Recent tweets

One Big Rant: How some people think electronic music is made

Right, Let's kick off this cathegory of blog posts that I'm going to do about various subjects. It's an angry sunday afternoon for me since I've read all the comments on the following picture that was shown in a facebook group that I'm connected to:

Troll picture about how some people think that electronic music is made

Some of the audiophile fanatic posts that I read around the internet are really beyond me. I can't understand how people dare to get on their high horse about how a 5 year old can play, mix and produce a track in cubase and keep a straight face at the same time! They think that only people who can play real instruments are worthy of having the word "skilled" to be bestowed on them.

I want to tell those people the following: You see, electronic music isn't only making dance, dubstep or minimalistic techno. and EVEN IN THESE GENRES, If you don't think automation, effects routing, (MASSIVE) sound programming building midi tracks with their dedicated controllers to manipulate the sound of insert effects, all kind of envelopes, all kinds of sonic triggers, what is skill for these people then ? I think most of the people that go complain about how cheap electronic music is is because they are totally oblivious to the production processes behind it.

In dubstep for example, the wubwubwub you hear might sound easy to you but there's tons of sophisticated sound shaping behind it. And even when we are not talking about all the cliché stuff that comes to mind when we talk "electronic music",  there's also something called sample libraries and virtual instruments that you can plugin to cubase.

An "electronic music producer" can achieve much broader styles than every music purist could think about. Are they going to laugh with people like Hans Zimmer ? He uses a vast orchestral sample library) complete with hundreds of articulations. He mocks up his complete orchestration for a movie using cubase. by carefully interpretting all the nuances that would make a real orchestra shine. He does all this stuff with the ears to make it sound natural, and then he makes the finished soundtrack which is hybrid in nature. Conducting a real orchestra while some of the suspense tracks remain completely "in cubase". If you don't think that requires any skill then I guess you laugh at architects of a building as well ? Be a bit serious please ?

Ofcourse I have respect for people who play an instrument, and it stands without reason that it's a craft and requires skill to be very good at playing guitars, violin, trumpet or whatever. But I'm furious about people turning music into this elitist circus which is ONLY reserved for "Queen Elizabeth Standard" performers. And that there are these people actually think that it requires no effort to be an electronic producer.

Do you know that at least 40% of tracks that have been made with "real instruments" consists of engineering, effects processing, sound shaping with all kinds of insert processors etc.  Drums and guitars for example are a few of the most extensively post processed instruments out there. And the guitarists are gonna care about their stomp boxes and amps for sure but who you think does the rest ? That is going to be maticulously flattened, fattened (or cleaned) up by "little kids that play with electronics." Not that I have no respect for "guitarists" but I'm just saying that purists are negating the fact that us "fisher price toy" guys beef up the tracks that musicians play.

I can tell you that producing songs only with samples and a sequencer takes skill also, becuase you need to be able to interpret how the "real instruments" sound and then try to make em sound natural enough. Shall I be an ass and say that an electronic producer actually goes from start to finish on his own ? He builds all the tracks that he needs via midi. From basses to strings, from pianos to organs, from special effect synthesis to musical effects. And if he dedicates himself of having the best sample libraries out there he is able to build a completely convincing jazz track as well as a lush trance beat. People who dedicate themself to play their real instrument to perfetion are ofcourse masterfully skilled but they play only that instrument. So for the production of a track they are only doing one aspect (which must not be underestimated) of the process between creating a song from scratch and building the final master.

How about me being so pompous to say that an electronic producer needs to be musician, sound engineer AND have the skill to completely envision and interpret how all the instruments are going to sound timbre wise, and in the mix ? How we need to give the listener the impression that "our songs sound well" ? This is also a "skill" on it's own and indeed makes up for the lack of being able to play any "real instruments". Some of us can do both. I think Prince (for example) will laugh a bit when he reads all these comments on facebook.

When I'm not angry like this ? I'm inclined to say that all musicians that make music in any form are equal and I don't really want to make all these biased statements and distinctions to the craft. That one is better than the others. But to hear music purist being so condescending about electronic producers irritates the hell out of me.



So true. I just had a discussion with my friend who is a rock music fanatic. We started talking about music. He had that exact impression, that electronic music was made by pressing a button. I eventually convinced him otherwise, but there are so many people out there who still have this impression. Playing an instrument is definitely a craft, but aren't music composition, sound engineering, and creativity also crafts? Some people just don't understand that.

Most people don't get the distinction between music made BY a computer and music made ON a computer.


Jallen wrote

I just found this whilst drunk, I just had an argument with a close mate who told me electronic music is easy. (the usual argument... no emotion... pressing buttons.. etc.. etc.) Although I'm angry and open minded, I feel it's about time we should just get on our 'high horse' about this. I learnt Guitar, Trumpet and Piano to a competent level in about 2-3 years... I've been spending about the same time on electronic music and I don't feel I'm anywhere near touching the sound I hear from my peers! People that think it's easy, literally know nothing about what goes into producing a track. (this is the point where you reel off countless 'nerdy' technical terms in the production process)... but I've found this makes people even more ignorant and stubborn. However I've found it's pointless arguing with these kind of music fans because they have no reference point. (If they can't see it. it isn't really happening!)

All you can really do is enjoy and get along with everyone else who gets the tiny intricacies into making a good electronic track (be it jump-up and in your face... or a deep late night thoughtful tune.)

At the end of the day though, each to their own and all that. I'm just glad I've acquired the taste of a wide variety of music... more enjoyment for me!

Peace out... (Keeps slaving over those oscillators, filters, envelopes, side-chaains, builds, drops, pads, delays, automations, cut-offs, pans, EQ's, basses.. etc.....etc..)

Ps. Sorry for the drunk non-sensical rant, although it has helped a lot!