for some of the D16 plugins. I have specific examples of each of these processes if anyone cares to hear them. I think the most important part of the songwriting process is to simply show up everyday to see if that creative thing is present or not. You may go a long time without that beast being present, but when you've got it, there's no feeling like it.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #9
Gear Nut
 
damondarkwalker's Avatar
 

New gear inspires me. So every time I buy a new piece of equipment, I feel a rush of creativity. At least that's the story I tell my wife.

I usually start with chord progressions the add drums and then a melody. Sometimes I mess with chords on the guitar before I plug in anything electronic.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #10
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shabbyroad's Avatar
I sit with a guitar or piano and write the melody and lyric. Then I hit the drum machine and start playing melody lines and riffs to support the vocal and structure.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #11
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Mr. Varaldo's Avatar
I listen to "The best of David Hasselhoff" or "Paris Hilton's Greatest Hits" and then I try to recreate the atmospheres. Sometimes I stare at a freshly caught octopus in the eyes, for inspiration. Also I do Pilates prior to every recording session.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
never ever had the idea to start with composing? making a sketch of a suspense curve? including the developement of a form? for example a macroform AA'BA where in A the microform is CC'DC is and then build the things according to what this curve and the form needs?

the approach going from a sound and layering other sounds and throw a groove onto it gives you the guarantee, that you end up with something boring, completely lacking of anything that sucks the listener into the thing. the form is the most important thing in music. without form no content. ask Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Eno, Beatles, Led Zeppelin, whoever ...

I think the problem is in fact that nearly noone realises that music is something other than aquiring gear and get lost in sounds and grooves. no wonder that such a mass of bs is around on the radio, on soundcloud, wherever.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #13
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo View Post
I listen to "The best of David Hasselhoff" or "Paris Hilton's Greatest Hits" and then I try to recreate the atmospheres. Sometimes I also stare at a freshly caught octopus in the eyes, for inspiration. Also I do Pilates prior to every recording session.
bruhaha! :-)) I dont believe one word of what you wrote ... :-)))
Old 3rd March 2014
  #14
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shabbyroad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo View Post
I listen to "The best of David Hasselhoff" or "Paris Hilton's Greatest Hits" and then I try to recreate the atmospheres. Sometimes I stare at a freshly caught octopus in the eyes, for inspiration. Also I do Pilates prior to every recording session.
Pilates.

Dammit. I'm always last to know.

I suppose all the cool kids will be doing it now.
Old 4th March 2014
  #15
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grumphh's Avatar
 

I have a really simple approach.
I spend a lot of time aimlessly noodling about, programming sounds and fx and just enjoying myself playing with sound. This can often take months. Sometimes years.

Then suddenly inspiration hits and i turn on the recorder, and record one or two improvised takes. Then i edit the recorded tracks slightly in a DAW and call the end product music and put it up on my website.

BTW, i am actually half serious here. That is what i have done in the past year.
Old 4th March 2014
  #16
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xanderbeanz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Mozartbeanz.

Make some room, let God in the room......
I'm slightly less mental than Mozart was, he could also play piano at 3,

****ING 3!
Old 4th March 2014
  #17
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AnalogGuy's Avatar
1. Put all of your gear on
2. Put recording on
3. Select sounds / presets or program some fresh new sounds
4. Start improvising with everything in live as much as you ever can
5. Stop recording when you believe you have something good enough in safe
6. Check the recording
7. If necessary, improvise some overdubs (by going back to phase 3).



It's quite important to have recording on always BEFORE you start improvising anything. Otherwise what happens at least to me is that when I find something great by improvising, by putting recording on, I start getting nervous about having recording on -> doing a lot of mistakes and never can finish it properly...
Old 4th March 2014
  #18
Gear Addict
 
dswo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Varaldo View Post
I listen to "The best of David Hasselhoff" or "Paris Hilton's Greatest Hits" and then I try to recreate the atmospheres. Sometimes I stare at a freshly caught octopus in the eyes, for inspiration. Also I do Pilates prior to every recording session.
Stendahl claimed to begin every day by reading from the Code Napoléon "to get the tone."
Old 4th March 2014
  #19
Gear Nut
 

oh man im on a reyt debbie at moment srs cant write owt that sounds good
Old 4th March 2014
  #20
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R3Member's Avatar
When I first starting playing music, it was in punk bands, so my approach to song writing is narrowing my options down as if I had just three elements acting as drums, bass and guitar. Sometimes I'll hear melodic structures of songs in my head, so I'll loop beat and begin sequencing out a bassline plus another other synth part to go with it. Once I get a solid structure using those three elements, I then tweak out the drum patterns to sound more lively and start piling on additional sounds.

Another approach I have is just looping a 4/4 beat and literally hammering away at random using just a basic saw wave on a polysynth, haha. I'll often record myself jamming away for 30 minutes, then I'll listen back to what I have, cut and paste what I like to use as a reference and start sequencing out ideas from there.

For the most part, sound design becomes last. If I focus too much on creating sounds at the beginning, well, I just sort of lose focus on the big picture and don't get much accomplished.
Old 4th March 2014
  #21
Gear Guru
I do different things all the time.. but I do know that I don't enjoy making multitracked music.. 2-tracks is all I need. If I want to get more out of one synth I sample it.
Old 4th March 2014
  #22
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pr0gr4m's Avatar
Jam for a couple hours.
Realize that the sound and riff I was playing about an hour and a half ago was awesome.
Spend the next 2 hours trying to recreate it because I wasn't recording/saving anything when I first came up with it.
Old 4th March 2014
  #23
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Beany's Avatar
Bassline first (being a bass player) then I'l put the drums down. Then I'll put a delay on the bass at dotted eighths and listen, this usually suggests a 'rhythm guitar track' to me (which I'll play on another synth), then I work on that to get a lead that fits and the chords/pads drop into place. I might drop the 'rhythm guitar' after that or have it do an arp line instead, sometimes I just go with it and even send the 'rhythm guitar' to an amp sim for disco goodness.
Old 4th March 2014
  #24
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R3Member's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pr0gr4m View Post
Jam for a couple hours.
Realize that the sound and riff I was playing about an hour and a half ago was awesome.
Spend the next 2 hours trying to recreate it because I wasn't recording/saving anything when I first came up with it.
This is why I always keep a handheld digital recording next to my gear at all times. I got sick of falling victim to not tracking things down and losing hundreds of spur of the moment ideas. I even keep a digital camera nearby for those moments where I'm noodling around on a synth with no patch storage. The downside of trying to document everything though that those golden moments get buried in a massive pile of poop to shovel through.
Old 4th March 2014
  #25
I normally start with the beat and bass, then melody..

I have a rough idea of what im trying to make so i make the busiest 16 bars of the track then work backwards

Vocals and fx come last

Then i remove my vocals and make it an instrumental lol

I track/arrange in Ableton then mix in Studio One
Old 4th March 2014
  #26
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.
Lately I am having lots of luck going back and doing the drums to fit the music afterwards. Thus frees me up to focus on the musical aspects without trying to get the snare or hat pattern just right.
The sooner I can get the arrangement going the better things turn out.
Then I start processing and sculptung sounds after the whole song is written. Get all my automation going.
Design FX.
Bounce everything to audio.
Mix. Bounce to single file.
Master.

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!
Old 4th March 2014
  #27
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by R3Member View Post
This is why I always keep a handheld digital recording next to my gear at all times
my god.. that's a great idea!!
Old 4th March 2014
  #28
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R3Member's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by djugel View Post
my god.. that's a great idea!!
I use a Tascam DR-05. The sound quality is surprisingly good for the price and it is a quick and easy process to upload the data to my PC for reference. Once the audio is in my DAW, I can pretty much play Tetris with it and cut and paste a rough song outline together. It helps me a great deal because I can't read or write sheet music, let alone note data that makes any sense. I just play by ear and memory.
Old 4th March 2014
  #29
Gear Guru
Sweet.. yeah I'm gonna pick up a Tascam DR-40 later this week.
Old 4th March 2014
  #30
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pr0gr4m's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by EDGEK8D View Post
Apply iPhone humming idea over the beat.
THIS! Glad to see I'm not the only one. Just make sure to never accidentally play it (the humming) in front of someone.
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