How I Discovered Ableton Live

Ableton Live Tutorials

Seeing as you’re here, I thought I’d share my story with you.

I got into music at a very young age. My dad ran a stage crew in the UK (and still does). They would build stages for events like Donnington Park Monsters Of Rock, Glastonbury, and he knew people like Ozzie Osbourne, Michael Jackson, Metallica, etc.

As you can imagine, my dad was really into music, especially heavy metal, electronic music and even rap.

By the age of six, I was listening to Public Enemy and Metallica. When I was 8 years old I held Metallica’s guitars on the stage at Donnington’s Monsters Of Rock festival (before they went on stage that day).

(Fun Fact: The sound system at Donington is so powerful that they have to stop playing any sounds when a plane flies over. James Hetfield (Metallica front man) was shouting at a plane for shits and giggles during their rehearsal while I was there at the age of around 8)

bassgorilla heavy metal


So music was all around me and a huge part of my life growing up.

It wasn’t until I was 15 that I got really into electronic music. I had been into heavy guitar music before that. What changed me was listening to DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing album for the first time, which completely blew my mind. Here’s why:

It was the first album made entirely from samples. DJ Shadow had used an iconic piece of hardware for making this incredible hip hop album, called an AKAI MPC drum machine sampler.

akai sampler

I was so inspired by DJ Shadow’s music that I saved as much money as I could, working part time on weekends, so that I could buy an AKAI sampler and start making sample based hip hop. I was 16 when I got my first sampler and it was all I ever did with my free time from that point on.

From there, the first DAW I used was Reason. If you aren’t familiar with Reason, it is designed to look like and behave like hardware. You can drag and drop devices into a rack, and by pressing the tab key on your keyboard, you can see the back of the rack, where you can connect devices using virtual cables, in many different ways, giving you extremely powerful routing options.

Reason was great to work with, but it had its restrictions. For example, you couldn’t use 3rd party VST plugins with it. Also, the routing of these ‘virtual’ cables was often a pain in the ass.

So one day, when I was 20, my friend Dan, who I had been making music with in Reason, said, “Dude, you’ve got to try this new software I’ve just discovered!”

Now there are two things you should know about Dan. First, he is a nerd – an uber nerd! Second, he gets very, very excited about new discoveries.

But this time was different. His level of excitement was clearly much higher than usual – you could see that sparkle gleaming in his eye…

What had he discovered?

You guessed it….

It was 2001 and I had just been introduced to version 1 of Ableton Live, thanks to my buddy Dan…

Ableton Live BassGorilla

My music-making world was about to get flipped upside down in all kinds of ways I couldn’t even imagine yet.

To Be Continued…