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How does a dubstep/hip hop/electronic music producer compare to typical AE's?

Discussion in 'Bar' started by AntonioPetrole, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. AntonioPetrole

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    So this is a thing I have been thinking about alot lately. Recently in America dubstep has become a HUGE thing. Everybody knows who Skrillex and Deadmau5 are and they think they are gods.

    Personally I don't think they even compare to AE's who put in the hours upon hours of editing, mixing, tracking etc.

    I understand there is alot of cool and difficult automation that goes into the electronic stuff but I really don't feel they even come close to typical engineers.

    Opinions?
     
  2. SocialNumb

    SocialNumb Damn Christians!

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    It's a whole different world. You mix while you create, (unlike having a prepared band come in, assuming they know what they're doing.) well at least you do in my chosen electronic music. Old school Industrial. I'm pretty sure that goes for electronic music in general. There is definitely hours upon hours of work to do though. That is, if it's complex and good.

    Hip Hop, is fairly easy. (still takes hours) Not my thing but I have a "Hip Hop" studio in the guest house and I watch the guys work all the time. Sometimes 6 months will go by and their still working on that one song. So I assume everyones different.

    No clue about dubstep, I can't even stand to listen to that stuff.
     
  3. ratsapprentice

    ratsapprentice God can gtfo

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    While I think the majority of electronic music is pretty terrible and overly simplistic.
    Sonically it's pretty nuanced, and the arrangement of sonics as opposed to the music is much more involved (given that it doesn't really happen in "band" music at all).
    You can't really think of them as engineers though.
     
  4. Ermz

    Ermz ¯\(°_o)/¯

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    They're closer to musicians than technical personnel. You can't really draw a 1:1 comparison.

    The reason that 'everybody' loves them is because they create music that fills a niche which is popular. Engineers don't create music - they simply help it translate. Producers (the non-electro variety) generally only help shape music which already exists in some form. Audiences can't relate to that - they're too plebeian to care about nuance. The performer & song is all that matters to them.
     
  5. fatalforce

    fatalforce Member

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    I dunno, I have to say that I feel that metal and some electronic music kinda parallel each other in ways. can be chaotic, complex and sometimes pretty heavy. not heavy in the way metal is perceived but the bass syncopation can be pretty hard hitting and fast

    to program all of this is not as easy as people think
     
  6. sinewavealex

    sinewavealex Keyboard player

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    I think these two are an entirely different skillset and experience.

    While electronic producers would seldom go and use live instruments, metal producers/AEs have vast experience in shaping a recorded signal to sound great, plus the knowledge of mic-placement, gain-staging, operation of real-world equipment.

    That said, electro music producers have a richer grasp of the way electronic sound is generated. From the synthesis stage which takes years to perfect, to (sometimes) astonishing and creative usage of effects. Top electro-guys often synthesize their own trademark sounds they're known for.

    Bottom line, since it is possible, common, and a sort of social norm if you will, electronic music as we know it today does not necessarily demand any knowledge of outboard gear operation, there are thousands of people creating amazing stuff without having to touch a single physical knob. I think metal guys have a clear advantage when it comes to that.

    Of course,the possibility to create metal without even smelling a real-world instrument has developed rapidly in the past couple of years, (electricity, prominy LPC, trillian, and other sample libraries..), It's so far from the progress electronic musicians enjoy in their computerized turf. These sample libraries in my opinion are still baby steps towards the real thing. You still need to know how to do proper riffage on a guitar, and have the skills to make your sources shine with the equipment you got in order to achieve a decent sounding track.

    I think we'll be experiencing far more advanced products in this turf in the next few years.
     
  7. Sloan

    Sloan Sounds like shit!

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    Coming from a rock band background, it has taken a bit more for me to wrap my head around sequencing, midi; and synths are for the most part still a mystery to me. I feel with electronic music there is less shaping/correcting the sounds to fit the mix. My experiments with electronic stuff through the years has involved finding a cool sound, and then building from there, so it's not really like i'm aiming for a specific sound until there's a rough framework of the song, then i browse patches to find the closest or most relevant one. obviously this is a bit easier to me than trying to get a killer guitar track.

    I would definitely like to get into more of the electronic side of things as the exacting nature of it has always intrigued me. I grew up obsessed with computers and assumed everything in life was created with exact measurements, it wasn't until much later I realized that nothing in this world is, but I still desire that perfection and like to apply it to my work whenever possible.
     
  8. updog

    updog Member

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    in electronic music, nothing is more important than the beat and the low end. i think it's fair to say that they take the most work mix-wise and need a lot of control.

    everything else is mostly easier to mix because other than the beat and the low end, the other elements often vary constantly, taking turns in the spotlight of the song. this can vary in some specific styles of electronic music. there may be a lot of layering involved which may require some mixing techniques as well, as to make the pieces fit together.

    all in all, i'll echo what others have said so far; it's more a creative process than anything else. you do need to know the basic stuff and perhaps a bit more than that regarding low end and compression but in comparison, the actual mixing part of it all is easier. you can also mix a lot as you go, but if you aren't positive about how you'll want to leave specific things, it'll eat up your computer's resources fast.
     
  9. egan.

    egan. daylightdies.com

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    It depends on which beat maker and which AE you are talking about. There are some metal producers that I wouldn't differentiate that much from electronic guys in terms of what constitutes what. If you program drums, move/tune every played or sung note, and don't mic anything there isn't a whole lot of difference (other than style) between what you're doing and electronic music. You are essentially specializing in audio software operation (which isn't to say that isn't a good or useful skill). Of course your ears are still involved but it's a different animal than actually capturing the sound.
     
  10. SocialNumb

    SocialNumb Damn Christians!

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    Let us not forget that electronic music doesn't always need to be sequenced/input notes/rigidly quantized. Some is actually played and recorded "live". You'll often hear real drums, specially in older stuff. The occasional guitar and bass have at it as well. Then there is vocal tracking too, which needs care and work. Outboard gear is not obsolete.

    Sampling is a whole other art. I don't mean just taking a loop and playing it over and over, sample manipulation (whole sound banks that resemble nothing to the original sampled sound/s) can be awesome and takes in depth knowledge of modular synthesis. As does creating great sounds from scratch on a synth. Fuck your preset. ;)

    Even "live" triggered drums play a part, as does layering drums hits (low/mid/high) which a lot of metal dudes do. (so I've gathered)

    Great "electronic music" takes a shit load of time and knowledge and can be a mixture of both worlds.

    I do think Ermz gets it.
     
  11. vespiz

    vespiz Mixing!

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    For (most of) the electronic musicians/composers, the studio itself is the instrument.
    All the same techniques apply as per "regular" mixing, but there might be more emphasis on getting the tone/sound right from the source.
    At least it's "easier" if you have a sequence running your synths to mold the sounds on the fly to fit the song; tweak the filter, envelopes, waveforms etc.
    But it's just one approach. There must be as many ways to do it as there are people doing it (well, duh).

    The same kind of discussions go on in the synth forums about different synths as the ones going on here about different amps, cabs, guitars etc.

    But one thing that irks me a bit is the labeling of everything electronic as being a form of dance music... Can't really dance to Vangelis' Beaubourg, now can ye?*




    * I might shuffle my feet a bit.
     
  12. Loren Littlejohn

    Loren Littlejohn Lover of all boobage.

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    As far as I'm concerned mixing is mixing. Source material and how it was created only dictates how it's done.

    So yeah that guy with the laptop using only soft synths is composing, mixing, performing, and producing. If anything I'm more impressed with the fact that one guy does all that.

    I just read a Skrillex article and I was floored by 2 things:

    1. He mouse clicks everything (notes, melodies, chords, drums, everything)
    2. He uses software for everything.

    Like or hate the style that's incredibly impressive.

    I guess what I'm saying is that once the mix stage is reached I see no difference between the dubstep guy (if he does it well) and the rock guy (again if he does it well).
     
  13. Erratic

    Erratic Member

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    I've personally quit playing death metal for Electronic music cause it's more diverse and production wise it's more appealing to me, yes you can do a lot with guitars, bass, drums and vocals but after all, it's very limited.

    Unlike Electronic, I can explore a HUGEEEEEEEEEEEE array of sounds and pallet of emotions.

    Technically speaking I find electro more hard to arrange because of sound synthesis basically, but unlike Metal, once your sound is set, there is almost nothing to do to make it sounds great compare to say: Kick, Snare and guitar tone,

    Yet Again, it all depends on what you are doing with it, both can be arses.

    Yes I still play Death Metal, I just don't compose any songs in this gender.


    Also, sampling, takes a lots of time, I'm working on my first LP right now and I must have bought over 100 vinyls, only to find around 10 will figures on my LP, what you can do with samples, and how you can manipulate them is what makes it one step beyond if you ask me.

    This is no bash, only opinions.

    Cheers.
     
  14. Terminus

    Terminus Member

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    I've done a few electronic albums, well mostly ambient w/ some trip hop beats, and imho it's actually easier than doing metal music, at least with the production part of it. alot of those fans dont give a damn about precision and all that goes with being a top notch metal musician, they just want to dance to some trippy beats ftmp ime from what I've seen in my various travelatures. Sure some metal fans are also like that and just want to headbang but many of them are far more discerning, to the genre's credit.
     
  15. Erratic

    Erratic Member

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    Same goes for all gender afaik.

    Like, Skrillex vs. Skream
    or Suicide Silence vs Meshuggah

    not the best exemple but you get the point.
     
  16. egan.

    egan. daylightdies.com

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    I agree with everything you said except that I'm surprised that you're surprised about 1 and 2. Lots of guys who are a little older imagine this depeche mode or NIN method of electronic music but most of the young cats I've dealt with are laying out their song on the grid with a mouse and then maybe sampling a played line or two from a keyboard. That doesn't mean the method isn't good but I do think it's different.
    I do agree that their is a necessary amount of engineering skill involved but it's almost like the engineering skill is their instrument.
     
  17. Terminus

    Terminus Member

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    Yeah totally, but I think with metal it goes a bit further than most other genres. That said I have not deliberately gone to a dance club in over a decade (but ended up in one with the guys from In Flames earlier this year :lol:). Basically all I did was look at women the whole time, fuck the music...
     
  18. NoSoup4you22

    NoSoup4you22 Keep on blorpin'

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    My main areas of electronic music knowledge are ambient, trance, DNB, triphop, etc. As composers, those guys have a much better grasp on using textures and dynamics than metal musicians do most of the time. I wouldn't really know where to begin writing, or mixing an ambient song since it's so open ended.
     
  19. Loren Littlejohn

    Loren Littlejohn Lover of all boobage.

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    I'm only surprised because I would think that using at least one of those portable keyboards rough putting in the notes and quantising would seem easier to me than endless mouse clicking.

    And the second part, the reason that surprised me is even avid electronic music makers seem to want to involve some sort of hardware somewhere when they get to the level he has but I don't know maybe he just digs what he can get with software and his methods.
     
  20. LeSedna

    LeSedna Mat or Mateo

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    I've got into electronic music myself recently, though I have been quite interested in progressive house in some time already.

    It is really not as easy as it sounds, and regular AE would only get it once they sit in front of their DAW and say "ok let's write a tune and lets make it sound huge".

    Of course most of it comes to the sound you create and use and how you blend them, more than mixing itself.

    About deadmau5 and Skrillex, the simple fact they are mentioned together shows how diverse this world can be : deadmau5 has a tremendous collection of hardware synths including one or two modular
    Moogs and he actually knows how to use them. Skrillex does almost exclusively everything in live using the native instrument synths, write everything with his trackpad, and nothing else. I'm not sure he mixes his tunes though, deadmau5 probably does.

    Tbh I think deadmau5 mixes are very good. As easy as it seems to manipulate synth lines, his signature basses (subtle low deep and sort of organic) are hard to reproduce. There are a tremendous amount of electronic artists who don't know anything about mixing and just throw their synths adjusting their volume, but some do know their stuff. They didn't all come from discovering Fruity Loops in their teen period and stuck with it (not that FL is bad for electro music, but I can see someone who never went outside its philosophy miss what mixing can involve). Deadmau5 didn't steal his celebrity, he really is good at what he does.

    To me, comparing them to AEs is irrelevant, they are mostly musicians, their computer being their instrument. They create music more than act as engineers, and maybe rely on something else for that (I think I remember Skrillex say he has a mixer engineer)

    Another thing with deadmau5 and Skrillex : deadmau5 doesn't really do dubstep (he has one or two dubstep oriented tunes but it's just his way of capitalizing on the trend) his style clearly is house and electro, and a lot of Skrillex songs aren't even dubstep but almost pure prog house. They are often associated because deadmau5 signed Skrillex and they are friends, but their music has little in common in the end.

    To go slightly off topic on the parallel one of metal vs electro in terms of creativity : that's what made me start writing electro music. The process is easy, the sound you use during songwriting are the actual sounds you are using, since it is midi based (except if you're an analogue guy ala Joachim Garraut) editing is flawless, or you can do it all with the mouse, and in a few hours you can have the ground of a new track. When I write electronic I feel like I'm free and just have to think about the music, and not it's playability, or the technical aspect of it. To me it's the thing I missed in creating music, and I think I'll continue creating both metal and electronic music in the future for that reason.
     

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