Do you ever stop to think about the music of the future? Many of us listen to electronic music because it captivates our imagination about the future. We want to hear that next new sound which hasn’t been done by anyone before. It excites us. We’re always looking to find the pioneers who are disrupting the scene with their new and refreshing production styles and mind-boggling techniques. What do these pioneers do that the others don’t do? They experiment and innovate, and by doing this and discovering new techniques they are able to evolve their own sound and lead their chosen genres in new directions.
In this article I want to talk about the importance of innovation and experimenting to find new possibilities with your music. As producers, we spend some time imitating the techniques of others, which helps us to learn established approaches that we can apply to our music, but we must also break free from the herd and discover new techniques to create our own signature sound and push our genres forward. This is also how we ourselves can become pioneers and innovators.
As much as I love the flexibility and ease of using NI Massive, I recently made a conscious decision to stop using it for all of my main sounds. The reason is obvious – Massive is used by almost everyone making EDM and has a very obvious trademark sound. I’ve started to use samplers much more to take long notes from other synths or from organic real world sounds and then stretch them and morph them in new ways that aren’t possible within a synthesizer so that I can get some original unique sounds in my music.
Let’s face it, bass music is here to stay for a loooong time – it has been evolving (and growing consistently) ever since its arrival in the early 90’s with drum & bass.
In recent years we’ve seen more and more subgenres form and begin to grow, including ultrafunk drum & bass, trap, brostep, neurohop. So what’s next? Any genre of EDM which doesn’t have a ‘neuro’ version of it has a possibility of getting started IF someone takes the initiative to explore tat possibility. One example of this would be ‘neurohouse’ – I can say that I’ve never heard a song with a house style beat and tempo involving growling, moving basslines that we hear in neurofunk drum & bass and more recently neurohop. Another thing we are yet to hear is rock bands using guitars, drums and vocalists but with a big focus on moving, growling bass using synthesizers instead of a bass guitarist.
Pop music is gonna keep on adopting the key sounds of underground genres – here is an email I got from a major label producer’s ‘assistant’ on Soundcloud.
“(name)’s looking to work with you as a sound designer. How it’ll work is I’ll send you (via dropbox) one chord progression midi file and an mp3 file, usually with a drum and bassline to give you an idea of where the track is headed. You’ll design 4-5 different sound variations to that chord progression midi. You’ll then upload a zip or .rar file with wav bounce downs (24 bit) of each sound. Also please save all sessions as (name) may want you to go back and rebounce the sounds transposed higher or lower (to best fit the artist’s vocal range).
Music Of The Future
If (name) thinks the sounds are hot, he or one of his writers will write to the track. If the writing comes out hot, he’ll finish the track by making more midi, sending that midi to you, you’ll design more sounds and send them back and then (name) and I along with his other track shoppers will shop the track around.
In terms of payment, if the track gets placed on a major label album, you’ll get $1,000 U.S. and additional production credit. In cases where you design only 1 or 2 sounds in a larger composition with a lot of other sounds in it that you didn’t design, you’ll get $500 U.S. and additional production credit.”
I didn’t reply because I don’t like this ‘manufacturing’ approach to making music – it doesn’t come from the heart. Interesting to see how the mainstream producers are getting their work done though.
How do you think bass music is going to evolve to in the future?
One way we can try to answer that is by looking as how has it been evolving since it started and especially the advancements of recent years.
Of course the technology will continue to open up new realms of possibility and complexity, with new vst plugins, soft synths and hardware making its way into our project studios every day. One example of an awesome set of plugins is MELDA – multiband everything, which eliminates the need to frequency-split bass sounds. The number of software developers designing new technology for EDM has also been increasing, so we can look forward to a wider range and higher quality of synths and effects.
But despite this expansion of technology, we will not sound different to the norm if we jump on the bandwagon and all use the same technology in the same ways. Using the same technology in different ways will get better results, but using different technologies to the majority, and applying our own creative techniques will yield the best results, and will also push music forward. Investing in one or two pieces of 2nd hand hardware, like filter boxes and hardware synths can really differentiate you from the norm. So the future of bass music is really down to us as producers, despite what technological advancements are happening.
Some of the most innovative bass music producers I like are Billain, Xilent, Kursa, Opiuo, Seven Lions, Culprate and of course, Noisia, but that’s just my two cents…
Please get in touch with me – let me know who you think are the most innovative artists that you listen to in bass music, and let me know what they’re doing that makes their music sound so innovative. If you’ve made any songs that you think are really unique and made in different ways to the norm, then send me a link to them on Soundcloud – I’d love to hear them.
Until next time,