Producing Liquid DnB Creatures Pro Tips TUTORIAL
Creatures returns to Producertech for his second Drum & Bass Course, this time focusing on the ever popular subgenre of Liquid, and he’s gifted us with a plethora of tips and tricks for taking tracks to a professional level. This is an intermediate to advanced course, for those who are already well versed in music production and Drum & Bass; a straightforward course focused on providing the producer with a variety of techniques for embellishing and improving their tracks.
The course consists of four lessons, centred around four key areas: Musicality & Theory, Sampling & Sound Design, Developing the Track and finally the Arrangement. Combining all the knowledge from these modules leaves the producer with a fully formed and professional track.
Creatures kick-starts the course by explaining the importance of melody in Liquid. The eponymous rhythm section of Drum & Bass are not the main focus here! After a quick guide to the drums so far, he then walks through the two main melodic sounds – the sub bass and hook/chords chops – before going on the hunt for supporting melodic material in the same key. Samples are introduced to the groove, which are processed with chorus, delays, reverbs and pitch-shifters, to help the sample fit sonically with the rest of the track.
After discussing the benefits of finding your own samples as opposed to sourcing them from sample packs, module 3 continues with refining and improving the samples from the second module, with further processing and creative FX tips. Creatures then finishes up the course with a lengthy look at the arrangement, implementing the structure of the track, including an intro, outro and breakdown sections, while using filters and other FX to transition between these sections smoothly. He finishes off the track with some EQing, compression and some groove-inducing sidechaining.
Enrolling provides instant access to the 1.5 hours of streamed lessons, along with the stems from the track made on the course, in addition to a bonus pack of Liquid D&B samples for trying out the techniques learned in the lessons; a wealth of information and materials to get you well on the road to producing your first Liquid D&B anthem!
Module 1: Musicality & Theory
An important area of a Liquid D&B track is the theory, tone and musicality, which must all be correct for the genre. Creatures introduces the key and scale of the project so far and begins to expand the palette of sounds to go with the sub and main chords. Unlike most other D&B genres, Liquid’s main focus is melody – learn how to pull back the drums so that the melodic elements can take centre stage.
Module 2: Sampling & Sound Design
Working with samples, explore how they can add much-needed authenticity and glue to your tracks. Creatures explains the different warp modes in Ableton and chooses a vocal sample to become the focal point of the track. Samples are developed with creative effects like chorus, delays and reverbs, as well as pitch shifters, to properly integrate the samples into the sonic landscape of the song. Learn how filters can create forward motion and dynamics in your samples.
Module 3: Developing the Track
Creatures shows how using sample packs is an easy and effective way to develop additional layers and soundscapes in your music, as well as discussing how finding your own samples can be more rewarding, unique and genre-defying. He continues to work with creative effects on samples to demonstrate how much further a sample can be taken with the correct processing.
Module 4: Arrangement
Building out from the initial 16-bar loop, Creatures makes an intro and an outro, bringing in or dropping out tracks, to create a smooth, gradual transition between sections. These techniques are used in conjunction with creative effects like reverbs, delays and filters, to create tension and release moments, as well as a feeling of the track moving forward. EQs are employed to make certain samples stand out in the intro, helping parts to develop, and sidechaining is used on multiple elements, to achieve a smoother, more cohesive mix.