In the world of fast-evolving technology, making music has become even more accessible than you think. Nowadays, you do not particularly need many instruments or a professional studio to compose and record a song. It can all be done through your computer from the comfort of your own home. If you are here and reading this article, we guess you are taking your first steps in electronic music creation. Perfect, cause we are here to help you find your path!
So you want to become an electronic music producer. Where do you start?
Find your style. There are so many electronic music styles, and you have to find those that speak to you the most. To make it easier, try to think of electronic music that you listen to the most. Explore various artists, spend time listening to them, and research their techniques. If you like them, try to learn from them or, if you feel more comfortable, take those techniques and improvise but never compare yourself to others. Try to find your own musical language that allows you to express yourself. Yes, it takes time, but finding your own style will make you feel more in control. In fact, our community member, electronic music producer Tomi Kokki, shared with us his past mistakes and explained the importance of embracing your own uniqueness:
“When I started creating music,I compared myself to established professionals and to friends who were way, way more experienced in producing. I also tried to please other people and make something that didn’t come out of my system naturally, i.e., I tried to force myself into some genres which just weren’t meant for me. These two things together eventually pushed me into this creativity dead end. I became so frustrated that I stopped making music almost totally for many years. I wish I’d have had more confidence in myself and trust more what came naturally out of me.” – Tomi Kokki.
Experiment. Electronic music is all about trying out different techniques, software, and gadgets. In order to find your sound, you will have to keep researching and exploring as many options as possible. Keep reading blogs on electronic music production and try out the things that catch your eye but do not overthink it. Electronic music producer Mr Frangipane shared with you his past experiences regarding this topic:
“When I began, I was in front of a blank page, everything I did felt very rewarding, I had no clue of what is OK (for who?), what I actually wanted to produce… It was just fun and exploration. Back then (around 2005, just after discovering Propellerhead’s Reason 3), I spent more time trying to make music than anything else. My main mistake was blocking myself by trying to fit some idea of what making music should be (all machines? all computer? all samples? too dark? too joyful? well mixed?) I lost something along the way that is now hard to recover.” – Mr Frangipane
As you see, there are no strict rules of what music-making is. Experimenting might help you find your own way of doing it. So always be open to new techniques, styles, software, gadgets.
Learn. We live in a golden age of technology, so there are thousands of articles, courses, books, and tutorials online that are worth your time. Find your weak spots and, instead of watching a film or scrolling your phone, read or watch something that will help you improve as an electronic music producer. We have already discussed the importance of having a mentor. If you can, find one! They will definitely help you leap a few steps forward and will guide you through the most challenging times. When we asked Noir, our community member, and electronic music producer, to give advice for those taking their first steps in creating music, that is what he said:
“My main advice is to study, be curious, and don’t get down on it. Music is inspiration, but it is also an effort, technique, and in-depth study of the subject. The main problem with most of today’s producers is that they don’t know music theory. This is a huge mistake. Theory is the Swiss army knife that allows you to have the colors of your expression, allows you to be original and creative. Studying always leads to good results. Always.” – Noir.
Practice. You have probably heard it a million times, but it is true – practice is key! If you are serious about becoming an electronic music producer, you have to try, fail, and then try again. Just like any other art, music is 90 percent work and 10 percent talent. As obvious as it may seem, a true musician is not the one who keeps dreaming and talking about it. It is the one who… actually plays music! So, find a few hours a day and dedicate them to creating music. Make it a part of your routine. During our interview, Mr Frangipane has also emphasized the importance of practice:
“I would say that making music is the most important. No matter how you feel, how satisfied you are, keep going. I have experienced this myself, and it’s kind of a regret. I’m happy to have done what I have done, but I know that I could have worked more on the music and that (hopefully) it would have taken me to a more “advanced” place today. Also, something programming taught me: the simple way is often the best. Spending hours reading forums (or participating in those) wondering which synth, hardware, effect is the best will not be as efficient as trying something simple and increasing your experience. Experience will take you to places where you can read forums real quick, get the idea, and serenely go back to work. Otherwise, you’re just planting doubt in your not (yet) serene mind, and it will block your creativity.” – Mr Frangipane.
Share. No matter if you think it is good or bad, share your creations with others. Listen to kind words lightly and pay careful attention to words that are not as heartwarming. Constructive criticism is one of the best tools that will help you evolve as an artist. However, listen only to those comments that you feel speak to you. Do not let your inner critic take over, and do not try to only please others. Take it simply as an opportunity to grow and learn more about what you and your listeners like. When creating a new piece, think of what was weak in your previous work and try to fix these problems. Then share again. Take advice from Noir and learn from his past mistake:
“I have always tried to write songs with a logical sense, in their structure, I mean, and perhaps my early mistake was precisely to ignore the fact that music is produced to be listened to by someone else. I have to put my soul into it, but I also have to try to take the listener into safe territory, where they don’t feel lost. This is always a challenge, and I always pay particular attention to it. Something that keeps the listener attached must be there. It can be a melody, a sound, but finding the hook in a song is crucial. Without it, the song will never hold up.” – Noir.
Lastly and most importantly, have fun! Music is always about expressing yourself and finding a way to connect with people through it. If you take a path that feels right for you, you will definitely find like-minded companions along the way. Before saying goodbye, let us share some wise words from Tomi Kokki, which might help you out if you ever get lost in a bumpy road of electronic music creation:
“Don’t be overly self-critical, try to enjoy and have fun. And “Just Do It!”, as the classic Nike slogan says. The only way to learn things is by doing. And be patient. In the modern world, it is very easy to get the illusion that everyone makes it overnight, but it really is not true. Don’t let that illusion bring you down.” – Tomi Kokki.
We hope that this article in any way helped you. Do not hesitate to share your creations with us, and if you have some tips you would like to add to the list – leave a comment!