Techno has exploded in the production space as the rise in popularity of the genre has expanded on a global scale.
But unlike other genres of dance music; techno is about soul, groove, texture, and detail. These are things many newer producers hardly even know to look for, but come as second nature to artists like Hannes Bieger.
Hannes Bieger has been one of Europe’s most sought after mixing and mastering engineers for techno producers for years, and his recent step into the spot showcases the man’s wondrous aptitude for creating truly polished productions.
Having been awed by his latest Balance Mix compilation, we asked Hannes to come back to chat about 20 high-level tips he uses every day to create professional-level techno.
1. Every Track Starts With A Single, Strong Idea
Always begin a track with a good idea or an open mind. Sometimes you might have something in your head already, or you start developing an idea from scratch once you get to the studio.
Either way, see answer 2!
2. Know When To Take A Step Back And Adjust
Only work on music when you are ready for it!
If you don’t have the feeling you’re easily getting into a creative flow, chances are you might just waste your time and get frustrated. Better to take a step back then. It might be a good idea to organize your sound libraries, read a synth manual or create some one shot samples with characterful effects.
If you’re lucky, inspiration will strike along the way, or at least you have done something useful.
3. Avoid Distractions. Stay Focused.
Making music at a professional level requires you to eliminate all distractions at times.
Checking your phone all the time might prevent you from getting deeper into the music.
I have the feeling many artists enjoy working at night because the phone never rings…
4. Listen First, Speak Later
Learn to listen before you even think about speaking.
This may sound a little harsh, but music is communication, and it’s never a bad idea to only say something when you actually have something to say.
5. Think Differently
Think outside the box, especially when you’re doing something new on a song.
6. Don’t Look Back
The quickest way to ruin a track is to question all your previous decisions. This will slow down the process a lot.
It will water down the results and confuse you. Be bold and stick to decisions you have made!
7. Be Yourself (Even When You Don’t Want To Be)
With every track that you make, you should be pushing yourself to be a more original version of yourself.
It can be hard and frustrating when you try to set the bar higher with literally everything you do, but I think it’s a good general goal to develop and refine your own handwriting.
8. Trust Your Gut
Before calling a track finished, always consult your gut feelings.
If something feels off, it most likely is off.
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9. Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
The artists I love collaborating with most are always artists.
This may sound like a pun, but I mean it! Collaborations are all about the whole being bigger than the sum of its parts, and I love getting inspired by other musicians.
10. Never Stop Learning
Never start thinking you know it all, or even enough.
As soon as you do that you’ll stop listening closely, and then everything goes downhill immediately.
11. Music Is…
Always listen to your heart.
Music is a labor of love.
12. Learn To Know When It’s Finished
I know when to quit producing a track when it tells me to do so.
Even if you had a plan, at some point the track will take a life on its own, and it will guide you to what it needs to be complete.
13. Invest In Your Space Early
Investing in inspiring instruments and high quality monitor speakers is the best way to spend money when you’re a beginner.
Investing in inspiring instruments and high quality monitor speakers is the best way to spend money when you’re trying to go pro.
15. Push Yourself, Not Your Gear
It’s not about the equipment, it’s about the ears, the vision, and the craft that gets you there. This may sound like super generic advice, but I think it’s actually very important.
The key is to make it work with whatever you have at the time. If you’re not getting in the habit of constantly pushing the envelope, better gear will only help you so much.
16. Listen To The Pros
Never let labels confuse you; actually, listen to what they say, they usually know what they do…
17. Immerse Yourself In Your Craft
Spend more time on your skills if you want to create better tracks.
Knowledge is power, and the better versed you are in all things production, the more effortlessly your session will flow, as you will get things done without struggling too much.
18. Think Less. Do More.
Spend less time on thinking about your skills if you want to create better tracks.
The best things happen when you don’t overthink what you’re doing, when you just stay in the creative flow. And for that to happen it helps when you know what you’re doing, and when you have acquired the routine to get things done.
Practice is king!
You can never go wrong when you trust your gut instinct. I can remember many situations where I didn’t follow my gut instincts when I worked on a track, and later I regretted it bitterly.
Don’t make that mistake too often.
When you have a gut feeling about anything, take it seriously!
20. Prepare For The Long Haul
I would have never got to where I’m at without coffee.