How to make dance beats

Creating Beats for Dance Styles with the DJ-808

In this article, we’ll show you how to create some typical breaks on the DJ-808. Whether you play House, Drum and Bass, Trap or Electro, you can use the TR-S on the DJ-808 to incorporate live drum elements into your mix and make your sets stand out from the crowd. The videos included here will give you a guide to creating some classic dance beats on the DJ-808’s TR-style step sequencer. We’ve also added a step-by-step guide to setting up your drum sounds and the step patterns for programming each beat. Contributed by David Whitehead for Roland Corporation Australia

How to Create a ‘Classic’ House beat on the DJ-808

House music is the backbone of many dance genres and has spawned a wide range of variations. Starting in the early 80s, House utilises a four-on-the-floor Kick and off-beat Hats or Percussion. We wouldn’t have House as we know it without the iconic Roland TR-909 drum machine, so it’s great to have an ACB recreation built into the DJ-808! Firstly, here’s how you can make a traditional House beat with the classic off-beat Open Hi-Hat.

For the Kick drum, select 909, set the TRIM to 40, ATTACK to 17 and DECAY to 15. Leave the TUNE at 50. This will give you a nice, tight Kick. The DJ-808 also has Clap sounds built-in and for this beat, it’s best to use a Clap instead of a Snare, so select the 909 Clap. Set the TRIM to 50, a little more ATTACK at 22 and the DECAY at 12. For the Closed Hat, again select a 909, set the TRIM to 66 and DECAY to 18. Finally, for the Open Hat, set the TRIM at 52 and DECAY at 29. By programming a two-bar pattern, you can create some variation just before the end of the second bar. This is a classic technique to introduce the next part of the track. Set the TEMPO to 120 BPM.

How to create a ‘Kygo-style’ Tropical House beat on the DJ-808

Tropical House has become very popular in recent years, and is perfect for that sun-kissed festival vibe. It has a more chilled-out feel than traditional House does, is often a little slower and focuses more on melody. While the beat is less intense than some other forms of House, it retains the four-on-the-floor kick and again often uses TR-909 sounds.

In this one, use Serato Sampler to add a Shaker sound to the beat. Load a Shaker sample into Serato Sampler and we’ll now sequence it, using the TR-S on the DJ-808. Select the 909 Kick drum, but pull back the ATTACK and DECAY, both to 10. For the Snare part, use the 909 Clap, but bring it lower in the mix. Set the TRIM to 39. Similarly, on the Closed Hat, pull the TRIM back to 52. Set the BPM to 118 and add some SHUFFLE, set to 13 (Shuffle amount). Many Tropical House songs also use Latin percussion sounds, like bongos, congas and steel drums. These can also be loaded into Serato Sampler and sequenced on the DJ-808.

How to create a ‘Hardwell-style’ Big Room beat on the DJ-808

Big Room House or Big Room Electro is a popular EDM genre that came out of the Electro House craze and quickly developed into a genre of its own. Often defined by massive saw-wave synths, pumping sidechains and tribal Toms, it’s a real arena-style sound, with huge drops and synth driven breakdowns.

We’re going to use Serato Sampler to incorporate a Tom into our beat. Load a mid-ranged Tom into the Serato Sampler and you can sequence it using the TR-S on the DJ-808. Select a 909 for the Kick, set the TRIM to 50, ATTACK to 30 and DECAY to 40. For the Snare sound, select a 909 Clap and set the TRIM to 48. Set the BPM to 126 (with no swing).

How to create a ‘Major Lazer-style’, Moombahton beat on the DJ-808

Moombahton is a genre that you may have never heard of. But, you have probably heard the Moombahton beat used in a whole range of modern dance tracks! The term was coined in 2009, when Dave Nada combined House with Reggaton to create a four-on-the-floor beat with a Latin/Dancehall groove. It’s been used by Dance artists such as Diplo, Dillon Francis, Porter Robinson and Skrillex and has subsequently influenced Top 40 artists such as Drake and Justin Bieber.

Keep your 909 Kick. Set TRIM to 60, TUNE it up to 60, set the ATTACK to 43 and DECAY to 31. Choose a 909 Snare, set TRIM to 68, TUNE to 73 and DECAY to 11. Then, select a 909 Closed Hat, put the TRIM to 68, the TUNE to 60 and the DECAY to 27. Set the BPM to 108 and SHUFFLE to 13 (Shuffle amount). Moving away from the four-on-the-floor 909 beats, you can also create fantastic Breakbeats with the DJ-808. As the name suggests, the TR Drum Machine includes an ACB re-creation of the famous TR-808 from 1980.

How to create a ‘Fetty Wap-style’ Trap beat on the DJ-808

Trap is a real blend of Hip-Hop and Dance production. It’s a term used to describe music made by Southern rappers and EDM producers alike. While this means it has expanded into a wide range of tempos and sounds, it remains consistently defined by large 808 Kicks with long decay, pitched up Snares and fast 32nd note Closed Hats. In this example, we’ll show you how to create a 147 BPM, half-time beat, using a 4-bar pattern. To make 4 bars using 32nd notes, this will use 8 spaces on the TR-S sequencer.

Choose the 808L Long Decay Kick. Set the TRIM to 50, and TUNE it DOWN to 40. Set the ATTACK to 40 and DECAY to 63. Use a TR-606 for the Snare. A TR-606 is great for providing sharp, snappy snares, like those used in Trap. Set the Snare’s TRIM to 70 and TUNE it up to 80. Set DECAY to 40. Use an 808 for the Closed Hat, with the TRIM at 60, the TUNE at 70 and DECAY at 30. Set your BPM to 147 and set your SCALE to 32.

How to create a ‘Zomboy-style’ Dubstep beat on the DJ-808

Dubstep is also classically characterised by a 140 bpm beat at ½ time. Whether it’s a deeper, dub-influenced sound or the more in-your-face sound that’s become popular in modern dubstep, you almost always find it following the pattern of the Kick on the first beat and the Snare on the third beat, giving it that half-time feel. Along with tearing basslines, the Kick and Snare are defining elements of Dubstep. To create a really big sound, producers often layer multiple Kick and Snare samples. So to achieve this on the DJ-808, you can double up the internal TR-S sounds with additional Kick and Snare samples from Serato Sampler.

Choose an 808 Kick, tuned to 45, with TRIM at 65, ATTACK at 28 and DECAY at 20. Use a 606 for the Snare, with the TRIM at 60, TUNE at 75, ATTACK at 32 and DECAY at 100. We’ll also use a 606 for the Closed Hats, with the TRIM at 65, TUNE at 55 and DECAY at 55. Set the BPM to 140.

How to create a classic “Amen” Jungle Break on the DJ-808

Early Drum and Bass and Jungle found definition by sampling classic Soul breaks. Producers then sped these breaks up, resulting in the now familiar Drum and Bass/Jungle drum sound. A perfect example of this practice was the drum solo from Amen Brother by The Winstons, a track which is now the most sampled song of all time! While the sounds used in this sample are from an acoustic drum kit, we are going to re-create this break with classic Roland drum machine sounds for a Jungle/Drum and Bass track. Jungle is a bit slower than modern Drum and Bass and therefore is able to use more complex beats, without sounding too full. This break works well at different tempos, but for our purposes here, we’ll demonstrate this example at 160bpm.

Choose an 808 Kick, set TRIM to 64, TUNE to 60, ATTACK to 26 and DECAY to 4 (to make it short for a fast beat). TR-707 sounds work well for the Snare, with the TRIM set to 58, TUNE at 79, DECAY at 40 and ATTACK at 26. Use TR-808 sounds for the Closed Hats, with the TRIM set to 57, TUNE at 60 and DECAY at 28. Set the BPM to 160. This beat benefits from having some lighter Kicks along with heavy Kicks. You can do this on the DJ-808 by holding down the step that you want to change and turning the VALUE knob to change the velocity of the Kick. For this pattern, we’re setting the lighter Kicks to 70. The pink steps in the following pattern images show these lighter Kicks. Set the velocity to 100 for the heavier (red) Kicks.

How to create a modern Techstep-style Drum and Bass break on the DJ-808

More modern Drum and Bass often uses tempos around 170 to 180 bpm and is based on a 2-step Breakbeat. Many Drum and Bass beats are built similarly to classic Hip-Hop breaks, at twice the tempo. As with Hip-Hop, the 808 Kick drum is an important element. For this example, program a two-bar pattern at 170 BPM.

Choose an 808 Kick, with the TRIM at 54, TUNE at 56, ATTACK at 22, DECAY at 43. The Snare can be the same as with the Jungle break, so select the TR-707, set the TRIM to 70, the TUNE to 80, ATTACK at 22 and DECAY at 50. For the Closed Hat, select an 808, with the TUNE at 70, TRIM at 50 and DECAY at 31. Set the BPM to 170.

Related Article

Recommended Article: Your Guide to Using the Roland DJ-808 with Serato DJ

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How To Make EDM Music - A Quick Guide

Do you love Electronic Dance Music? Eager to learn how to make EDM?

We’ll walk you through what you need to know if you want to start producing EDM music! You’ll see that it’s really not impossible for your songs to sound as powerful as radio hits created by some of the biggest names in the industry. Your tracks can sound like ones played by Major Lazer, Calvin Harris, AVICII, etc.

Starting point

As a beginner in the world of EDM, you’re most likely troubled by the following questions:

  • Which equipment do I need to get?
  • What’s the best software?
  • Should I use PC or Mac?
  • Desktop or laptop?
  • What is a MIDI?
  • What are key production guidelines to follow?

We’ll answer all of these questions in the text below! With some effort and will on your side, you’ll be able to sound as good as Skrillex soon enough. If you still feel uncomfortable to produce EDM songs on your own, even after reading our tips, you can always opt to hire a professional music producer.

This article is intended for beginners, yes, but it also contains very helpful tips for those who have already entered the world of electronic music production. So, without further ado, let’s get down to business!

Computer: The Most Important Musical Instrument of the EDM Genre

Nowadays, virtually anyone can produce music.

Back in the day, the entire process was really expensive and space-consuming. You needed a whole lot of gear that you had to fit in somewhere. That is probably why many music enthusiasts preferred electric guitars instead of heavyweight, yet fragile synthesizers.

Over the past couple of years, though, large studios packed with gear were replaced by a wide range of software that simulates it. That’s why computers are described as the main instrument for creating EDM. A producer puts together different sounds using the Digital Audio Workstation, which is similar to arranging the pieces of a puzzle. After finishing the track, the producer exports out their work to an audible file, e.g. wav or mp3.



The Internet

A very important part of electronic music culture is the Internet. Artists paved their way to success by using services like Spotify, Soundcloud, and YouTube to upload their works. Their everyday routine also includes sharing samples among each other and downloading software provided for online purchases.

If you’re wondering how long it takes for an EDM producer to finish their track, there is really no unique answer. Depending on inspiration and skills, some artists can finish their songs in a matter of hours, and for others, it will take weeks or even months. But, thanks to advancements in technology, today’s producers have the convenience of being able to save their work and come back to it later.

Are EDM Artists Producers or DJs?

People commonly use the terms “producer” and “DJ” as synonyms, but there’s a fundamental difference between the two.

A music producer is someone who plays hardware and software instruments, creates arrangements and records all that on a computer. On the other hand, a DJ is a performer who plays tracks created by other people to a live audience. Of course, producers can also play music live, but they perform their original music and probably prefer not to be called DJs.

So, the next time someone asks you who your favorite EDM DJ is, they’ll most likely be thinking of a producer.

Where the Sounds Come From: The Story of MIDI

To answer this question, you first need to understand what MIDI is. MIDI is short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. It’s a technical standard which helps all the keyboards, pads, samplers and other musical gadgets in your nearby music equipment shop function.

What’s interesting about MIDI is that this standard was adopted in the early eighties and hasn’t changed to this very day. MIDI is a standardized language that allows communication between electronic instruments and computers. Every time you hit a key on your keyboard, it is recorded on your computer. That recording contains information about loudness and pitch. However, the best part about it is that by using different software, you can translate these information into various sounds.

In other words, the same information is used for a wide range of colorful synths, beats, glitches, etc.

The Hardware

It’s really not that important whether you end up choosing a PC or Mac computer. With adequate knowledge, you can achieve the same quality for your final musical product. Performers that play live shows typically use laptops, simply because they are easy to carry with them when they’re on the road.

Generally speaking, computers produced by Apple are more reliable, and that is the reason why they are the “weapon of choice” of many famous EDM artists.

Things to have in mind when purchasing a computer for music production:

  • plenty of RAM (16-32GB)
  • a powerful processor (Intel i7, for example)
  • a high-speed hard drive (SSD is ideal)
  • a large display (if not two) with a high resolution.

The Audio Interface

Another piece of hardware that is essential to making music is the audio interface.

Many people popularly call it the “sound card”, but it is actually an expansion that provides input and output of audio signals to and from a computer. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to use your MIDI controller or listen to your creation through the speakers. We recommend portable audio interfaces, such as Scarlett 2i2, that use a USB connection.

There is a large number of MIDI keyboard or pad controllers available on the market. If you aim to create melodic themes (like on a piano), a keyboard controller is the perfect device for you. The pad controllers are generally used for beats, breaks and sample-based tunes. Our recommendation is to buy a controller that features both keys and pads, by manufacturers such as Native Instruments, Korg, or Novation.

Last but not the least, you will need a good pair of headphones along with studio monitor speakers. The monitor speakers are designed to provide an accurate reproduction of sound, unlike regular HI-FI speakers that are made to sound GOOD, not accurate. Manufacturers: PreSonus, ADAM, Yamaha, etc.

If you’re planning to record vocals and use the popular auto-tune effect, the best results are achieved with a quality condenser microphone, which is a very broad subject on its own that we’ll discuss on another occasion.

The Software

The two most important software components of electronic music production are the DAW and virtual instruments.

The DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is used for recording, editing and producing audio files. This kind of application software supports devices that operate using the above-mentioned MIDI. The most popular DAWs for EDM music are Ableton Live, Logic Pro or FL Studio. There is a plenty of very useful online tutorials (on YouTube, for example), that can help you with your DAW of choice. Being a music producer requires a lot of proactive research, so don’t hesitate to do it!

Virtual instruments and effects operate inside DAWs, and in most cases they are installed separately. They are used for instrument simulation, manipulating the color of the sound, and many other audio production-related tasks.

For example, Komplete 11 became very popular among EDM producers as of late. Apart from creating original synthesized sounds and rhythms, EDM artists often use sampling and looping of other songs.

As you may have already realized, audio production is an expensive kind of sport.

You don’t need to buy all the equipment as a beginner. A decent computer, sound card, MIDI controller, headphones and reliable speakers will be enough to start you off. Here are some advices about the important aspects of the EDM genre: recording and producing vocals, arrangements and mixing.

Creating Your First EDM Track

The key to become an EDM producer lies in learning how to use your DAW.

As we said earlier, if you use a PC computer, FL Studio is an excellent choice. If you’re a Mac user, you should go with Logic Pro X. Ableton Live is also very popular, and its advantage is that it’s compatible with both Mac and PC. The more DAWs you master, the better your skills and flexibility will get.

Making music means that you’ll have a lot of fun, but before you start, you’ll need to learn all the aspects of your DAW of choice. The best way to do that is to watch a lot of online video courses and tutorials. They also include examples that you can try to replicate while you watch them.

By saying learning to work in DAW, we also mean to get comfortable with using tons of different virtual instruments and effects that work inside of it. If you’re looking for something specific, like equalizing your synths, compressing or adding reverb, then we recommend to watch YouTube videos. There are literally thousands of videos available on the topic.

If you want to gain more systematic knowledge, which will cover the music production from start to finish, then we suggest you subscribe to some of the online video courses. Coursera contains a large collection of courses created by prestigious universities and educational institutions. Surely you can find many courses related to EDM and music production, in general.

Looking for the Perfect Singer?

The vocals play a very important element in a track, if not the most important one. They are what makes music recognizable and memorable. So, if you decide to have singing parts in your EDM creations, then you should know there are many vocal sample packs available online.

Every serious producer has their own large bank of samples. However, if you use samples, make sure you alter them enough to become your original work, using previously described plugins. If you decide to record the vocals on your own, you’ll need an adequate microphone. Rode NT1A, would be a good choice.


The most common effects used for production of vocals are:

The equalizer — used to adjust the balance of frequencies, from the lowest to highest, in order to make the vocal “shine”.

The compressor — crucial for processing EDM vocals. You want your singer to sound consistent and equally loud throughout the song. Compression flattens the signal by making quieter parts louder and vice versa.

Auto-tune — created by Antares Audio Technologies, auto-tune is a very popular tool in this genre. Almost everybody in the music production world uses it for vocal processing to some degree. It corrects the pitch of singing to create that recognizable, artificial sound.

Reverbs, delays — this is where the fun begins! The spatial effects that make your vocals sound bigger and more powerful.

Of course, it is possible to achieve good results in home conditions, too, but nothing is as good as recording and producing vocals in a professional studio. At Supreme Tracks, you have the opportunity to hire top session singers who will turn your vocal ideas into breathtaking tracks. We offer a full range of services to artists worldwide. From writing lyrics and arranging vocal melodies, to recording lead and backing vocals – we got you covered!


Tips for Advanced EDM Production Learners

In order to help those who are a little more versed in this matter, here are some advice regarding using VST or AU plugins. This will also serve as a useful reminder for beginners after they master their first steps.

1. Using an EQ

The general rule for equalizers — and for other effects, in general — is listen carefully and don’t overdo it. If your channel sounds good when you play it solo, doesn’t interfere with other channels in the mix, then it won’t have to be treated with an EQ.

The foundation of EDM is rhythm, so start from there.

  • Use a high-pass filter to achieve clarity on kick drum or bass, by cutting everything below 40-50 Hz — this rule also applies to a whole mix!
  • To emphasize the low-end, make a shelving boost of about 80-100 Hz. This is also a frequency that is important for the bass line, which is why many producers use side-chain compression, so that the bass and kick drum can be heard clearly at the same time.
  • In case your mix sounds too “boomy” or “muddy”, you should consider lowering the range around 200-250 Hz.
  • The range between 300 and 600 Hz can sound a little bit “boxy” if you boost it, so be careful with that.
  • If you want your bass line to stand out, boost its channel around 700-800 Hz.
  • Bringing out the range between 1 and 4 kHz will give presence to your keyboard or synth parts, add clarity to vocals, as well as the higher harmonics of your kick drum and snare.
  • Cutting 5 kHz makes your sounds appear more distant, so it can be useful if you want to achieve that. Boosting this range will make percussive instruments really stand out.
  • When you mix vocals, chances are that, in some stage, you will probably have to cut between 6–8 kHz to reduce sibilance.
  • Everything above 10 kHz adds “air” to your channels or mix.
2. Using Compression

Reducing dynamics (the difference between loud and quiet parts of the track) is probably what you want to achieve with your compressor of choice. After all, it’s one of the main characteristics of EDM production approach. Compressors are widely used on effect chains of individual tracks, and on final mixes during the mastering process.

Be careful with attack and release time. if you set your compressor to attack fast, you will lose some of the transients on your beats. The ratio function serves to apply the amount of compression. For example, if you set it to 4:1, every 4 dB of your signal will be reduced to 1 dB—when the signal reaches above the set threshold.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with the threshold function. If you set it too low, it will cause the “pumping” of your track. But maybe that is what you want to achieve: excessive compression, which was considered undesirable in the past, is now a very popular effect in electronic music.

3. Using Spatial Effects

There are no rigid rules and dogmas when it comes to using reverbs and delays. It’s a matter of your taste. You are the one who gets to decide what kind of “reflection” suits your track the best, but you should always have one thing in mind. The spatial effects are generally inserted at the end of your effect chain (after the compressor and/or equalizer).

Play with the “wet/dry” function to decide how much room, hall or plate reverb you will add to the track.

To create interesting, rhythmic effects using delay, experiment with the tempo function. If your song is 140 RPM, set the half-tempo or maybe double tempo (280 RPM) to see what will happen.

If you are in need of VST and AU plug-in packages, check out Waves or FabFilter (in case you haven’t already).

4. Mixing Your Tracks

Your first EDM creations probably won’t sound as loud, powerful, colorful and crisp as those hits played on dance floors. You need to practice in order to master the art of finding the perfect levels for your beats, basses and synths, especially when you mix at home.

5. Explore Different Options

Another important thing regarding electronic music is experimenting. You will be surprised how much the atmosphere of a song can change with simple edits. Throw in a different kick or snare drum, change the color of the leading theme, or slow down the song’s tempo.

We hope this article helps you learn how to make electronic music and improve your EDM production skills. Let us know your experience in the comments below.

If you prefer that an experienced team of music production services work on producing your EDM track – check out some of the work we’ve done.

How I learned to write dance music and started releasing on labels — Music on DTF

A big story about finding yourself in creativity. With pictures and music.


Hi, I'm Muchkin. I write music. I make money with soundtracks for indie games, and for my soul and career, I also make tracks in the genre of melodic house and techno. About how I came to composing, I wrote in a recent text. Now let me tell you about my path in dance music.

Screenshot of my latest project so far


Somewhere in the ninth grade, I first heard Prodigy - Voodoo People (Pendulum Remix) as part of a mix from DJ Stroitel. I got crazy and started to get interested in drum and bass. I listened to Pendulum, Noisia, Spor, danced drum and bass dance, which we called drumstep.

Then I thought that I also want to write the same energetic cool music with rich drum parts. I had no idea how it was done, and the search led me first to some kind of MIDI editor, in which I made a couple of songs. And then I found FL Studio, a sequencer that I've been using for over a decade.

The first tracks were terrible.

I shared them under a shameful pseudonym on PromoDJ, in an active community of fellow beginners. We intelligently criticized each other's tracks, not knowing anything at all about how music is created. But it's always like that when you start.

I once read the idea that you need to make the first 100 songs as quickly as possible, because after them normal music will follow. In my experience, yes, something like this is

Toward the end of school, a dream began to form in me: I will learn how to make cool music for the university, and by the end of the fourth year I will become, if not a world star, then certainly a professional and respected music producer (a person who earns money by creating and performing electronic music ).


In fact, for four years at university, I basically did only three things: studied (albeit well), played video games and suffered from fears and anxieties. Despite the fact that the dream still lived somewhere on the border of consciousness, and I considered myself a music producer, writing tracks faded into the background.

It wasn't because I was lazy or because I didn't want to make music. Just because I thought of a great success in advance, creativity turned into a hard and painful task. High anxiety, disorders, traumas, and just the peculiarities of the psyche (which I realized only ten years later thanks to psychotherapy) exacerbated the situation.

For example, I wrote this track for a whole year and spent more than hundred hours on it . That was the pace at which I produced finished works at that time.

Funny story. Born in Space found some cunning guy on PromoDJ and wrote me, they say, let's release it on my label. I went nuts from the word "label" and agreed. We even signed some kind of contract through the Proton system. After that, the man disappeared. Until now, the composition can be found on streaming services - he released it ten times, probably, and all under different "labels".

I didn't make a dime from it, of course. I suspect that he is also

Among my other works during this time, one can single out this psychedelic “neurofunk”, in which everything that is possible is not in tonality. When I wrote it, I did not yet know what tonality was.

This was supposed to be an intro for my friend's YouTube show, but it never launched.

At the university, I wrote little music, but this does not mean that I did not develop creatively. I listened and analyzed bass genres a lot and sometimes through suffering I made tracks. Many did not finish. So there was progress, but very slow.

This composition also took about a year and 60-80 hours of work.

My music from this period seems to meet some minimal requirements of the genres (the structure is readable, the sounds are more or less intelligible, the kick and snare give some kind of energy, sometimes there is even a sub-bass), but they are crooked, poorly thought out and uninteresting .

I just used samples, notes and instruments that seemed appropriate and didn't think about the big picture, melody or atmosphere. And, I suspect, for the better. If I had been worried about this as well, then anxiety would have completely crushed me.

By the way, my suffering also had some advantages. From the very beginning of working in FL Studio, I decided that I needed to create all the presets for the synths myself, and so I did. By the time I received my diploma, I had a good knowledge of the standard synths of the program and even a small library of presets.

By the way, about the diploma: I wrote this experimental composition dedicated to a headache closer to the defense, which is symbolic.


After my bachelor's degree, I went to the master's program and at the same time started looking for a job. For a year and a half, I was doing all sorts of small jobs (once I even made the whole foley for a short film). I didn’t do much music, although I was able to complete a couple of projects.

For example, this future beats track inspired by Ivy Lab and Noisia Radio selections.

And an old school drum and bass remix for Dorn (there was a PromoDJ contest).

I was looking for ways to make money on music: I applied to local game and recording studios, I tried my luck in creating beats and stock tracks. In vain. As I studied the market and read the stories of more successful producers, an unbearable, terrible thought formed in my head.

To achieve something, you have to work very hard

That explained a lot.

At the beginning of 2017, I was accepted to DTF. Since childhood, I loved games, I read LKI, the Land of Games and Igromania, so I was very happy with this opportunity.

I was part of the editorial staff for almost two years. At this time it was difficult to find the strength and time for music. I watched tutorials, analyzed other people's tracks, replenished my database of samples and presets, but completed projects during this time can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Weird downtempo project - time.

Dubstep with the voice of YouTuber Jacksepticeye - two.

Gloomy base house - three.

Drum and bass, started back in 2016, four.

I tried to send each of these tracks to labels, but they were not taken anywhere. I was surprised: how is it that they have everything. And powerful basses, and cool drums, even some interesting effects. Isn't that enough?

Oh, how little I understood.


In the spring of 2019, I started building a career as an indie game composer. A few months later, this occupation even began to bring in some money and soon became the main one for me. (You can read about this path here.)

I found a way to make money with music and immersed myself in creativity. A little bit not the direction that I dreamed of, but still it was progress. Working on the soundtracks, I learned to feel the music better, learned new techniques and added to my own libraries even more.

As for dance tracks, at the end of 2019, aggressive and fast base house was popular, and I tried to sit on this hype train.

But no labels took the track, so I released it myself through distributor DistroKid. It was my first "adult" release - the one that appeared on streaming services. So far, I have earned exactly $0.03 on it. That's 17 auditions.

Back in the beginning of 2020, I made time for the LEAVEMEALONE halftime track.

The flops over the past couple of years made me wonder: what is wrong with my music? Why doesn't anyone want to take it? Reflection and reflection led me to an important conclusion: in the first place, I do not make the music that I really want.

I became interested in making music thanks to drum and bass, then I started listening to dubstep and electro house, and for some reason I always felt that these genres were what I needed to work on. But as soon as I listened to myself a little (which I had never done before), it turned out that I had nothing to express through bass music.

Therefore, I spent the following months looking for genres that would most accurately reflect my inner state. They were melodic house and techno.

Brute force

Since April 2020, I have decided to get into dance music properly. Since I used to be able to create compositions only through force, I came up with a challenge for myself: to finish one track every month.

The logic was like this. By forcing myself to work on dance compositions month after month, sooner or later I had to develop all the necessary skills needed to create cool music.

I was going to basically brute force my creative powers

The first track turned out to be clumsy. The mixing is murky, there is not much development, both drops are arranged as if it were a summer banger, although a soulful melodic techno was conceived. But for starters, it will.

This track (and several others) I released again via DistroKid. Even tried to buy ads for him through Facebook. There were still few auditions (39 to date), but I was resentful of the label system after so many rejections and was determined to make a name for myself.

The next composition in May, Pasturage, was much softer. Birds, forest, nice sound design and summer rain atmosphere.

For this track, I also purchased advertising. This time I set up the ad better and invested more money, so the output was more tangible. Now he has 138 plays.

The June track Arcane turned out to be mysterious and attractive, like a Celtic forest. Hence the name.

I did not commission advertising for him, because the determination to promote myself in the music industry began to fade. I didn’t pour so much money into advertising tracks, but there was no more extra money.

The conclusion was that you can break through on your own only in two cases: if you have a lot of money for advertising (I didn’t), or if you know how to do cool PR in social networks (I didn’t know how). So I started looking towards

labels again.

Arcane was not taken to the labels (I did not even hope), but they took Autarca - the July track. Here's a snippet of it, and you can listen to it in full here.

It was released as a compilation on the sub-label of a small St. Petersburg publishing house Polyptych. I knew perfectly well that this would not bring me any money or popularity, but I signed the contract anyway. You have to start somewhere.

The next track was a bit hooligan Help a Robot. I didn't send it anywhere, because big labels wouldn't take it, and it was long and tedious to look for small labels with such music. How do you even google them? "Labels with frivolous electro-house"?

In autumn I decided to make a three-track mini-album. For some reason it seemed to me that labels were more willing to take EPs than singles.

Even by this moment I had heard a lot of music in the selected genres and realized that in melodic house and techno, few people make tracks shorter than six minutes. So from now on, all my new compositions slowly fade in and out.

In general, the music has become less hasty and more conducive to immersion and thoughtful listening

As you might expect, my plan to boost my chances with labels with the EP didn't work out very well. The release was eventually taken to the same Polyptych Limited (it will be released on July 5), but I was hoping for something bigger.

In December I finished the new track Rewired and decided to take a break. Working non-stop for nine months (and I also did soundtracks) without tangible results led to the fact that I just burned out.

Rest helped me rethink my priorities and figure out which way to go. I stopped caring too much about labels and started focusing more on creativity and self-expression. Plus, psychotherapy helped (and still helps) to listen to yourself better.

Rewired was included in the compilation for the Moscow label ONESUN (will be released sort of like in the summer).


I wrote the next composition at a more relaxed pace: burnout forced me to abandon the "one track per month" mode. Simultaneously with the work on the track, I was doing research. He carefully studied music in the chosen genres, pestered successful producers with questions, whom he could reach.

The result was the biggest takeaway of all time: major labels need unique music first and foremost. One that has not yet been

Within the genre, of course, although the boundaries between melodic house and techno are blurred.

How to achieve uniqueness? For me, the answer is simple: it comes from the uniqueness of the psyche. If you learn to listen well and express yourself adequately, then creativity will be unique. Therefore, when creating Bird Law in January 2020, I tried to listen as often as possible to what melodies, sounds, effects and just decisions resonate with me.

This track doesn't just meet some technical requirements, it's undeniably my . For example, the title is taken from a comic book that I really like.

It's the law

And the theme of birds in it is not only because of the name, but also because these animals (but not all) touch me and my wife very much. And also partly a track about the love that I feel for my wife, and this has something in common with the comic book. In general, a warm work about good things. The ones in me.

I don't know how noticeable this is to an outside listener, but I see a massive improvement over the previous compositions. He was even taken to a more serious label - the Italian Natura Viva. They promised to release it as part of a compilation. I don't know when exactly: for some reason, labels rarely notify me about such things, and I myself don't really care. I'm more focused on future works.

The last track so far is called You're Not What Your Mind Tells You. It's about my many battles with my own brain. It's a little sad, but with a light undertone, because no matter how scary the battles are, there's always a way to win. At least I can.

The other day I signed him to the Belgian label Sound Avenue. It will first be released exclusively on Spotify to try and push it into the platform's playlists, and will be released as part of a sub-label compilation in August.

After You're Not What Your Mind Tells You, I again rethought my creative process. Now I try to treat music less as a series of separate projects and more just as a field for experiments, from which cool completed projects will grow. Let's see where this takes me.

Such things. Thanks for reading. By the way, I will soon launch a course on creating electronic music from scratch. If interested, you can read the details here.

If you like my music, you can subscribe to Soundcloud, YouTube or Spotify. All my future tracks will appear there as well. Also here are my social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch.

6 Fixes for Rescuing a Dance

Laura Riva, Canada

There are a number of bad habits or faults on the dance floor. With some there is nothing to be done during the dance - for example, with poor hygiene. Sometimes our main concern is to keep ourselves safe while dancing with a dangerous partner. However, we have compiled here a list of the most common dance floor complaints and ways to make dancing more enjoyable.

1. Does not count. Well, here's "1".

Feeling: "Beat. There he is. How can you not hear him? Only I can hear him."

Score: Yes, that's probably the only thing you hear at the moment... But unless you have superpowers, you won't teach your partner to hear a beat in the next 3 minutes. If the partner is slightly out of rhythm, then you can correct this a little by slowing down or speeding up your own step - and thereby returning the partner to the beat. If he really doesn't hear the beat and rhythm at all, then you don't have much of an opportunity to fix it somehow.


Strategy 1 : Find something in the music other than the beat to dance to. Interpret something else in the music.

  • If your partner doesn't hit the beat, try slowing down or adding interesting accents to the highlights of the track.

  • If your partner can't hear the beat at all, use the moments you get out of the spins and open to the side to hit the beat.

Strategy 2: If the partner and the music are not related at all, ignore the music. Concentrate fully on your partner. Try to find something unusual in his dance to work out the connection or some new cool things for you. Consider a beat-deaf partner as an opportunity to practice the instant lead-follow response. Sometimes such a partner can quickly pick up your sensitive connection and use it in a new way to compensate for the lack of a discernible bit.

2a. Unruly partner. "I didn't lead it."

Feeling: "Hey. You're already there. How did you get there? I wouldn't recommend doing that. Do you think that's style? No, I didn't lead you into style."

Rating: Well, she will still continue to do what she wants. She may even think that she is being led. Perhaps someone taught her that from a given entry into a movement, there is only such an exit. Whatever the reason, it will be easier to adapt to your partner than to fight her and try to subdue her.

How to correct:

If she goes somewhere, let her go. Follow her. Does she move herself? Excellent. Challenge yourself and turn it into something creative. She definitely had an idea. Who knows? It can open up a whole new movement for you that you never thought of before.

2b. Show off partner. "Hey, I'm here too!"

Feeling: "Uhhh. I'm here too. Great. Yeah. Okay. You can do 5 rotations. I can too, but you're clearly spending more time on your cool look than on attention to it." , what I feel".

Rating: If your partner is showing off, then you can easily afford to do the same. Be funny, goofy, sexy, or completely ethereal. Choose.

How to fix:

If you match his energy, it can return his attention to you. Sometimes this will work and he will see that he has a partner who wants to share the spotlight with him. If not, just kill it. Dance the way you feel and let that person do their own dance next to you.

3. Does not fit musical accents. "Don't you hear this beautiful song?"

Feeling: "Oh my god. I love this song so much. It's awesome. And you don't pay any attention to it. Ups and downs... accents... they just... pass by ! It's like a river full of fish, and I'm sitting with a fishing rod, but someone forgot to put the bait on the hook."

Rating: As with missing the beat, it's unlikely you'll be able to fix this situation for the next song. But that doesn't mean you don't have the opportunity to express your own musicality.

How to fix:

Other than super close hugs, you most likely have a free body part. Use her. Free leg? Make a flick. Hand? Use it somehow. And what about the head? And the wave with the body? Swing or slide your foot? Shoulder work? Hips? The possibilities are endless. Stop focusing on your partner's shortcomings and focus on what you can do yourself to better feel the music.

4. Limited repertoire. "Are we doing it again ?"

Feeling: "OK. I tried to do something new. You don't understand what I'm getting at. I'm so bored doing all these basic moves."
Or : "Arrr. Can you take me to anything else? We've done the same move about 20 times already. I want something new. And harder."

Rating: Patience will be your virtue. They won't learn anything new right now at a party. In addition, these are often the people who need the most support and encouragement, because they are inexperienced beginners and try their best to do everything right.

How to fix:

Take your base and give it a twist. Partners, try to add style. Play with isolation. Look for opportunities to express yourself in simple movements. Practice the technique. Partners, find new ways to create your movements while respecting your partner's abilities. You can add a twist or footwork to yourself. Work on technique and frame. These dancers can make great practice partners if you give them the opportunity.

5. Bad connection. Part 1: Where is my partner? This dancer is invisible I know this because I don't feel anything from them, and they don't respond to any direction I give. If I hadn't seen them, I would have thought I was dancing with emptiness."

Rating: Yes, connection (more precisely its absence) is a problem. Create more contact!

How to fix:

Try a closer hug or position with body contact. The more points of contact you can establish, the more you will be able to do something with this type of partner. Make your frame tighter. If necessary, leave your habitual notion of "dancing" and allow yourself to simply move with the person.

6. Bad connection. Part 2: TOO MUCH PARTNER!!!

Feeling: "Too much power! You don't have to put in that much effort to make this move. Seriously. Wow, damn it!"

Rating: The main need is to make sure that you are not dragged around the dance floor. Try to soften what is happening.

How to correct:

If you are a partner, slow down. This will help calm your partner. If she also makes a gag, use the tips from point 2. Close hugs will also help soften your partner. Both for the partner and for the partner it is necessary to relax the muscles of the hands (biceps and brachioradialis (forearm)) . Stay relaxed, but keep your body. Do not try to lead or follow at full strength, this can be dangerous. Soften the dance by reducing the force of the contact. If necessary, dance as you see fit, and do not perform too hard, abrupt and dangerous movements.


Your partner is also a person. And you may even be one of his favorite partners. Be kind. Some of these dancers may try very hard to correct their shortcomings. Some of them are still beginners.

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