I normally always start with the drums, then sometimes the bass or pads. I'm having real trouble getting my workflow refined though so normally do it differently every tune to see what works the best for me.
I seem to work ass backwards to most... I start by making a synth sound I like that inspires me, get a pattern going with it, maybe add in 1-2 addition "Intro" synths and then move onto drums. As a drummer who's played with live bands for some reason I find it easier to write a really interesting percussion section once a few melody elements already going. From there I usually get a bass patch of some sort going and get some MIDI for a bassline started... Once I have what I consider to be a solid MIDI arrangement I bounce to WAV and to chopping and re-arranging and perfect the mixdown in that stage.
first I personaly need firm concept,a detailed plan about each element of tune and how will it work,from little shaker so low in volume you wouldnt even conciously notice it to upper harmonics of sub bass
actualy I plan in my head each harmonic of each synth in way so it will never fight with other synth,for example if you have reese with saw waves tuned +- 25,then if you fit neutral square wave to it,it will work nicely becose the harmonics of reese are +-25 away from harmonics of square..... so thats the reason the square + reese combo is extremly common,becose it sounds good and its also flawless on technical level
first thing I do is kick drum,and then I will make sub bass and fine tune loudness of the two,that gives me firm values around witch I make everything else,the definite loudness of sub is super important becose its the element that takes most headroom,one thats always to blame when something starts clipping,
Changes all the time mate. I used to try work to a formula, eg. Drums then Pads, etc. etc.
Now however I just really go with the flow and I think it works better for me ! Sometimes I will find a really cool percussion loop thats sparks an idea or sometimes I might find an awesome music loop and get processing on it to get some ideas sparking. Sometimes I will come up with a melody or sometimes a chopped up vocal. Whatever it is, if it starts me off and gets me into the flow that usually when the tunes come !
I have found using a couple of tracks for reference is the quickest way to get a track moving, start by listening to what has been used in the reference tracks and then continue to dissect the track 4 bars at a time. Keeps the flow going and stops mental blocks.
I usually start off with drums just to have something to work on. But its so fucking depressing just sitting and scrolling trough your drum samples, trying to find the perfect ones so after that I'm all fed up with the project already haha. So after making the beat I usually just take a break and then later come back and try to get some basslines laid down on and after that I just play around with sounds and melodies and the rest of the stuff.
I always start by making the full on percussion loops first. The drums section is ready when it sounds good enough to be entertaining on its own I think.
Then I will usually place these where I think the first beat of the drop is, usually bar 33 or something like that. And depending on the idea I have I will either strip these drums down and start from bar 1 making an intro.
OR I will use the full on percussion loop to start making a bassline from bar 33 and go back and do the intro later. Then just add more as time goes on. If im going to use a synth then it usually gets introduced in the intro.
First think of an overall very basic concept of what kind of track to make, next begin thinking about the signature sounds which will make the track special.
Then I will grab a few reference tracks of a similar nature - for inspiration for additional sounds and possibly structure / narrative. I will also think about the groove and the notation I want based on ideas from other musical works - not necessarily DnB oriented.
Then before laying anything down in sequencer I will begin to build a palette of sounds which fit with what I've previously thought in my head. This includes making rough synth patches in whatever synth, selecting any instruments I want and finding specific samples / loops.
Then I will attempt to lay everything down and be as creative as possible. Try to finish the whole track roughly in terms of structure and notation / automations etc etc before focusing on the mixdown or EQing or reverbing or any processing at all unless the movement requires it. This way you dont get as stuck trying to eq the perfect bass or trying to get the punchiest drums - just try and use sounds that already fit together nicely and it will make life a hell of a lot easier.
Also make sure every sound you add makes the overall mix BETTER. No point spending time trying to get something to fit for no reason- You know the feeling you get when you add a sound to your track and suddenly everything sounds more cool? make sure you get that satisfaction with everything you add without even processing anything and you will not go far wrong! Concentrate on creative ideas and dont even bother mixing down anything until the song is finished.
Once everything in track is structured and complete then get into the nitty gritty and eventually start mixing down. If you've been clever with your source sounds the mixdown will be a fucking piece of piss - take out lows of sounds that aren't needed perhaps, boost highs of sounds, add sidechained reverbs, bounce shit down so you dont run out of cpu, distort and saturate stuff to make it louder, transient shape hits to bring down those spikes, eq spikes, and use multiband compression sidechaining between your main sounds that conflict - bass/snare etc.
I'll start off and make the drum beat till its sounding decent so I can work from there...
Then I'll start putting some chords together whether it's for a piano or pads... Then get the intro together and that usually gives me an idea for the drop then.... Used to in the past start on drums then straight to bass but it comes out so much better If I put together an intro first start vibing then