Knowing the production nuances that differentiate EDM from the various electronic music genres will help you find your niche and speak to your audience.
In his 2006 book The Remixer’s Bible, electronic music producer and instructor Francis Preve described dance music as “fashion for the ears.” And in the nine years since that book was published, Preve says, that trend has only continued.
“What is popular in dance music changes so quickly that it really does have more in common with fashion than any other genre,” Preve says. “Now more than ever, it’s the only genre where something can literally be ‘so six months ago.’” In particular, Preve points towards the choice and placement of bass sounds in EDM tracks. “Bass is one element that changes constantly with the flavor of the moment,” he says. “Every bass tutorial I’ve ever written for a magazine or website has always been focused on what’s fashionable the minute I’m writing it.”
So what does this mean for the indie artist looking to dive into electronic dance music production — or the experienced indie producer getting ready to release his or her tenth album of hard-hitting EDM tracks? In short, a choice is in order.
“If you want to make something that’s flavor of the nano-second, just go to beatport.com and look at their top ten tracks, for all genres,” says Preve. “That’s what’s flavor of the minute.” If you want to play the fashion game, take the time to really learn what each sub-genre of electronic dance music sounds like, and what makes it distinct.
“Studying the differences will help you know where to draw influences from and what your audience is looking for,” Preve says. “Drum and Bass sounds completely different from Electro which is completely different than House and Dubstep and Techno. Each genre has a completely different feel and production aesthetic.
“A lot of people say that they make dance music because they’re producing something that’s sequenced and has a kick drum. That doesn’t make it dance music. That makes it electronic music. Dance music producers who are just starting out, in particular, should learn what each sub-genre sounds like.”
Studying and emulating the latest trends is not the only way to go, though. “If you want to be original, just disregard everything else that’s going on out there, make sure that your engineering is completely on point, and follow your heart,” he says. “You could be the person that makes that next original sound that everybody else follows.”
Image via ShutterStock.com.
Disc Makers’ regular contributor Michael Gallant’s debut trio album Completely received a four-star review from DownBeat magazine and a five-star review from Critical Jazz, which stated: “This, my friends, is the future of jazz. Fresh, invigorating, progressive – there are simply not enough positive adjectives to list here.” Learn more, download through iTunes, jam along with the new JamBandit app, or purchase through CD Baby. Follow Michael on Twitter at @Michael_Gallant or on Facebook.
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