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Producing music in the 90's and now Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 6th October 2017
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Producing music in the 90's and now

Hi Danny, thanks a lot for sharing your insights and knowledge.

I wanted to ask if the way artist make and produce music has changed over the last 2 decades.

I wonder if back in the 90's people were, as today, so focused on production techniques.

The reason I ask this is because today you see so many tutorials (written and on video) about techniques for layering, using multiple effects to enhance sounds and developers release tools that pack hundreds of features to go very deep into sound design. It also seems people gets obsessed over the perfect Kick, ass, lead and so on.

Was it much simpler back then? or it was the same just with a bunch of hardware?

And then do yourself spend much time designing and processing sounds compared to the time composing music?

Are we over complicating all this?

Thanks a lot
Old 7th October 2017
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A very interesting question login

It has changed in some ways very profoundly of course.

Back in the early 1990s producing techno/house/idm etc. had at truly magic atmosphere…you gotta understand it was something new and pioneering, new frontiers of music were being explored in peoples bedrooms with very little equipment.

When you would buy a synth people thought you were in a band and explaining you were making electronic music often was like talking to a wall…it was like a secret hobby, searching for some secret knowledge.

There was no internet, almost no magazines on this subject, almost no (if any) books on producing techno/house music. Information about what machines to get, which drummachines, which synthesizers was sparse and you would improvise and just go with the flow. I learned much when my dad got me this book from the library about synthesizers and setting up a homestudio…it was very focused on rock and pop music but it was enough to understand the basics.

In a way it was simpler because there were less “rules” , you kind of vaguely knew you had to connect a drummachine and some synths to a mixer and then you could record that with a tape machine or DAT. I didn’t even know what compressors were, maybe an echo effect and reverb but that was already getting into fancy studio territory

People would go ‘hey I want to make a house record!’….they would buy a Roland W30 sampling workstation or something and ‘mix’ it down on a crappy DJ mixer and make hit records…nobody cared about deep kicks or perfectly mixed tracks or if you setup was a fancy studio. If you listen to for example early Eric Nouhan records you can really feel that ‘spirit’.

You would spend hours figuring out stuff you can find out in 2 seconds now on youtube tutorials, but you did it in your way with your own technique and style….maybe giving a more personal touch/character to the music.

Also programming sound…In those days I never cared about the theory of synthesis, I just would experiment turning the knobs and after a while you would know what it did…thats how I learned FM synthesis on a DX21…no idea about theory mathematical functions behind it but I do know how to make a spaced out pad sound or thick bass in 30 seconds on any DX.

If we are over complicating things….I think so sometimes! Maybe if you get stuck it might be a really good idea to transpose yourself to a 90s mindset and just play around with that pioneering spirit
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