Learning how to produce electronic dance music (EDM) is hard.
Wrestling with your DAW (that’s the software you use to produce), creating melodies and basslines, figuring out plugins and how to use them, it can get frustrating really fast.
But if you’re smart and able to use the many tools and resources that are available out there such as loops, samples, construction kits and the thousands of tracks available online by other producers, then trust me, you’ll be able to produce amazing tracks in no time.
Realistically, you can have a track produced, mixed and mastered in less than 24 hours.
Who this approach is right for
- You’re a complete beginner and have no idea where to start.
- You have tons of ideas and unfinished 8-bar loops and tracks collecting dust in your hard drive and want to actually finish them.
- You’re not a beginner but take too long to finish tracks because you don’t have a workflow that helps you work better and faster.
- You want to stop messing around with plugins and settings for hours and get on with your mixing and mastering life.
- You want to get professional sounding tracks without having to buy expensive gear or plugins because let’s face it, we’re all poor.
Make sure your expectations are realistic
Let’s not lie to each other here, you’re not going to produce world class chart toppers in 24 hours. So you need to be realistic with your approach.
No, your tracks are not going to sound as big, polished, loud and amazing as the tracks you hear from the pros. Those guys have literally spent years doing what they do.
No, you’re not going to have the gear, studio, plugins and headphones that you really want right now.
But you know what, that’s OK. Because in the end what really matters is that produce good music that people will enjoy listening to. You have to accept that you won’t be perfect now but that you can keep practicing and that you will get better.
Keep your expectations in check and your head high and the entire process of producing amazing EDM tracks will be a much smoother and enjoyable one.
Stick to the basics
It’s way too easy to drown in the sea of plugins, sample packs, software and tools. It’s also easy to feel lost in all the articles and advice online when it comes to production, mixing and mastering.
Your job is to drown all of that nonsense out and focus on what’s important – producing music.
Inside the Beat Tweaks Academy, you’ll find courses and tutorials about plugins, effects, mixing, mastering and more that will make your life so much easier. I’ll personally be there waiting to tell you to stop making your life complicated and to stick to the basics.
If you’re short on time then check out this course on how to finish more tracks in less time.
Or you can take this free course on how to analyze tracks by other producers to vastly improve your mixing and mastering.
Only use the essentials
You’d be surprised how little you need to produce an amazing track. A few samples, a handful plugins and a synthesizer can be more than enough to produce an amazing EDM track.
As long as you have those and something that plays music like headphones or speakers, then you’re to go.
Rethink your approach
It’s funny that back when I first started producing, I actually thought the pros had this magical ability to generate ideas for new tracks whenever they wanted.
Luckily I’m now more mature and understand that things don’t really work that way. Inspiration always comes from somewhere, or someone.
There are literally thousands and thousands of tracks online and so many talented producers. Many of them even post their tracks for you to download for free.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. What you need to do is learn from other tracks and other producers. Any track you find online can be the perfect guide for you to finish your tracks and learn more about mixing and mastering.
It’s not cheating.
In fact, most hits you hear on the radio follow specific formulas to make sure they stick and that people remember and enjoy them.
Forget about all this nonsense that everything has to be done from scratch. I say use presets, use loops, and use other tracks to help you structure and finish your own tracks.
Morte importantly use all of those things to learn.
Make the best of what you have
“Can I produce professional sounding tracks using only stock plugins, headphones and a laptop?”
You have no idea how many times I get asked that question, so I’m going to give you the answer once and for all.
Yes you can…
Don’t worry about what anybody says. You can get the results you want using stock plugins and a pair of cheap earbuds. It’s all about understanding how things work. It’s not about the expensive studio or those “magic” plugins.
You already have everything you need inside your DAW and in your head. The rest is up to you.
Produce a track in 24 hours
Enough of me rambling. How do you actually produce a track in 24 hours?
I’ve put together a few steps for you to follow that will help you finish new tracks and old projects super fast.
- Go online and listen to some good music, easy enough right?
- Find a track you like and that you can download (legally of course). This is also known as a reference track, check out the free course I have on using reference tracks.
- Import that track into your DAW.
- Use it as a guide and follow the same structure and arrangement.
- Use your ears to EQ, compress and process the sounds and samples. I promise that if it sounds good then it is good.
- Use a spectrum analyzer to check the loudness and frequency curve of the reference track
- Master your track accordingly.
It’s really as simple as that. All of that stuff might sound complicated but it’s really not.
Use a construction kit if you have to. Change up the melodies and do something different with the samples to make them your own. Don’t be afraid of sounding like someone else.
Eventually, you’ll start developing your own unique style but first, you need to learn how the production process works.
And the best way to learn is from someone more experienced than you.
Things to keep in mind (IMPORTANT)
The things we covered in this article are not about cheating or finding shortcuts. I mean, shortcuts are great and you should definately use them but that’s not what it’s all about.
It’s all about finding inspiration and boosting your confidence in your production skills.
You need to be able to reach a point where you just know what you’re doing without second guessing and doubting yourself.
That should be your long-term goal.
EDM production is a process that takes skill, time, patience and lots of pratice.
So even if you don’t plan on finishing a new track every day hopefully you can still apply different parts of what we talked about in order to make your life easier.