Are you interested in learning how to make electronic music? If you are, this guide will help you learn all about the key skills, equipment and methods you will need to get started on your electronic music journey. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to start making your own electronic music, and you’ll also get to know some of the top techno djs and techno music artists, such as DJ Tazz!
- Ask What kind of Music You Want To Make
Anyone can make electronic music! But first, you have to get clear on what kind of music you want to create. Ask yourself if you want to start with acoustic instruments and then add back beats or if you want more electronic instruments and then add acoustic backing tracks. Also think about if you want to work only in the studio or perform in a live environment.
Another really important part of making electronic music is listening to music that is already out there. It is good to listen to a variety of styles. This way you can see which elements you can use to come up with your own twist on things. Check out DJ Tazz, she is a techno music artist with a unique sound that might give you some inspiration for your own music!
- Find the Right Equipment and Software
DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is a software in which you create and record music. Here are a couple of options you can try:
- Ableton Live: the best option for live performances and good for the studio.
- Logic Pro: Mac only but very good for production.
- FI Studio: very popular for electronic dance music producers.
- Cubase: an older program that has become a classic.
- Reason: a fun program where you can wire lots of different instruments and effects together.
Every DAW has four components. They each look a little different in each DAw but pretty much can accomplish the same thing. All DAW’s have a:
- Arrangement window for recording and arranging audio and MIDI.
- A piano roll window for programming in MIDI
- Audio plugins
- A mixer window for balancing the levels of music.
- Headphones and Monitors
You’ll need some headphones and a pair of studio monitors for sure if you want to be making electronic music.
You’ll need some plugins if you have DAW installed. Techno music artists rely on plugins to get the best sound. The two broad categories of plugins you’ll need are sound-generating (which has soft-synths and samplers) and effects (EQ, compressors, reverb, delay, flangers, and so on). The good news is that DAW already comes bundled with tons of plugins.
- Sound Design
Now you are all set up, it’s time to start creating some sounds. As covered in step 2, there are two sources of sound you can use: soft-synths and samplers. You can also use your recorded audio. You can learn every control and dive deep on the theory behind sound design.
Some things you should keep in mind about sound design:
- Preset and Sample Banks
Preset banks and sample banks are a great way to get started quickly on making electronic music.There is not one producer who doesn’t use these. Some example websites for presets and sample packs are:
It’s a good idea to get a grasp on how the basics of samplers and synths work.
- Samplers and synths
These two work hand in hand and are also similar in terms of their design. They both have filters, envelope controls, and LFOs (low frequency oscillators). They also all have some effects, just like the effects plugins you are familiar with. They are built into the synth or sampler. But they are different in one way. Samplers use audio samplers while synthesizers use oscillators (things that generate sound waves). Techno music artists typically use a mix of both samplers and synths or rely on just one.
- Music Theory
Music theory is the study of understanding how music works. Music theory consists of scales, notes, and chords on a very micro level. But it also includes song arrangement and the creation of tension and release on the macro scale. Now some people argue that music theory is essential for music theory and some argue that it’s not. Most top techno djs have great knowledge of music theory, which is what helps them to create such great melodies. At the very least, you should have a basic grasp on scales and chord progressions and melodies. This will help you to arrange a song for maximum emotional impact, which will certainly pay off.
- Combine Real Instruments or Vocals
To bring more depth to your music, combine soft-synths, samplers, and recorded audio into every composition. This can bring character to your music rather than having just a synthesized song. You can record into an audio channel in your DAW, or load in shorter samples to a sampler and play with triggering them with MIDI. Mess around with guitars, keyboards, and more.
- MIx your Electronic music
Mixing is best done after the production stage. The closer you can get to the sound you want in the composition and sound design stage, the easier the mixing stage will be. Be aware of some pointers with making electronic music. These include:
- If you are using samples, they may be heavily reproduced. This is true of drum samples. So if you use a drum sample, you don’t need to mix in an electronic kick drum.
- Soft-synth and sampler patches have effects already applied within the plugin. This means it sounds great when being previewed but not necessarily so great in a mix.
- Try using saturatros and exciters to add more harmony to your sound. This can make your song way richer.
Now that you know some basics on making electronic music, it’s time to start! You can do a mix of all these steps to create the perfect song that you can. Don’t tie yourself to a strict doctrine of what is and isn’t allowed. Making music should be freeing, and it is your own creative expression being produced in a song! Look at top techno djs to see what they produce. Again, if you’re looking for inspiration, check out DJ Tazz’s songs. Her electric and rhythmic mixes are sure to inspire you to create the next big thing in electronic music!