EDM is the third most popular music genre and is a broad genre with many sub-genres that ensure room for everyone within the industry.
Thanks to recent technological innovations, learning how to make EDM music is easier than ever, and small producers can make it big with the proper guidance.
What Is EDM?
EDM stands for Electronic Dance Music, a music genre characterized by its reliance on computers to generate high-quality rhythmic sounds, ethereal backtracks, and electronic beats.
EDM artists typically use drum machines, synthesizers, and samplers to blend sounds, and they may also work with vocalists to embellish their songs.
Examples of EDM
There are many sub-genres within EDM. These include:
- House music: The most mainstream form of EDM. Includes Swedish House Mafia, AVICII, and deadmau5.
- Trance music: Characterized by repetitive build-ups. Includes Tiesto, Dash Berlin, and Above & Beyond.
- Dubstep: Experimental version of London 2step. Includes Skrillex, Borgore, and Rusko.
- Drum & Bass: A London-based, drum-heavy sound. Includes Liquid Funk and Black Sun Empire.
- Trap: Blends rap and EDM for a heavy, explosive sound. Includes Flosstradamus and Baauer.
- Downtempo: Slow-paced and repetitive. Includes Moby and Nightmares on Wax.
Making EDM 101: The Essentials
Although tools can be expensive, basic versions of each item below are available on online marketplaces or re-sell platforms for when you start to learn how to create electronic music.
Most EDM producers require the following tools to get started.
Reliable WiFi Connection
To get started, you need consistent access to WiFi to operate most software tools, build your music library, and share your sounds with the world.
You can test out different production tools on company websites and listen to songs produced by other artists to inspire your work.
A Laptop Computer
While some EDM artists use desktops, laptops are portable and thus allow you to make music on the go. Your computer is essential when learning how to make EDM music since most EDM relies on software.
To choose a laptop, consider the following factors:
- Available RAM (16-32 GB) since music occupies significant memory in your computer.
- Processor strength, because you need your computer to function quickly.
- A fast, reliable hard drive
- A high-resolution screen with a sizable display.
Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs)
DAWs are software programs that empower producers to string audio recordings together from their computers. Every additional software you purchase will rely on your DAW to function.
Although there are many reputable programs available, most artists use one of the following: Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Cakewalk, Reaper, and Logic Pro X.
Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI controller)
A MIDI controller is an external instrument that connects to your DAW and allows you to create individual notes or percussive sounds to layer on your music.
Popular MIDI controllers include Akai MPK Midi, Alesis V25, Nektar Impact LX88, and Arturia Keystep Pro. Beginners should choose the Nektar Panorama T6 4.0 or the Novation MK III Mini.
Sound and Sample Libraries
Most producers use sound libraries to generate their songs. Sample sounds may include snippets of other songs or musical tracks but can offer a range of unique, non-musical audio files. Choose a sample library that operates on virtual studio technology (VST) like EastWest or Native Instruments.
An audio interface will convert your files from analog to audio. It will connect a microphone to your computer, playback sounds to assess your work, and communicate with your audience or layer original vocal tracks.
The best audio interfaces include the Focusrite Scarlett line, the Audient iD14 MKII USB-C Audio Interface, and the MOTU M4 4×4 USB-C Audio Interface.
Plugins and Additional Software
Plugins will allow you to add special effects like analog compression or reverb to your songs.
Additionally, some artists use external EDM instruments to perform original music or collaborative tools to facilitate partnerships.
Most EDM learn music production, software and hardware use, mixing, and music theory and arrangement.
To acquire this knowledge, you can take a designated course or simply experiment with your equipment until you figure it out. Many artists rely solely on free resources to learn the ropes.
How To Produce Your EDM Track
Once you have obtained your best equipment for producing EDM.
You will need to practice extensively to reach your desired level of expertise when learning EDM production. As with any art, it requires effort and persistence.
1. Do Your Research
All artists require inspiration to produce original content.
To make EDM, you need to listen to various EDM techniques. Begin amassing a library of songs you enjoy and wish to emulate. Read about your favorite artists and their approaches to making EDM music. You can reach out to your musical icons.
Watch plenty of tutorials and read how-to guides to improve your practice.
2. Identify Your Basic Beat
When learning how to start producing music, experiment with different genres and patterns.
Most EDM songs consist of 120-130 beats per minute and consist of kicks on the quarter notes and alternating snares.
3. Layer Preset Sounds
Most of the best software to make electronic dance music and sound libraries come with preset sounds. To get started, you can quickly experiment with creating sounds using a basic synthesizer.
Simply experiment with each tool and its many functions until you achieve a sound you like. To cement your knowledge, use your DAWs music notation function to label your tunes and shift them accordingly.
4. Leverage Envelope Filters
Envelope filters allow you to shape the sounds in your song throughout the song’s timeline. To use an envelope filter, learn the basic terminology:
- The “attack” parameter refers to how long it takes for a given sound or melody to achieve climax
- The “decay” metric refers to how long it takes for a sound to fade
- The “release” metric refers to how long it takes for a note to reach complete silence
The only way to achieve proficiency is to practice and experiment with the function of your tools. Create multiple versions of every song, allowing you to exercise comparative judgment when selecting sounds you like to identify a genre and sound that fits your music taste.
6. Share Your Music and Accept Feedback
When learning how to make music on a computer, you won’t improve if you don’t share your music with others.
Share your music with people you know or post it on a music platform like SoundCloud to begin amassing fans and launching your EDM career.
Before You Go
Learning how to make EDM music is a fulfilling pastime, and regardless of whether or not you make it big, you will derive immense satisfaction from the creative process. Remember that you will only grow as an artist if you make mistakes and learn from them. Anyone can become a successful EDM artist with enough practice and dedication.