What did I learn?
Groove. Shifting some notes slightly off grid and using the Groove Templates give the tune more of an organic, human feel and something to offset the general rigidity of most electronic dance music.
Don’t kill transients. Over the past few years I have watched many hours of tutorials on mixdown techniques. In the hunt for a louder final result, I understood you had to remove any transient hits and peaks in order to have a louder average (RMS) on each channel. What I didn’t consider was actually using my ears to see how it was effecting the sound, I was too caught up in using my eyes on smexoscope. My drum bus was set up just like one in one of the videos but I twigged while making this tune that I was taking away way too much of the drum transients and therefore killing any punch they originally had. The take away on this point is to think about why you are using each plug in and what you are aiming to achieve.
Workflow. In the days leading up to this creation, I made a rough list of what I needed to do (a rough to-do list I could use for each tune I make). It helped immensely as at each stage, I knew what needed to be done next.
Don’t over complicate it. Just get the basics done well. Don’t worry about micro editing and details until you have the core elements sounding good.
Use colours. Staring at a screen for hours on end can and does get tedious so injecting a bit of life into Ableton’s default grey screen (I know there are other colour schemes but most are garish) does make it more appealing. It also helps to colour the tracks in terms of groups so you can quickly identify where you need to edit.
What do I need to work on?
Arrangement. After filling out the main 16 bar loop, I tend to struggle to keep the middle section interesting. I’ve spent a while studying other tracks for inspiration but I think it is best to try and work it out yourself. A producer called Zencha calls this ‘Arrangement Nirvana’ in that there are no rules and you are free to do what you like.
‘Bleeders’ as I call them. Essentially automating reverb and delay sends at the end of 16 bar phrases to bleed some elements over into the next section of the track. The aim is to make the transition less abrupt and I think a tweak of my template alongside a bit of practice will help.