Stylistic Question

Discussion in 'Production' started by Niwun, May 2, 2014.

  1. Niwun

    Niwun Member

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    Gday lads, Interested in discussing different syles and how to produce them. By styles i'm not referring to a producer's style, rather what I mean is what some people sould call subgenres... Liquid, ambient, dark, minimal. Generally I find that when I complete a track, it sounds either dark, or melodic in an epic kind of way. Usually due to my taste in samples etc. Im sure most people on here probably have a style or styles they generally stick to, or that because of their taste in music and sounds is reflected strongly in their production.

    If you want to make another style, how do you go about it? Whats your process? Does it feel weird using a different process to get a different result, a result that may not be as polished as the style that you make the most? Lets take say... the example of minimal drum and bass. If you were to make a track that you classified as minimal, how would you approach it? What would be different from the way you usually produce? Why?

    I always seem to rely on modulation and an obvious melody or hook to drive the arrangement of a track forward. I want to expand the methods at my disposal, and push myself to use less to make more if that makes sense. Use textures, layers, edits, and that sort of thing instead of obvious modulation and hooky melodies. I find this extremely challenging and at times so frustrating that i'll just resort back to a method that I know works, but that gives me a different result from my goal. Ive heard people say music theory helps with this because you can more consciously decide on the structure of your melody than if you are putting together a melody by ear... What do you think?

    Any insights would be most appreciated.
     
  2. Solace

    Solace Active Member

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    So you are jsut asking what changes it would take to get a different result? (as in different subgenre?)

    Well, recently I've been making mostly minimal... Dub Phizix style, Skeptical, that stuff.
    On most of those projects I started with a bassline (I know, weird,.. blabla) and some kicks that go with it (and sometimes a quick snare to have a quick layout)
    i make sure the kick and bassline are awesome, then I just add... pads, percussion, background stuff... And as last, i pick my snare... I feel that the snare in minimal is very important, so I do that last so it surely fits.

    But when i try to make liquid, i start with the vibe i want, the pads, the melodies, the layout of the track, that stuff,... Then drums and bassline

    On a track I just start with the thing that is the (to my feel) important part of the song...
     
  3. Niwun

    Niwun Member

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    Interesting. So when you started with the bass, did you synthesize it, then put some notes in, or did you do it the other way aorund? I seem to be stuck in having to make a sound first before I know what sounds good in terms of notes with that particular sound. I try and reverse the order to get a different result but it just seems foreign and much harder. Why?
     
  4. Solace

    Solace Active Member

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    Yea i start looking for a good sound first... Something bassheavy, but with a nice midrange noise, or something that's pure bass, but changeable with modulation... Then i put notes in (note: when I'm making minimal, I don't use alot of different notes, just 1 or 2, all the same note). I have a small midi-keyboard, so I just press on some notes to hear if it sounds alright, if not, I look for something else (or tweak the sound)

    Also, when I have something that sounds good, but i doesn't have enough midrangystuff (to hear on a laptop speaker for example) I just send it to another bus, distort the bass, cut off the bass frequencies, and voila. Got this tip from someone, and I've used it alot lately

    But that doenst always work out ofcourse.. When I hear the bass doenst fit, I just pick another one, don't be stuck with one sound.

    What also helped me, is using bass samples. Get a bass sample you like, get rid of the frequencies you don't like (mostly lowpassing it, so you keep the sub. After this you can use the technique above: other bus, distort, cut off low), and use the sample.
    This way you dont need to look for a bass that has enough umph, so you can focus on the rest of the track. So you get a feeling how the rest of the proces works with minimal.
    When you are confident enough, when you feel you got the basics of making minimal, you can or delete the sample and recreate it, or start a new track, making your own ass from scratch


    I'm kinda just typing here, so I hope I'm answering some stuff...
     
  5. Dark Lizardro

    Dark Lizardro The Lizard that has a hammer Staff Member

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    altough I like a lot the work from Noisia and Black Sun Empire, even to cite them as one of my influences, I don't try to copy their style. Or make "similar sounding" songs.

    The funny thing is that I'm not a dnb connoisseur, I mean, I don't listen to a wide range of dnb artists, and I heard some people saying my music kinda sound like "this" or "that" particular dnb producer/group that i never, ever heard in my life.
     
  6. smoothassilk

    smoothassilk Active Member

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    It's about knowing what makes minimal minimal, what makes liquid liquid etc. Spend some time thinking about what the actual differences are between the genres are.
     
  7. Niwun

    Niwun Member

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    I've done this. Lots of LISTENING and thinking about the various elements involved. I am now at the part where i'm thingking about the METHOD to get there rather than the end product. Whats your process for making you're chosen style(s)? Are you conscious of it when making music?

    - - - Updated - - -

    I find listening to too much drum and bass when you are making it, especially if its contemporaty stuff, can be a bad thing. You end up getting your favourite artist(s) style stuck in your head and it effects the natural progression / development of your own style. So I agree with you, and im not a connesiuer either, but im looking to channel "whatever comes out" into more of a conscious end goal in terms of vibe / style. But one that's my own and not a copy of anyone else's.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Cheers, most useful to have an insight into someone else's process, bigups lad! Another question, if you just are using one or two notes in your bassline, how do you keep the track insteresting? Through edits, cool oneshot sounds, textures and ambience, tension and the like? Or do you have another method? Do you use some modulation or effects on the bass apart from distortion? Cheers!
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2014
  8. smoothassilk

    smoothassilk Active Member

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    Well, take what I say with a pinch of salt, because I've only made four and a half finished tunes (although every one is a different style), but I'm very conscious of influences when I make music. Almost every element I think: that rhythm is from that track, that's a a mefjus snare, that's a rhythm from funk music etc... Some elements I feel are definitely my own, and others are definitely from other tracks.

    Here's an example (excuse my crap production), a house track I made:
    https://soundcloud.com/scrapheaper/concerto-for-headphones-part-2

    Ok so a lot of elements I took from a couple of house tunes I was really into at the time: Animals and Hitchhiker's Choice, both by Minilogue
    - The lead is constantly changing and evolving in timbre, starting from almost nothing and fading away to almost nothing at the end.
    - Although the lead riff is the same the whole way through, I'll accent different random notes from it by playing them using a different patch for variation.
    -Drums are not overcomplicated or overpowering, just simple with simple, minimal fills

    The chord sequence (A big feature of this track: no repetition of chords whatsoever, lots and lots of key changes) I got by spending hours and hours analyzing classical music and seeing finding patterns in chords Beethoven and Chopin wrote.

    Then there's the bass. It started off with me trying to replicate a 303, but I couldn't do it so I just left it as a really bad imitation.

    The whole track is done in swung semiquavers. That term will probably mean nothing to you, but it's what makes funk funky, and the swinging translates well to other genres and has been used in other house tracks, rock songs, dubstep (Think KOAN sound - Funk Blaster, that kind of thing)

    I was listening to the really mainstream house track 'Greyhound' by Swedish House Mafia, and I noticed that there's a bit near the end where there are two leads playing, but the rhythms are set up so that neither lead plays at the same time, if that makes sense: the second lead plays in the rests of the first lead. That's another technique that I put into this track: the lead and the bass play in each other's rests.
    There are probably more things, but I've since forgotten what they are.

    Hope that gives you an idea how I translate what I've been listening to into my music.
     
  9. Solace

    Solace Active Member

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    Well, most of the time I'm also stuck at this part...
    In my latest track (Exit, listen to the unfinished track on my sc (link in sig)), I made sure I had enough varation by adding and deleting stuff. I mostly didn't touch my bassline.
    So what I did:
    -In some parts i got rid of the distortion, and (gradually) add it back, so you have the feeling something changed
    -I changed the rythm of the snare, and this helps alot! In the first part of the first drop, I made it half time, but a few the 3rd and 4th snare of the bar removed (listen to the track to hear what I mean, from 0:44 to 1:06), then the second part, I added the 3rd and 4th snare to make it full halftime (in the track from 1:06 to breakdown)
    Then in the second drop i changed the partern again, to a 'full time' drum and bass beat, and than later on again to half time
    -Add hihats. Sometimes a tunes doenst need hihats. But when you feel it needs some varation, add a hihat (again, also with my tune)
    - Change the pattern of the kicks, it's maybe someting that you dont really hear, but it does make a difference
    -If you have background stuff (pads, percussion, small distorted sounds), add them and get rid of them at some parts

    Ofcourse, sometimes you can change the bass, and that fixes that :p (for an example like this, look up Tom SMall - Next War (Bredren remix)
    Give it a small glide to an octave above, change the waveform, stuff like that...



    Edit:
    THIS. when you use a lead, this.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2014
  10. smoothassilk

    smoothassilk Active Member

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    Not always this. It works well in minimal tracks, but in other tracks, having the lead doing one thing, and then doing another thing makes the track lose coherency.

    If you have a big build, then bring in your epic lead, it would sound rubbish if 10s later, it was a different lead, and another 10s later, it was another lead again: you lose the focus of the high point of your track, if that makes sense.
     
  11. Solace

    Solace Active Member

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    That does make sense! My tracks are almost always leaning towards minimal, so I guess i (almost unconsiously) take a view from that side...

    So disregard my previous comment than ;p
     
  12. Niwun

    Niwun Member

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    Thanks very much lads, these are all really good thoughts and definitely give me a few fresh perspectives which I can take on and use in my own context. Champions!