Introducing „Advice“, a weekly knowledge exchange. Daniel Lesden shares his expertise on such topics as music production, DJing, management, marketing in terms of music industry and beyond. Send your question to get an advice. The answers are posted weekly on Wednesdays.
a lot of forums, tutorials and courses out there recommend learning by using reference tracks, deconstructing arrangements and rebuilding sounds/presets. This sounds fine in principle, but in practice, I can’t help wondering if this has also created a lot of lot of similar sounding music on Beatport, across all genres. It may take longer and be more challenging to not use any form of reference but do you think that ultimately, it will lead the producer (over months and years) to more authentic results?
What do you need to do if you finished a few tracks and want to play them as a live act? I watched some videos but I only saw people launching a few clips in Ableton but I don’t understand how to play for example an hour long live act with many of your tracks. How to prepare your tracks? Chopping into kick, bass, leads etc? What about the arrangement?
Can you give some advice on using these effects and answer some specific questions? Which devices do you use with what settings, do you use them on a send or on each channel, do you ever use reverb on kick or bass, do you ever use reverb on the master, any other tricks or general advice?
This question is the biggest problem for me when producing psytrance music, how do I make my kick and bass fit together? I have a decent bassline but it really seems to go along the kick, I have used an entire kick sample pack and no one make sense together with the bass, is it the EQ, comp? The initial attack freq?
Hi Daniel. I’m learning audio engineering and I would like to offer mastering services. My question may sound odd for your blog, but how do I get clients? Maybe you have some advice from the producer’s perspective and your experience in social media and all? How do you find mastering engineers as an artist? Is it worth setting up a Facebook ad campaign or Google AdWords?
Hi Daniel, I inspired a lot by many music producers and thinking to start a music career too, but my day-job is holding me back. Should I quit? I have some savings which would allow me to sustain life for a bit, not much but I guess half a year or so. Do you think it’ll be enough to make an album and make some progression?
Do you think it’s worth to sign a track on a compilation? I’ve got a message from one particular label that interesting in signing me up, they said they’ll do the mastering and stuff but I’m not sure whether I want it in the first place because that compilation seems to be a multi-genre medley. Perhaps you have some experience releasing on compilations?
Hi Daniel, as far as I’m aware you are using Xone K2 controller. How did you control Beat Repeat when played a set at PDJ TV (at 0:37 sec)? It seems that you turning on and controlling the repeat value by a single rotary knob, but I can’t figure out how to map it that way.
Hello Daniel, my name is George and I deal with music production the last 2,5-3 years. The DAW that I use is Ableton. It would be my pleasure if you hear a track that I have in process and tell me how it sounds based on my knowledge and your experience of course. I really hope to enjoy it.
Hey Daniel, I'd like to share my ongoing project though a lot of work needs to be done, the track is in F# and somehow I don't like how the kick and bass sound together. Also if you could give me insights about the overall arrangement so far and the mix, I think something is missing for that drive in the track. Feedback would be appreciated. Cheers!
As a music producer, I feel like I have too many things to do, production, promotion etc. I work like 16 hours a day and still feel behind, the world is just moving too fast! How to not being mentally exhausted in the pursuit of happiness?
A year ago I released a track on the label. Today I've checked my Beatport artist profile out of curious and noticed that this release appeared on a different label without my consent. I'm pretty confused, is it a normal situation? Isn't label needs artist's consent for this?
Hey Daniel, I've always wondered how does well-known psy-producers (such as yourself) create atmospheric SFX? This also includes complex zaps, squelches, just the overall SFX that you often hear in today's psy-trance. How is it made? Do you make it from scratch? Or use samples? Thanks :)
Hi Daniel, I'm a Psytrance producer from Belarus. I just starting out and would like to release my music, but don't have enough tracks yet. When releasing on a label, should I deliver an entire album at once or just a single track will be fine?
I have a track that I think is great and I want to get it out there and played by DJs as soon as possible. Do I go the self published route, set up a label, etc. and release on Bandcamp, or wherever, or send it to lables? What are the pro's and cons of each approach? How do I find the right label, especially if none are releasing quite the same style as my track?
Hey Daniel, I would like to ask for an advice about the following thing... Do you maybe have any tips or tricks to tune FX samples? I still got a big problem to fit in some sound samples I would like to use in my track, because they don't sound perfectly harmonic to the rest of the track. I try to tune them as good as possible with pitch or EQ but sometimes I just don't get to the point where I'm happy with it.. Maybe you got some useful advices for me :)
How do producers get the punchy attack on a bassline? No matter what I try, mine always seem to lack the initial punch of tracks such as Major7 & Vertical Mode — „Majormode“ or Helber Gun — „Enlight“. Is it layers? Is it EQ? Is it a specific VST? Is it just down to ADSR envolopes and filters? I'd love to know how to get that sound with either Spire, Sylenth, Hive or Serum.
Hi Daniel, I was wondering how do you create the melodic/mystical female vocal effect in your music. What kind of acapella loops do you use or do you get it recorded from a singer? Are there any specific loops to buy? I've tried gating and pitching up or down a few vocal samples but I am not satisfied with the way it sounds. Any insight on the topic would be useful. Thanks a lot.
Hi Daniel. I follow your advice about harmonic mixes and it helps a lot. I have a quick question: how would you mix two tracks if they share the similar feeling and you really want to put them in a set, but they have different harmonic keys? Would you sacrifice harmonic mixing to keep the vibe going?
When you send a finished track to a label, would you mix and master yourself, or would they prefer to have all the individual tracks and mix it themselves? And do most labels have an in-house mastering engineer who would master the track?
Your previous 'advice' is completely out of context for the average bedroom producer. Not everyone has money to waste on douche bags calling themselves graphic designers. When in truth you can learn all these things & have thousands on dollars left in your pocket.
I have read advice that you should have a mastering plugin, e.g. iZotope Ozone, on your master bus while writing and mixing so that you are hearing a more finished sound. Would you suggest this, or do you prefer to mix first on a clean bus, then master?
Dear Daniel, you inspire me to produce all the sounds I have in my mind, so I bought Live 9, and I'm at the step to start the learning journey of producing music with it. But I don't know how to start :) Is there a special tutorial about Live you would recommend me, or a good course on the web that for you is a must for whom is willing to learn in a proper and professional way with Live?
Hi Daniel, I have a question from listener's perspective. What's the difference between „versus, &, feat“ and other weird things in the track's name? I mean, if I listening to something like „A vs. B & C feat. D (E Remix)“, and I would like to find similar tracks, which artist should I look into — A, B, C, D, or E? To give a sense of context, here is what I'm talking about: "Liquid Soul vs Zyce ft Solar Kid — We Come In Peace (Talpa Remix)". I hope my questions is not too awkward for your blog :)
Hey, Daniel. Thanks for creating this Advice series. :) My question relates to a track from Leftfield called „Original“. There'a certain sound that comes in at around 1:28, 1:34 and 1:39, but I cannot for the life of me figure what it is. Is it a synth? A pad? I would like to ask if it has a name, and if so, could you show us how one could go about producing the same sound? Thank you. :)
Hey Daniel, thanks for your blog. I'm an up-and-coming producer, and I would like to ask your advice on how to start working with high-grade producers? I'm talking about collaborations, remixes etc. For example, your Rave Podcast show has some fantastic guest mixes from amazing artists, how do you get them?
Hi Daniel, I have read your advice „A website vs. Facebook for musicians“, and I agree that it is good to have your own web space rather than solely rely on social media. I'm music producer too, by the way. I'm thinking to make a website now, but what should I put there? News, releases? Or just a logo and social buttons, like many other producers do? Any advice would be appreciated.
Hi Daniel, do you have any advice on working a from 9-6 everyday then re-energizing for producing when you get home? I'm finding it difficult without tiring myself up as I have to be in bed at 10 to get my full nights sleep.
I would like to have advice on correct equalization of a bassline, for example I have a bass in E-minor, consisting of two sounds from Trillian, which would be the low-middle and other sound top with a small noise Lo-Fi type, and I would like to know how to properly equalizes the low-medium hand, in the lower-middle and cut with a low-Pass 12dB at 30Hz part and a Hi-pass above 800Hz. Around 82.4hz I enhanced a little with a narrow Q and reduced frequency around 164.8hz with a narrow Q, and really sounds good but I facinaria know if I'm actually doing the right thing.
This is a broadly discussed topic like — making melodies for psy trance. What advice would u give, how to go about on them and how to make them especially if one is not theoretically really equipped in music? I mean, whenever I making a lead I get stuck with patterns. If a track is in „G“ for example, I start my lead with the „G“ on the piano roll and try different notes, but somehow they don't really sound good to me, so I have to add something like an arp to get some variations. Thanks!
Hey Daniel, hope u good. Im producing since 3 years ago and recently I found inspiration on Zen Mechanics music or Symbolic, i love that kind of snares and I wanted to ask u if u know how to do them, for example, check the track „Lifeforms & Ace Ventura — Royal Rumble“, I asked to some guys and they told me It's 3 snares in one with eq and compression and shaping. Thanks a lot bro.
Hey Daniel! I have recently started producing and I know it is a long-distant race, but I have come to a point where I am struggling. Lets say I produce track and it sounds good to me, or should I rather say my ears are used to those particular sounds. After sending track sample to few of my more experienced friends to get some feedback I hear always the same answers, like: bassline is too quiet, kick is not loud enough or some sounds are conflicting with each other. I know it takes time and practice to learn, but how or when do I know that it sounds good? Would be great if I could eliminate these mistakes right in the beginning of a producer journey.
Hello Dan, I have a bit of a favour to ask of you. I was hoping you could appraise a track I've been working on. I'm well aware of your JOOF scouting commitments and I don't want to hassle you personally with something like this, however I would like to know from a professional standpoint where this track sits. Here is the track.
Hi Daniel, since you work as an A&R I hope you can answer my questions. Some time ago I signed my debut release on a label, it's a good and credible label so I'm absolutely happy with this. However, when my release is out, I have seen no promotion or much activity from the label. I put all my efforts for creating a quality product and expected a solid campaign to help me reach out success and get bookings, so I'm wondering why it's not happened? Maybe I just have wrong expectations? What record labels actually do?
Please tell about your first live set: what kind of equipment did you use, what preparations have been made prior to the event technically and organizationally, and all that stuff in details. Once you agreed with promoter to play on that event, what was your next steps? I really wondering how all these things works behind the scenes, everything from the moment until you get to the turntables.
I keep getting stuck in drafts and can't finish tracks. I do some basic arrangement, then I do some tweaks over and over again, but it seems I physically can't finish tracks, you know? Then I start a new project and it happens again, I get stuck and eventually give up on the track completely. Do you have some tips on how to finish tracks?
Daniel, I'm a huge fan of your mixes. How you do such flawless and smooth transitions? E.g. like at the first half of Rave Podcast 059 or your recent guest mix on Global Trance Grooves, you just nailed it, sometimes I can't figure out when one track ends and another one starts LOL. Some advice will be appreciated.
Daniel, please advise. I study, have a full-time job and family duties. At same time I'm a beginner producer, I love music and would like to make a career as a DJ and producer. The problem seems I don't have enough time for music, I can't just sit all weekend long locked in the studio to write new tracks. How to find time for music when it's not what you do for a living?
Can social media replace personal website for musician? It looks like the majority of producers prefer to have a Facebook page rather than a website. Is it necessary to make a website at all? What is the best strategy on this matter?
Hi Daniel and thank you for your blog! I would love to see some insights on creating FM psy leads, that typical agressive full-onish sound. I've made some such sounds with FM engines in Spire and Dune2 synths, but they don't sound as granly and vicious as they are in „big guys“ music. What are the important synthesis parameters, what kind of processing is used after the synth's output, which synths would you recommend?
E.g. „Depth Of Emotion“ by Dark Soho, the lead playing between 1:18 and 3:28. This is an FM sound isn't it? I've also heard similar sounds in many other darkpsy/full-on tracks
Hi Daniel! Please tell something about structure of rhythm. I'm just getting started into music production and learning how to build up rhythms, in psy trance music in particular. Do you use some techniques to set drums properly? Or leads? Can you give some tips?
Hi Daniel, I'm an up and coming DJ, and it seems my music library is getting out of control with all those countless songs and folders. Beatport Pro app looks attractive, but I found it more confusing rather than helpful. What is the best way to organize music library?
Daniel, I need your advice. I'm a music producer and for the last few years I had a couple of successful releases on various labels, if getting into Top-100 charts counts as a success. But being honest the only thing I got is some „likes“ on my social profiles, I mean, I don't feel a „real“ success. Meantime I look at the other producers, and they have that real success, tours etc. I feel jealous, and realizing the fact that I'm jealous makes me feel even worse. You know, I release music and stuff, but all my efforts seems meaningless, and it's depressing. I'm stuck on progress and don't know how to move forward.
Hi, Daniel. I've been producing music for 10 years. I released a few tracks on different labels and got support from some DJs. However, I still haven't gathered an audience around my project. I don't know how to promote my music. This might be an obvious question, but what is the right strategy to do that? For example, I have a page on Facebook or Soundcloud and I want to get more followers. But I don't know what is the best way to do that.
What are some good techniques to get that deep bass sound that I hear in a lot of tracks by artists such as yourself, Lyktum and E-Clip? Specifically how do you go about synthesizing one (also what are common synths used) and what extra processing that goes on top of the raw synth sound. Lastly do you bounce the sound to an audio file once you're happy with it and edit it further there or do you keep it as a midi file the entire way through the track creation.
Lastly you may want to edit this out but do you teach music production over Skype?
When working on basslines would you use compression or not? And also getting your bass to work with the groove of your hats perc can be tricky? Any tips would help? And last question, any tips on getting that percussion hats, snares to stand out in the mix, I've noticed the sound has changed a lot and a new bench mark has been set. If you do have the time could you pls pls give me advice on my debut free track? I'll understand if you can't but it would be like Xmas came early :) Thank you Daniel.
A DJ'ing question for you. In most higher tempo mixes, specifically progressive / full-on psychedelic trance when the transition occurs and track A is filtered to bring in the lows and mids of track B, there is sometimes (not always) a peaking kick sound. It makes me think that it'd be a redline except i look and alas, I'm not redlining! Its as if the kicks are occurring at the exact same time causing some sort of audio peak.
My question for you is do you notice this as well, and if so what are some ways to alleviate this? I also am not sure if I am just going insane and imagining it because sometimes ill be listening to a single track and can still hear this kick peak! Thank you for reading, so much respect for what you do for the trance community!
What the best way to create smooth psychedelic acids which you have in your tracks? I can describe this sounds like long vibes, uplifting noises in the background + adding full lenght vibe which giving the spice at sounding in the track background. How do you put those smooth acids and atmospheric sounds?