Tips for making minimal oldskool techstep like this tune...?

Discussion in 'Production' started by Rogue Cypher, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. Rogue Cypher

    Rogue Cypher Member

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    Decoder is prob one of my favs. which I have come to know as one of the oldskool daddys. As I came on the dnb scene back in 2000 or maybe 2001 I just missed the hayday of the real hardstep/techstep era.

    I've since found out some of the bigboys of the time such as decoder and virus, older stakka and skynet, metalheadz etc, though I am sure I still do not know of many so others who are more clued up on that era please also give me recs.

    Anyway here is a tune by decoder- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qW9Btr_Pihs

    Could you guys give me tips on what techniques I would want to use to produce similar sounds. That is, sterile, minimal, militant type tunes. I like the minimalist nature of this era, it really does seem to be the epitome of drum and bass to me, ie nothing but the drum and bass.

    Someone on youtube said that ed eush and and optical had a formula which said only drums bass and atmospherics- that is very loose paraphrasing and I'm not sure if they said it or he was just saying that is he thought made a good techstep track but w/e! :)

    So please give me some tips.

    For me I'm most interested in getting the most minimal hard break to drive the track along while really spending my time nurturing a beautiful bass. Anyhow decoder's track pretty much sums up what direction I want to go so please break that tune down into it's elements so I can go about trying those techniques out myself.

    In terms of software I currently use cubase, massive, kontakt and battery. I imagine this should suffice but feel free to add recs for added plugins if nec too.

    thanks.
     
  2. Busdriver

    Busdriver Member

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    Really not my cup of tea.
    Hate its resonant lead on the intro. The bass kind of saves the track but not more for me.
    If you want minimal D&B, go for Shogun label. Sabre, Rockwell, Alix Perez.... Far more better quality imo.

    The only tip i can give you is an obvious one but some forget it. If you want to do minimal, you will only have a few sounds, so every one of them should be awesome, or it will sounds like shit.
    One more, not much elements, so try to make them evolve slightly over the whole track.
    Mixing must be precise too.

    Good luck mate
     
  3. Rogue Cypher

    Rogue Cypher Member

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    hey,

    Yea what you say about making every part sound awesome is kinda my thought too.

    I find newskool stuff far too busy and like someone is just clashing loads of kitchen ware together in efforts to make it sound as 'big' as possible. Again, personal pref of course.

    One thing which has stopped me getting going though is I absolutely HATEHATEHATE drum sequencing on my keyboard or worse point and click style.

    I'm am itching to get myself a korg padkontrol to give me a more hands on feel for making the drums. I lost a bid on ebay which bugs me cos I am really itching to get one and having to wait days for bids is unacceptable!

    Then again you could say that's me making excuses but I really dislike both types of input due to lack of hands on feel so it wrecks the immersion for me.

    I can be making the bass I guess which I was playing with last night although I like to do the drums 1st.

    Just a general rant on my current musical frustrations :D.
     
  4. Busdriver

    Busdriver Member

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    Eh.
    I would advise a point and click/drag method. To me it's the best way ever. Not only a personal thought. You are precise and you can visually understand what you are doing, so it allow you to remind tricks and more about what you did sooner.
    I think that you shouldn't think of producing like playing an instrument. It's far more fun to hit pads than to arrange a pattern dragging and clicking, but the fun in producing is not here imo.
    The real thing that should gives wood is when you listen to what you have made and you are like "wow it sounds cool".
    The way you work is rarely fun. the result is.

    Btw, drums on keyboard is awful.

    Keep on going!
     
  5. Innovine

    Innovine Active Member

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    I cant disagree more. I bought a drumkit and am teaching myself to play. its awesome every step of the way. it doesnt sound great, but then, neither do many bedroom producer tracks so at least im having fun on every note

    This doesn't help me much, I'm making music and usually use my ears for that. See the recent posts on making tunes without listening :p
     
  6. Busdriver

    Busdriver Member

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    You bought a live acoustic drumkit? i mean a battery?

    If so, i don't see your point.
    Like i said there is just no way you can think of a control surface as an instrument.
    I mean on your drumkit you will work hours to learn how to hit your snare correctly, how to feel the tempo, how to desynchronize your legs and arms... and finally you will learn how to make music with all that.
    There is no such things with a midi controller. You have one because you need some control on vsts if necessary. But you wont spend hours learning how to place your finger hit perfectly and how is the tempo etc... basically you will use a beatmatching option on your daw.
    The reason for that is just that there is no interest in working your midi pad skills. Chances are you will never perform live.

    The sounds quality in music production depends on your synthesis skill not your midi controller ones. whereas when you play a live instrument your sounds and your musicality will depends first on your instrument skill.
    I think here is the difference to catch.

    You are sure doing a great job using your ears, a lot of people forget to do so. But it would be stupid to place your stems randomly because "you will use your hear to replace them correctly". If you saw on a previous session that there is "this" rythmic placement you want for your kick/snares, why will you mess around 10min when you can learn it visually and do it in 10 sec. You know for example that your snare hit there, there and there and you kick here and there.
    In fact it's very important to melt your ear skill with a logic skill. Use both or you will lose time.

    Music theory has been invented for that.There is no fun in it, you can play some things without it... Even when there is a lot of people thinking that solfeggio is useless and for suckers, i can tell you that when you are pro, this is just vital.

    Finally, i would say that to give advice to a beginner to buy a midi controller that he will probably us twice or so is not very cool.
    Basically it's exactly like the keyboard option, you are only hitting a pad instead of a piano key....
    I say all that because i passed through. I wanted this and this and this and so. And finally i discovered that there is not any need of those. And i'm happy that i didn't fell for this money waste.

    I admit that there is the "new stuff emulation" that will make you work like a week or two because you are happy to have this new thing. The only good thing i see in that.

    Btw have fun learning to play your drum kit, it's a great start and it's sure fun! ;)

    Cheers mate
     
  7. Innovine

    Innovine Active Member

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    FIrst off, it's not an acoustic kit, it's a roland TD-12 mesh kit, so it sends midi (as well as play sounds). I do so much electronic music (and I live in an apartment) so this was a much better choice even if it was a LOT more expensive than a good acoustic kit.

    Second, you are right in that it takes a long time to practice, I've been at it over two years now, I practice a few hours a week, and to be honest I am still not really any good. BUT, after that time and effort, I can now make beats in realtime. My groove/timing isn't as consistent as I'd like, but I can play fast enough to jam along with music, and I can just throw in some fills and changes on the fly. This is super important :) I like hands-on midi controllers, and I just see the drumkit as a very responsive and expensive controller. And it's all about playing live for me. Just like dancing, I totally love getting physically into the beat and moving my ass and getting all sweaty with the music. Compare that to pushing a mouse around.

    I got so sick of seeing DJing pretending to look busy, or laptop musicians bent over just clicking on things with their mouse. This is what I do all day at work, and it's so unconnected with making music that it's really, really boring. I love watching live bands, or someone getting on stage and showing off something really complicated that they've practiced hard on. Most electronic musicians practice a lot and work hard, but when it comes to performing live they are generally just pressing play and muting/unmuting a few bits.

    Not quite sure what you mean by that. If I take a listen to a previous session (or any piece of drum n bass really) then it's usually no trouble just to listen a couple of times and figure the beat out. Then I can play it, so I dunno what you mean by messing around for 10 mins trying to figure things out. I think I can recreate a random beat a LOT faster than someone using a mouse, and probably faster than someone with a pad control (since i can use my feat at the same time). Which can you do faster, beatbox (ie with your mouth) or enter the same beat with a mouse? It's sorta like that, especially when it comes to improvising some fills/changes. I reckon PadKontrol is a good idea if that's what the OP thinks will help them. It takes a while to get quick and good at using those things, but that is time well invested when you finally get it. It's a workflow thing. Hell, this is DRUM and bass, and a lot of people go purely by feel and muscle memory rather than intellectualizing and abstracting the beat to a grid which is manipulated with a mouse.

    OP: Get a padkontrol if that's how you like to work. You can turn on quantization while recording to tighten up your timing. Use it with some kind of looper tool (ableton would be fine) . This would let you layer up beats and sequence without relying heavily on the computer screen. If you have a few knobs to twist you'll be able to control some effects or edit samples too. Probably a nice way of approaching the music, considering the example posted.
     
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  8. Busdriver

    Busdriver Member

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    Hey mate,

    yep acoustic or electo drum kit mean the same regarding what i was saying. You want to play an instrument.

    Btw i apologize about the fact that i didn't saw the style the OP wanted to do. It changes some things.
    The tempo changes everything imo.


    Some facts about playing live:

    -Play live d&b drums... i know a lot of awesome (pro) drummers and they can't play what i do with my daw.
    -Do you choose your samples and load them into your Roland? if so,that is some time spent.
    -You admit that after 2 years you are not rythmically precise enough, and i'm sorry to say that you will probably never be as much as it's needed in electro music.
    -Agree with you on the Dj etc...pretending to be busy. But that don't mean they are not into music. Tak an old Andy C, mixing like 4 tracks in 1"30, this is music and this is skill. Select tracks and create a world on an entire set is a job too. If you watch David Guetta on his pionneers turning the same button all set long, sure you can spit on him.
    -Live electro is most of the time a joke. Don't see the point really, most of the time there is nothing more than what the band did in studio. They recreate it live with nothing more, often with patterns etc... nothing going on.
    -You think you can recreate any beat just by listening to it one time? man i'm tempted to give you the challenge. I assure you that you won't be able, at least with D&B. Physically you cant do it and you won't be able to hear all of what's going on.
    -If you know some theory and learn a bit by what you do everyday, yes you save a lot of time. And that don't prevent you from using your ears and doing real music.
    -Playing live will bring you digital/physical automatism. It's a fact well known by musician, you will come back on the same patterns again and again. If i ask you to play 100 different patterns you will come back on one you have already played before the 50th without even figuring it out.
    -Whereas with a mouse drag, you can move every single stem slightly and on and on.
    -Again you give advice to get a pad, and to use quantization, which i'm pretty sure you use too, what's the point? what's the difference with the OP's keyboard? Key/pad pad/key....seriously?

    Man i seriously invite you to play real live music if you like some...rock/jazz or whatever!

    I don't think you get my most important point in my first post:

    you should be realistic about live music/producing. This is two different jobs. If you want to be a pro producer, focus on producing, you have no time to loose. If you want to play live, focus on that and on the styles that won't frustrate you.
    Music is a serious business man (taken in a forum sig) an if you want to be pro, you need to be effective.

    Op at least, try to try it a while before buy it if you can.

    I admit that for my part i don't have to choose. Live music is one of my everyday job. Production is like a second instrument.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010
  9. Innovine

    Innovine Active Member

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    You can't do what they do either, so what's your point?

    Yeah, but I'm not doing 'electronic music'. I'm just banging out some beats. Works for me.

    You were talking about the placement of kick and snare. Course I can't play everything I hear, don't be stupid. But I can play along with it, and get the important hits in the right places.

    They feel very different. It's obvious you don't use your fingers for more than picking your nose and arguing on forums.

    I do that too. I'm pretty happy playing what I want to play, thanks, I don't need you telling me what to play.

    I am yeah. I can do live music by banging two stones together if I want. And it'll still be more interesting than a dude playing stone samples on a laptop.

    Only if you're a snobby wanker. The rest of us are here to bang out some tunes and enjoy doing it. Now go back to your mouse and move a few notes around.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010
  10. logikz

    logikz I Am Not The King Staff Member

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    well what is it about this tune that you need help with? the techniques employed are very standard, but the tune itself and the mixdown is decoders genius which its of course impossible to figure out. but yeah meaty 2 step break with hihat variations. the main focus on the song despite all the stuff going on is the kick snare and drums. and the bass.
    the 2 note bassline is distorted saw waves with a filter env making in warp and then he filters that with lp for the second part and hps it for fills.
    split the bass in 2, one mid and high layer and one low. start with the high and when it drops put the sub in there. there are the ambient noises which can be anything from filtered noise to train station ambiences. he later layers his warp bass with a dub stabby bass and does filter fuckery on the warps. this is a very general description, its a good song but to when you break it donw and analyze it there isnt that much to talk about. im real real hung over so excuse me if im overy simplifying stuff
     
  11. Busdriver

    Busdriver Member

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    Wow the conversation tone seems to be changing, don't know why?

    -1 that's precisely the point, i know that if they can't do, i can't neither, so why loose time trying?
    Just banging some beats...not any ambition? make a full track, or something else?

    -2 Kick and snare was an example obviously. You do patterns with only kick and snares?

    -3 Pure hate man... Soft pad feeling under your finger/ harsh key under your finger; does it worth spending money for the difference it gives? that was the point. And i don't care about what you think about that, i'm not trying to help you but the OP.

    -4 I'm not telling what to play, i give advice about splitting aims.

    -5 Wtf? did you read what i wrote at least? The point here is to say producers are not live performer and live performer are not producers. Need to understand that.
    Pro producers aren't trying to play anything live cause they've stated that it's useless for their work. They focus on what they need and they don't care about the Dj who will mix their work live tweaking one knob.
    Some are trying to make live stuff but they already know how to produce and it's another story.

    Moreover you shit on people wanting to make music with sample? that's what you say with your stone thing? prefer it "live" than replayed by a computer? what are you doing here man?

    -6 Don't see the point about being a snoby wanker. When you try to help someone, do it good or don't do it at all. I give the same advice for noobs who just want to make beginners stuff than for experienced people who want to make good work and be released one day.
    I try to make them avoid the errors and time loss i experienced myself.
    Everybody aim at producing good quality stuff even if it's not for release;and it won't happen with random un-aimed advices.

    Btw i don't care about you, just wanted the OP to think twice before doing things he could regret later. That's why i answered again.
    Now you turn into madness with no argument so i'll leave this.

    Chill man.

    Thanks to logic who did the job i think.
     
  12. Rogue Cypher

    Rogue Cypher Member

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    Gah! I wasn't getting reply notifications so have alot of replies to catch up on.

    Basically this:

    is exactly my motivation for getting the padkontrol. Since I made the post while waiting to get the pad (I won one on ebay for a good price but the lazy fucker doesn't seem to have sent it yet after 2 days >_<- someone will be getting poor feedback!) I have been playing with the point and click technique to keep me busy.

    Actually I forgot that last tune I made I was throwing the .wav files straight into cubase and chopping them like that rather than trying to do a piano roll in midi. I actually quite enjoy doing this.

    What I think I'll prob do with padkontrol is use it to rearrange my beats and make loops and then just mixdown the loops I make in padkontrol and do arrangement point and click. I'll probs do a mix of both and can't say what I'll do till I get a feel for using it. Probably padkontrol to audition arrangements realtime till I get something I like then arrange it point and click once I find a nice groove.

    Bussdriver, although I appreciate your input I think you are a little biased and closed minded with regards 'the right way of doing things'. You speak as though using a drum controller is inferior. Now I don't want to start an argument over it :) but that was just the tone I got from your posts. Now I don't speak with any authority one way or the other I just don't wanna be boxed in by the man, man. :) Like I say though, I still appreciate the input.

    Thanks for this logikz this is pretty much just what I was after, just a general breakdown of the different elements. It's not that I want to copy what he does or rather I do just to go in the right direction cos this is the style of dnb I like cos then once I get familiar with the techniques of this style I can experiment myself within this niche. Randomly playing around from default in massive is all well and good but there are so many different parameter options that it's kind of like trying to open a safe with no knowledge of the combination.

    So having a blueprint will point me in the right direction so I can go off and search out how to use the specific techniques which were outlined knowing I'm going in the right direction.

    Drums are what I've found the HARDEST thing to do so far. All the combinations I try they sound shit and not what I want. Mostly they end up sounding to jazzy and jiggly rather than cold and relentless how I want. It has has proved rather frustrating as I'm even following the ultimate basic dnb format of:

    Snare Snare
    Kick Kick

    for some reason they still sound shit.

    With regards to the break how should I make them sound fat/hard and sterile like in the track? I was told once that I should just throw loads of overdrive on them. What would is other's opinion on this plus what program do you recommend to use to edit the break to get desired sound?

    If I can edit any average sounding drum loop to make it sound meaty how I want it then that will give me alot more versatility cos then I can take a standard loop and make it my own through editing the effects etc. on it and mixing it down.

    As for the arrangement once I can the sound I want form the loops I will then try arranging them and mix them down and put them up here for critique so you guys can tell me what is going wrong till I get the sound I want.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010
  13. logikz

    logikz I Am Not The King Staff Member

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    one way to do a break like, a terribly simple and might i say a tad cheaty way of doing that is taking a funkbreak, sequencing it to the normal 2step pattern. shorten envs on hits, hp that. add a powerful kick and a powerful snare. do it again but this time but this time a different sounding kick snare, specially the snare, could be more metallic or clappy or something, but shorten the envs. repeat until you have the hugest kick snare combo in the world with the funk break now slightly in the background. now get two shakers, or you can get hihats and down the attack on them. distorth them exite them etc and then eq out the low. its quite possible that you can remove the funkbreak now. i like to keep it for charachter though.
    basically, never use a volume slider on anything. always use overdrive plugs to amp something. sable said that and makes soooooo much sense.
    the rest is just down to normal 2step drum sequencing with all its ins and outs, its pretty regular business.
     
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  14. Rogue Cypher

    Rogue Cypher Member

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    Why is it considered cheating? as opposed to what which wouldn't be cheating?

    Also what programs you rec for the above mentioned manouvres?
     
  15. Busdriver

    Busdriver Member

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    Hey hey,

    like i often say, forum conversation can lead to misunderstanding.

    I don't disregard people doing things in different way of mine. On the contrary, i take look at everything happening on the subject to find information etc...
    If you re read, i think you will see that i generally point that it's "imo" and not a general fact.
    But when somebody come saying he begins and want basic advice, i try to give him the pros and cons about what he's saying.
    I think i never says things like "that sucks".
    The argument came finally between Innovine and me about our conception of live and production.

    But what i wanted to say to you simply is that a pad wouldn't break your key hitting routine. You just will hit on something looking different. And that you will surely have to do click and drag after that anyhow.
    The aim wasn't to say that if you do that you suck.

    When i said that mouse dragging is the best imo, it meant IMO first and then i explained why.
    After that everybody is free to do what he wants and i don't spit on them at all!

    Hope you will find what suit you best.
     
  16. logikz

    logikz I Am Not The King Staff Member

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    i find it cheaty beceause i really want to source all my samples myself. pro sample packs are cheating. well not really, its not a fact or anyhting, its just a feeling i have in the back of my head. which is why its taken me forever to take advantage of pro sample packs. i do now though, i feel a combo of vinyl crate digging sampling the obscurest shit possible and combining that with real clean ass pro samples gives a good sound. this might seem obvious to you but it took me ages to realize a combination of both worlds is the answer. it was an ego thing i imagine.

    compresseion and reverb and that but its more for the aesthetic. you might need compression on that snare to make it bigger and another one for snappiness but long as your sample selection is tight its more an aesthetic than anything else. they are of course great when working on your mixdown but for the sounds themselves they are not always necessary.

    and as for what program, i do it in the sampler and sequece it in the daw. so kontact in cubase, or slicer in fl studio or you know. all you need is a couple of instances of the sampler and the ability to sequence the sounds.
     
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  17. Busdriver

    Busdriver Member

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    Logicz i'm not sure about what you said on volume slider.
    Sabre says that you shouldn't automatise on the drum track volume but use an overdrive instead? only to give boost or even to make quieter?
    I don't get it.
     
  18. logikz

    logikz I Am Not The King Staff Member

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    all it means is that dont use the volume to amplify a sound, use an overdrive plug. its such a fucking brilliant piece of advice. now busdriver do you feel like doing me a favour?

    ---------- Post added at 18:25 ---------- Previous post was at 18:24 ----------

    can you list some of your fave overdrive plugs? NOT distortion mind you, just overdrive ok?
     
  19. Busdriver

    Busdriver Member

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    Guess i have to ask what is an overdrive precisely?
    Amp simulator are considered as such? Vintage warmer?
     
  20. Rogue Cypher

    Rogue Cypher Member

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    Ok logikz I get what you mean now.

    I can easily understand where you are coming from with the cheating thing. For me I feel the same if I were to just straight 'jack' the whole sample from the sample pack and plaster it into the sequencer untouched. To appease my ego I always rearrange the loop to make a new one and/or add effects so it doesn't sound like the original anymore-usually both or it won't sound unique enough for me to be satisfied- so I guess that clears my conscience sufficiently :). If I am just layering another sample in the background I am not as bothered about that though if it is barely perceptible.

    I'm glad you said kontakt cos I already have that installed and have used it a bit so will continue to use it and learn it more.

    A recommended overdrive plugin would be useful...

    I'm finding your comments really helpful, so have some good karma points on me.