How to make dance music

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 to Make Electronic Dance Music (EDM) – Berklee Online Take Note

Electronic dance music (EDM) is currently one of the hottest genres in popular music. From underground dance music to the global success of chart-topping electronic music producers like Calvin Harris, Skrillex, and Tiesto, the scene is growing. 

Because of this explosion in popularity, there is an endless list of sub-genres in the field. Not to mention, a variety of tools and technology you can use to create the beats, sounds, and arrangements electronically. However, to become an electronic music producer, you have to be dedicated to your craft.

Whether you’ve already created a few tracks or are simply considering getting into the genre, here’s what you need to know about becoming a successful electronic dance music producer.

How to Start Producing EDM
  • Research different EDM artists. It’s always a good idea to explore what’s out there before forging ahead. Find what speaks to you.
  • Consider what genre of electronic music you want to produce. You could pursue house, trap, ambient, dubstep, or create your own thing.
  • Choose and learn a DAW. A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is the software application you’ll use to produce, edit, and record your music. Berklee Online offers a robust music production curriculum, with DAW-specific courses available. Some of the most popular include Logic Pro, Cubase, Pro Tools, and Ableton Live.
  • Start experimenting! Take the tools you’ve acquired and make things happen. You’ll likely feel frustrated along the way, but embrace it and keep trying new sounds and arrangements until you get comfortable with the software and process.

This first stage is all about start soaking up knowledge, mastering skills, and seeing the progress. Once you’ve found your favorite DAW and are getting the hang of how things work, the EDM world is your oyster.

Music Concepts You Need to Know to Make EDM

With electronic music, there are three key fundamental areas you should focus on.

  • Music Theory. You may think that music theory doesn’t apply in electronic music production. But the genre is still a compilation of sounds and rhythms and relies on the same basic musical concepts.
  • Arrangement. Once you’ve covered the basics there, you can move onto structure and arrangement. That way, you can take a short musical run and expand it into a full-length song. There are courses specifically designed for structure and arrangement in electronic music composition, including the Berklee Online courses Composing and Producing Electronic Music 1 and 2 and Keyboard for the Electronic Musician.
  • Mixing. The final key area you need to understand is mixing. There are courses to help you master this concept as well, including the Berklee Online courses Mixing and Mastering for the Electronic Musician and Sound Design for the Electronic Musician. By learning the basics of digital audio and mixing best practices, you’ll figure out how to put your ideas together and come out on the other side with something you’re excited to present.

Becoming an electronic dance music producer takes hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Following this career path means you’ll be constantly learning about new techniques, so don’t be too hard on yourself as you evolve as both a producer and musician.

Improve, Connect, Repeat

You’ve learned the software, you’ve learned how to mix properly, and you have a few tracks ready to be released into the world. What are you waiting for?

Whether you’re releasing your music on SoundCloud or YouTube, it’s important to get feedback. It’s a daunting and vulnerable part of the process, but it’s essential if you want to grow. Send your tracks to friends as well as other electronic music producers in the industry to identify your weak points.

While you’re doing that, make connections with others in the industry and build relationships. You never know what opportunities will arise down the road. When you network with other electronic music producers, you meet potential collaborators and learn from other artists above your skill level.

At the end of the day, you have to stay passionate about the genre and excited to absorb new information every step of the way. With a solid foundation, you’ll become a master electronic music producer and continue to innovate as you create a career in EDM.

Become a better electronic music producer with Berklee! Explore our offerings:

  • Bachelor of Professional Studies in Electronic Music Production and Sound Design
  • Bachelor of Professional Studies in Music Production
  • Master of Music in Music Production
  • Electronic Music Production and Sound Design Advanced Professional Certificate
  • Composing and Producing Electronic Music Professional Certificate
  • Sampling and Sound Design for Electronic Music Professional Certificate

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. nine0003

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

nine0002 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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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.

nine0002 Composing

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. nine0003

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.

nine0002 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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

I don't know how noticeable this is to the 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 is a little sad, but with a light undertone, because no matter how scary the battles are, there is always a possibility to win. At least I can. nine0003

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. nine0003

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.

EDM Mixing: The Complete Guide

Making electronic music is a delicate art in many ways. However, you won't be able to achieve a great sounding track without learning how to properly mix electronic dance music. The genre has many key characteristics that give EDM its cardinal sound, and without understanding these aspects, it's hard to create a professional-sounding mix. nine0003

Below, we'll cover everything you need to know about mixing electronic dance music so you can create bangs from the comfort of your home. Let's dive into it!

What defines EDM?

EDM or Electronic Dance Music is a genre that continues to evolve today. In its simplest form, EDM refers to any electronic music that relies more on samples and synthesized virtual instruments than live recordings.

The early days of electronic music can be traced back to genres such as disco or Detroit techno. The emergence of more electronic instruments such as drum machines, mass-produced synthesizers and samplers. Listen to this techno classic:

As you can see, the birth of techno music as we know it sounds very different from what we might consider "techno" today. Of course, techno is just a subgenre of electronic music, but it's true that digital audio continues to evolve and evolve as our musical tastes change.

There are a few things that define the genre today that need to be kept in mind when recording, producing and mixing EDM:

Heavy bass.

One of the most enduring characteristics of electronic music is the presence of a strong sub-bass and bass track. The sub-bass is usually cut in mono as it is meant to be played on club speakers that model this audio experience. The bass tracks of EDM music are so deep that you can sometimes feel the lower sounds of the frequency spectrum in your chest.

Powerful drums.

Although EDM songs may use a drum loop or two, the drum parts are not weak. The most important sound parts in electronic songs are drums and bass. This is because these rhythm sections help drive the characteristic "dance" sounds that the genre is known for. It's common to see classic drum patterns like "4 on the floor" that emphasize beats 2 and 4.

"A drop".

Much of the magic of EDM music lies in the tension and release created by the presence of a drop. Talented producers know how to create and transfer energy throughout the track, which is one of the main reasons why listeners return to this genre again and again. To create that punch or climax, EDM music uses a variety of automation, dynamics, and filters to weave elements into a well-balanced mix. nine0003

Typically at a constant and higher BPM level.

In order to increase danceability, EDM music is usually played at a higher BPM or tempo. The BPM of electronic music is usually set at 120 or higher, although there are exceptions to this rule. EDM tracks usually stay in constant rhythm throughout track, although EDM producers can create tension after chorus , adding additional sounds to the mix to further separate the drum section. nine0003

They are intended for "dance" settings.

EDM music originated in the club scene, so it's no surprise that it's danceable at its core. While there are many different types of EDM music, you can dance to almost any electronic sound, whether the song is happy or sad. See how EDM has changed over the years:

EDM mixing starts with the recording process

It's true that there aren't as many elements recorded live in EDM as there are in other genres. However, this means that the elements you record (usually the vocals) stand out much more. As with any genre, it's undeniable that creating music that sounds great starts with attention to detail during the recording phase. Here are just a few basic principles to keep in mind, but you can read our complete guide for a more complete overview. nine0003

Check your notes before moving on.

I can't tell you how many times a song has been doomed from the start due to poor recording. It's important to check your recordings and sound design before moving on, as the recording stage is fundamental to the mixing and mastering process. Check the recording on studio monitors, headphones and laptop speakers. If you're not sure the vocals sound good, record them again.

Choose patterns that go well with each other. nine0225

Remember that each sample you choose should be considered as part of a single whole. For example, you might want to choose a kick drum that works well with the bass. You can find a few samples that sound good on their own, but if they don't work in context with the rest of your mix, don't waste your time on them.

Find the right microphone for your vocalist.

Vocal recording is an art in itself. There aren't many recorded elements in EDM, which makes vocal recording even more important. Vocals will naturally stand out from the rest of your song, so you'll want to make sure they stand out for good reason. nine0003

Great vocal recordings start with choosing the right microphone for your vocalist. As a rule, a condenser microphone is used for pop or electronic vocals. These delicate mics tend to have a brighter sound, sometimes boosting the high frequencies. For harder vocals, a more stable dynamic microphone may be suitable, while for others, a thin but stable ribbon microphone may be appropriate.

Whichever microphone you choose, be sure to consider the proximity effect. This principle states that the closer the vocalist is to the microphone, the darker the vocals will sound. It will also sound louder. You have to be careful because EDM relies on the purity of the bass. nine0003

Tune with the vocalist audio interface to the optimum recording level for clean, clear vocals. Your vocalist may prefer to work with a dry signal or on a wet track, but be sure to test dry vocals before you start mixing.

Improve your production before you move on to mixing

As any mastering engineer will tell you, a great master starts with a strong mix. Want to know where a strong mix starts? From a properly produced track. Before you even think about mixing music, start with production improvement . Here are a few basic principles to keep in mind before jumping into the mix. nine0003

Keep your paths organized and symbiotic.

You can have many tracks, but only a few elements should stand out in your mix. When producing, ask yourself if every sound you add actually improves the overall mix. If not, then it's time to cut it out. It can be hard for new producers to let go of sounds they've invested a lot of time into, but seasoned engineers and producers know it's just another standard part of the process. nine0003

While EDM projects tend to have more tracks than other genres of music, you'll notice that many of your layers still serve to enhance the depth of a few key parts. Your session may have more than a hundred tracks, but most of them may be parts of the main melody, drums or bass section. One of the most important mixing and mixing tips is that each sonic element should serve to complete the sound of the entire mix. nine0003

The main thing is to save energy.

Because EDM music is about dancing, it's important to keep the energy going throughout the track. While you want to create a consistent vibe throughout the track, you still want to keep the listener hooked by making your melodies fun.

It could be changing the drum pattern every couple of bars, using automation, or creating tension for your big "fall". Whatever it is, make sure you don't get lazy in your production. Even if it's subtle, small changes throughout a song can make a huge difference to an entire project. nine0003

Use your favorite songs as inspiration.

There is nothing wrong with standing on the shoulders of giants, so to speak, to justify your next creative decision. Reference tracks are useful for more than just mixing. They are also incredibly helpful during the writing and production phase. For example, you can define the structure of your song by modeling it on one of your favorite EDM tracks.

You can also notice how the dynamics change throughout the track and apply it to your own project. While you never want to copy artists' work, using them as rough inspiration can make it much easier to make informed creative decisions while you're still figuring out your original sound. nine0003

Focus on falling.

EDM music is not the same without a strong drop. Drop" usually refers to the chorus of an electronic track, which may or may not include vocals. To create a strong drop, try to create tension in the chorus and couplet .

You can create dynamic contrast between chorus and verse by changing the volume, using parallel processing, or trying out a new sonic element in the chorus. In EDM music, tempo building is paramount, so make sure you give the drop the attention it deserves. nine0003

How to mix EDM

Without further ado, here is our complete guide on how to mix EDM. Keep in mind that there is no one right way to mix music, so one mixing engineer must have a different sound design strategy than another.

This guide should only serve as a blueprint for creating your own tracks in the EDM space, but don't let these loose guidelines limit your creativity.

  1. Find a suitable reference track. nine0304
  2. Start with faders.
  3. Create clear and expressive low frequencies.
  4. Remove what you don't need.
  5. Work on the relationship between drums and bass.
  6. Stack the layers.
  7. Create contrast with dynamics and stereo imaging.
  8. Compression is your best friend.
  9. Use FX and silence to your advantage.
  10. Test your mixture under various conditions. nine0304
  11. Check your mixture after the break.
  12. Create multiple mixes if necessary.

Find a suitable reference track.

New producers often neglect to find the right reference track for their mixes. Reference tracks are important for all genres as they give us audible clues about how certain sounds should be balanced in the mix. Whether you're using one or more reference tracks, it's wise to place these audio files directly into your mix so you can hear them properly through your DAW . nine0003

Listen to your reference track to answer any questions you may have during the mixing process. Not sure if your kick is too loud against the bass? Can't figure out if you need to push the vocals more forward in the mix? Check your reference(s).

Even the most professional mixing engineers use this technique to creating the purest mix possible . Cross-check your mixes with some of your favorite tunes and you'll start to see the best way to quickly improve your tunes. nine0003

Start with faders.

A good mix starts with a good balance. This means that one of your most powerful tools is just the volume. This is why many mixing engineers start by changing the volume or adjusting amplification before proceeding to any other element of the track.

You'll be surprised how different your mix can sound if you experiment with volume changes alone. Generally speaking, the sound elements you want to highlight should be louder than other sounds in the mix. However, you don't want your mix to peak above -6 dB. This is because you want to give your mastering engineer enough headroom to properly compress the final mix. nine0003

In many cases, you may have 1-2 sound elements that stand out from the rest of the soundscape. Keep in mind that high frequencies are easier to hear, so they may not need to be boosted as much as lower or mid-range sounds. Make sure you are mixing without plugins on the master channel to get an accurate representation of your track.

Create clear and expressive low frequencies.

In EDM music, low frequencies are especially important. Therefore, it is customary to "divide the bass", so to speak, into parts. In this process, you create bass using two or more different tracks. The lowest track, usually somewhere below 100Hz, uses a pure sine wave or sawtooth wave, and the bass above is cut off by a high pass filter below 100Hz. nine0003

This way, your sub frequencies will be very clean, which will help keep the low frequencies tight and punchy. Also, club systems reproduce these ultra-low frequencies in mono anyway, so there is no need to select the sound to be distributed to the stereo field.

Remove what you don't need.

Many producers focus so much on adding new sounds to the mix that they forget the importance of removing unwanted parts. Once you've cleared out any unnecessary tracks, you may need to cut the frequencies to make room for your main parts, such as the drums or bass section. nine0003

For example, you can use high pass filter , like this one in Ableton Live, to cut low frequencies in tracks that might not need it, like vocals or hi-hats:

Work on the relationship between drums and bass.

Drums, especially the kick drum, are one of the most driving forces in an EDM track. Often in EDM music, the bass track is connected to a kick drum or snare with a side chain. Side chain compression mutes or compresses a sound in relation to another. Thus, whenever a beat is present, the bass is lowered to make room for the beat, which occupies a similar frequency space. nine0003

However, sidechain compression is not the only way to work on this coveted connection. Using high pass filters to boost low frequencies is also a great way to create room for drums and bass. Just remember that these two sonic elements are vital to creating a groove, so they should be one of your top sonic priorities.

Stack the layers.

All elements of your song should work in tandem to create a clear, complete mix. Several sounds can make up the body of one sound idea. For example, your main synth line may consist of several synths, each occupying a different portion of the frequency spectrum. When in doubt, use a spectrum analyzer to see which parts of the mix need more help. Create coherent layers to add depth to your mix rather than adding as many different parts as you can think of. nine0003

Create contrast with dynamics and stereo imaging.

EDM music uses a variety of volume and filter automation to create a more dynamic listening experience. You can use simple tools like volume automation to create contrast between the verse and the chorus of a song.

Playing with panning different sound elements can also help your song expand. In any case, it is very important to create a contrast: You don't want your song to seem very extended forward, then very wide throughout the track. It may make sense to switch between different sounds as you move from one section to another, such as between a verse and a chorus. nine0003

If you're not sure how to make it interesting, listen to a few of your favorite songs. There are many ways to create contrast and keep the listener's interest throughout the mix. Think of your sounds as living, breathing compositions. The dynamics of the track will make it much more enjoyable to listen to, even if you use the same chord progression , bass line and drum sounds.

Compression is your best friend. nine0225

You need to be careful not to over-compress, but compression can often be the glue you need to hold separate parts together. Compression works by reducing dynamic range between two sounds , or makes the loudest sounds quieter, and increases the perceived loudness of the lowest sounds.

EDM is known for using tons of compression in the mix, but using too much of it can lead to a lifeless mix. One of the best ways to deal with this is parallel processing: In this method, the original dry signal is mixed with the processed, compressed signal. This way you get some of the preserved dynamics of the original sound and at the same time enjoy some of the processed signal. This method is also known as "New York compression". nine0003

Use FX and silence to your advantage.

Most producers know that FX is an important part of creating build-up in EDM tracks, but don't forget the importance of silence in your songs. Silence itself is a tool. Just look how much more impressive the drop of this song is Death by Techno with silence set directly in front of it:

EDM also uses a lot of FX like risers and downlifters to create excitement throughout the track. Think about the importance of white noise when mixing and mastering your electronic track. nine0003

Test your mixture under various conditions.

Testing your mix on different systems is important for any genre of music, but it's especially true for bass-heavy genres like EDM. You'll want to create the best version of your mix in your own room, but it's important to test your mix in a variety of sonic environments before settling on your final mix.

You should test your sound on studio monitors, car speakers, laptop speakers. Basically on any playback devices you can find to check the true stereo image of your track. Sound behaves differently in different environments, so any problems that arise when mixing in different playback environments should be reconsidered. It's especially important to test your mix with both stereo and mono outputs to reduce the chance of phase distortion. nine0003

Check your mixture after the break.

Sometimes the best way to improve your mix is ​​to let it rest. All engineers must consider ear fatigue: Unfortunately, our ears naturally become accustomed to a particular sound after repeated listening. While you can generally trust your ears when mixing, you need to keep this in mind.

Get enough sleep before mixing the final mix. Even the best engineers sometimes wake up with surprisingly bad mixes, so don't despair. Get in the habit of letting your track breathe before finishing. Sometimes time is your main resource when it comes to polished audio. nine0003

Create multiple mixes if necessary.

Multiple mixes can be useful for creating different sound variations for your listeners.

Learn more