September 12, 2011  |   Ableton Tutorials

Ableton Live Beatmaking Session 1 – Juke / Future Garage

Welcome to the first in a new series of live beatmaking videos brought to you by Point Blank’s music production guru Danny J Lewis.

Danny, otherwise known as Enzyme Black and with releases on labels such as Defected, Ministry of Sound and his own imprint Enzyme Black Recordings, will be making these videos on the fly using Ableton Live and Novation’s Launchpad controller to trigger samples and midi clips. Each week he will show you some creative ways to use these tools whilst attempting to emulate a particular type of sound or genre… and this is where you come in.

Each week we want your suggestions of what genre or sound you would like to see Danny create. You can make your suggestions in several places: in the comment section below these blog posts, below the previous week’s video on Youtube, you can respond to us on Facebook, or get in touch via Twitter. Don’t be afraid to get creative and your suggestion could be the next one we chose!

Last week Miguel Marquez was one of those who hit up our facebook page; he wanted to hear us have a go at the Future Garage sound with a touch of the Juke influences that have been prevalent in clubland over the last 12 months… so your wish Miguel was our command. Danny cast off his deep and soulful shackles to delve into a world of booming bass, classic drum machines, off-kilter 2-step percussion,  and syncopated stabs and this is what he came up with:

Be sure to comment either beneath this post, on youtube or our facebook page with your thoughts and questions about the video and don’t forget to leave Danny your genre suggestions for the next video!

Danny J Lewis is the head of course development at Point Blank’s online music production school. If you want to learn more about producing or performing with this unique piece of software, check out our whole range of Ableton Live Courses.

Video Transcript

Hi, this is Danny J. Lewis, always known as Enzyme Black and I’m an instructor and course developer here at Point Blank Online. Now this is the first in a new series of videos. I’ve got the Novation Launchpad here. I’m going to be doing some beat making, and this is in the style of juke or dark garage, as suggested by Miguel Marquesfrom the Facebook page. So each week we’re going to ask you guys to make suggestions, and I’m going to build up the beat. There’s going to be a camera top-down on the actual pad itself. You’re going to see what’s going on in Ableton as well. So you’re going to see the programming, any of the effects, all these kind of things that I’m going to be adding as I go.

Let’s get to it. You can see now the Ableton screen and also the Launchpad here. I’ve got set up three instruments. I’ve got these as drum racks. The first one, some sounds that I’ve chosen. The second one, this 808 kit. Real classic sounds for that juke style. And this one here is just a collection of stabs. So I’m going to jam on top. I’ve got the tempo set to 140 bpm. I’ve got record quantization on, so that when I’m playing, it’s going to lock into the nearest position in the grid. That’s just for speed. The clips themselves, these are two bars in length, so all of these are set and ready to go. And what I’m going to do is I’m just going to jam on top and see what happens. I’ve also got my cue on my keyboard switching the over dub on and off so I can try ideas out first, and then commit them to the actual click.

Let’s see what happens. Let me put the click on. I’m just going to roll with it, see what occurs. So, that’s a kick drum, just a little foundation kick. I’m going to go for a little shaker. That’s cool. And a clap. It’s going to sound quite nice. It’s quite an atmospheric sound. Okay, this other clap. So you see what’s happening is like a chord and response kind of vibe where this clap over here, this one here is responding to that. So that’s working nice. I’m just going to take the shaker down a little bit. I’m not that concerned with mixing at the moment. We just want to make it sound reasonably good for you guys to listen to. I can take the click off now. Let me just add some extra bottom end with the 808 kick. That’s working nicely. So we see a very heavy sound. It’s overpowering the mix at the moment.

I’m just going to check out the hats. Let me just have a jam around with that first, something like that, I think. The Novation Launchpad basically transmits at the same velocity. So I can’t do any subtleties at the moment. That would have to come later if I wanted to do that. So it’s not responding to velocity when I hit. It’s just literally note on and note off.

Think about these toms. The way I’m going to do them is I’m going to roll off the lows, particularly this one because it’s quite heavy, so I’m going to use an EQ3. It’s going to bring the frequency down. I’m going to take this and just copy it over onto the other one, so drag and drop. That’s working nicely. Now let me come back to the first kick. This snare I’m going to bring up in volume. That’s here. It’s going to end. I’m just going to bring up the clip so you can see that, just recently recorded in there.

So I think that’s working really nicely for the main beat. So you can see the programming here and then over here. What I want to do now is experiment with some of these stab sounds and see if I can find something that can sit on top and get a nice little sort of edgy musical vibe. Let’s see what happens. When we get that second bit, maybe another section. Try that one, the M1 organ. I’m not liking the first two, maybe another one. This one here I like, but the tuning seems wrong. I’m just going to come into it simpler. Just trying to think of a place to put that. Yeah, I think there. Let me try some of the others if they need tuning. Yeah, like that.

There’s an aspect I like of that sound pool, but there’s another aspect I don’t like. I’m going to thin it out, I think. Where is that? It’s not this one. Let me find it. It could be this one. Let’s see again. That’s the one. So what I’m going to do with this EQ3 is roll that off the bass, so we got just that vocal. I’m just going to bring the volume down. So there you go. That’s the beat, two kits. You can see here the programming, the 808 to provide that fatness and the real classic flavor there. And then the stabs to add a little bit of a musical vibe on top.

Next week get your suggestions forward about the kind of style that you’d like me to cover in the video. And also if you have any questions about what I’ve been doing here on this video, please put them up on the Facebook page. So get those suggestions in, and I look forward to doing the same thing next week.