WARNING: I am about to ask a question about a mainstream DJ

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Domokun
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WARNING: I am about to ask a question about a mainstream DJ

Post by Domokun » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:30 am

Feel free to rip me apart in advance, I know better than to ask questions about these types of marketing machines without knowing I'm going to come off as a douche so rip away! (and hopefully answer my question too of course ;).

First off, I create music as a hobby in my downtime, it's a release after a 12 hour shift. I just try to recreate the songs I listen to and see how close I can get. I am not trying to be the next Kaskade, just entertaining a hobby.

With that said, I've got a question about Kaskade's sound I hope I can get some help with:

1. Kaskade always seems to have A LOT of different sounds playing together simultaneously. Overall, are there any "strategies" or certain techniques he uses regularly that I can study up on that any of you would know of? I mean, reverb, delay, I get those. I'm wondering more along the lines of things like: for example, how would someone go about recreating the sound he made that starts at 46 seconds of "Turn it Down"? (video link below) Is that a synth or some kind of oddly distorted bass pitched a bit higher than usual? Filter? If so, anyone know what type?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-CXdhBfvro

2. When the chorus starts in "Raining" 2:03 mark in linked video below, what kind of synths is he using? Does it sound like he'slayering more than 2-3 to you? Does it sound like he's using some sort of filter?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D6ZeZvFqhw

Again, excuse the newwwwbbb interruption. I don't get much time to mess around with Ableton and like I said, I have fun trying to recreate some of the tracks I hear from these guys (I don't come close). I'm grateful for any tips, tricks, advice, direction, etc.

**Also, does he use samples at all? I read a couple interviews with him and he kinda comes off as a talking billboard for Nexus2.

Anyways, thanks to you all for any help I can get from any of you!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D

hacktheplanet
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Re: WARNING: I am about to ask a question about a mainstream DJ

Post by hacktheplanet » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:25 pm

1. Sounds like a retriggered saw sample run through reverb and a ridiculous amount of compression.
2. Same as above, except a square. There's another sound that sounds like a vocal sample with that pitch drop effect on the end of it that is so common these days.

And there's a lot of swooshes and swells going on too. Easy way to build/release tension.
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ian_halsall
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Re: WARNING: I am about to ask a question about a mainstream DJ

Post by ian_halsall » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:44 pm

For a moment there I thought it was going to be about Jimmy Savile

woodsdenis
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Re: WARNING: I am about to ask a question about a mainstream DJ

Post by woodsdenis » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:58 pm

ian_halsall wrote:For a moment there I thought it was going to be about Jimmy Savile
:P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P

beats me
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Re: WARNING: I am about to ask a question about a mainstream DJ

Post by beats me » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:56 pm

I don’t think Kaskade gets hated on and nor should he. He’s been around for a long time and hasn’t just appeared out of nowhere to jump on some current hot genre. I respect the dude. He’s managed to pull himself out of the dying (dead) Deep House genre he started in and created kind of a hybrid of Deep/Progressive/Electro House. Also he has songs that aren’t written to pack dance floors. I see him as kind of a low flash BT.

But generally speaking I don’t think he’s successful enough to get hated on yet. He packs college basketball size arenas, not stadiums. Maybe if he hits that level he will get hated on.

H20nly
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Re: WARNING: I am about to ask a question about a mainstream DJ

Post by H20nly » Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:06 pm

please... let us have a discussion on Ricardo Villalobos :twisted:

hacktheplanet
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Re: WARNING: I am about to ask a question about a mainstream DJ

Post by hacktheplanet » Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:14 pm

Sit, friends. I wish to reveal my thoughts on this matter.

I have noticed trends emerging in dance music over the years. Top 40 currently favors 4 on the floor tracks with very simple kick/snare/hat rhythms. These drum noises are simple and uninspired, in my opinion, yet they are very fun on the dance floor. The leads are characterized by huge, simple, over-compressed basic saw and square wave melodies in two-note harmonies. Typically minor progressions, but major progressions can also be found. Female vocalists are common as well as male rapping. Lyrical content is devoid of any meaning, either praising the party lifestyle, sex, music in general, drinking, or love. Frequently, there will be a half-time breakdown in the style of modern dubstep.

I will argue that Benny Benassi is a pioneer of this sound with his 2003 release "Satisfaction," an electro-house banger, and this track played a major role in bringing dance music to the Top 40 charts. In 2003 the Top 40 charts were dominated by R&B and Rock music. In 2004, we begin to see an emergence of faster, higher-energy dance music. By 2006, Justin Timberlake's "Sexyback" was in the top 10. Along with a few other four-on-the-floor tracks, this set the stage for a new sound to emerge.

I must make clear my personal distinction between "EDM" and electronic dance music for the sake of this discussion. Many people use the term "Electronic Dance Music" or "EDM" incorrectly. Some assume "EDM" refers to dance music produced by electronic produced by electronic means, ideally for nightclubs and dancefloors. Many, many more use the term to describe the sound and vibe described above. Personally, I avoid the term "EDM" to describe anything that is definitely house, techno, trance, d&b, etc... Any style of dance music that does not include primarily the musical elements I described a few paragraphs above. The term "EDM" is the modern version of the marketing term "Electronica," yet "EDM" is narrower in scope, in my opinion.

To call many of the modern dance music artists "House producers" is a fallacy. Swedish House Mafia, Hardwell, Avicii, (recent) Kaskade are not known (recently) for producing actual House music. They produce Dutch House, a very specific subgenre of House music that is, in my opinion, closer to Hardstyle/Trance than House. Sure, genres in electronic music are VERY subjective, and modern dance music borrows elements from all styles of dance music. I think this is a cool phenomenon, but unfortunately the end result is a style that includes so many styles of dance music that all tracks have similar qualities. Additionally, if you go to a non-genre specific club or night these days (at least in the US), it is very likely you will hear this "EDM" played. It's simple to mix, easy to dance to, not intellectually stimulating, and sounds better when you're off your face.

One artist that I used like quite a bit in the early 2000s was Steve Angello. Prior to his work with SHM, a few of his 80s-inspired Electro House tracks had more variation than his most recent work. (Disclaimer: I'm most certainly biased since I still really dig the 80s/industrial/"electroclash" sound from that era.) Kaskade is another example. His early 2000 releases were straight up deep house, a far cry from his more recent work.

There are many examples of this in music over the years, but two bands that are particularly guilty of "selling out" are The Offspring and No Doubt. If you are at all familiar with their catalog, you can make the objective statement that as their popularity increased, their music evolved. Whether the changes were good or bad is subjective, but they most certainly changed. I find it difficult and hypocritical of myself to disparage these artist for simply following trends to make a paycheck, while I would do the same in an instant.

Artistic integrity is forever the victim of a paycheck. However, I also believe that most artists who "sell out" maintain their artistic integrity in other ways. For artists who produce electronic music, it is common to see releases of a variety of styles under various pseudonyms. Discogs.org is a great place to track artists who are produce differing styles under different names. Thus, they can maintain artistic integrity with their lesser-known work AND get a paycheck from their tracks of a certain style.

Don't misinterpret me, I don't think electronic dance music (Non-"EDM") as a whole has gotten worse. I just think that the popularity of this particular style of electronic music will fade from the charts just like hair metal, grunge, pop punk, rap, and other stuff has. EDM is like any other music - Most of it is garbage and will fade to obscurity. There will, of course, be a few good tracks that will stand the test of time and be remembered, but most of it will be forgotten.

I point to that study done earlier this year that explains that modern Top 40 is more homogenized than in the past. With EDM dominating festival circuits and mainstream nightclubs, it is easy to make the argument that EDM follow this trend of homogenization. The end result is a sound that is largely uninspired and derivative.

tl;dr i'm old and music sucks
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evangelink
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Re: WARNING: I am about to ask a question about a mainstream DJ

Post by evangelink » Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:35 pm

@the_planet: massively spot on. I also miss electroclash.

beats me
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Re: WARNING: I am about to ask a question about a mainstream DJ

Post by beats me » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:22 pm

@the_planet. I feel that Kaskade’s music has more evolved than sold out even though his early tracks were way more soulful, but he started moving towards the sound he has now even before it became a staple of Top 40.

But at the same time, I don’t really like his last album, not for genre cliché reasons, but because nothing on it really moves me. I’m not a blind fan.

timothyallan
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Re: WARNING: I am about to ask a question about a mainstream DJ

Post by timothyallan » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:58 pm

"Artistic integrity is forever the victim of a paycheck"

Fantastically true.

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