Producing dance music is an entirely different monster than producing other genres of music. Because dance music thrives on nuance in the sound, groove, texture, and sound design way more than more commercial genres.
This means the tools you use to produce dance music must be the best!
And nobody knows this better than Madrid-based DJ & producer James de Torres, whose latest release is a masterclass in everything that can be achieved through this style of music production. So let’s listen to the track and then have James explain how it came together…
Stream James de Torres’s Latest Single Below
released on Paul Thomas’ UV NOIR, James de Torres’ latest single bridges the gap between underground dance music and melodic progressive. It’s dark and ominous just as much as melodic and emotional.
It achieves everything that techno initially set out to do but does it in a way only James de Torres can. Pushing the boundaries of what constitutes modern dance music, this recent release is a true work of art.
Purchase your copy of the record here before diving into the best plugins James uses to make techno music below…
To me, Sylenth will always be at the top of my list. It changed my life when I started producing; I first wanted to try it in my productions, and now it’s the synth I feel most comfortable with.
There’s a massive bank of presets you can use for any kind of sound, plus the way you can create your own by changing parameters is very easy and intuitive.
Vengeance-Sound offers great folders of presets, like Avenger for Melodic Techno or presets from some producers who release their sounds. Presets from Sunny Lax, Sean Tyas or Dj THT – and many more – are available for other producers to achieve that fantastic sound they have.
Need Free Presets of Sylenth1? We got you…
Regarding music genres, I would go for Serum, as it is the synth I use the most for progressive sounds, besides Sylenth.
There are more, but I try to focus on this one for its modernity. It’s not as easy to use as Sylenth, but the sounds are unique. The skin differs from Sylenth’s, which looks more analog, while Serum is more futuristic.
Serum helps you manage the waveforms and texture of sounds; it gives you the chance to work from another perspective, not only with your ears but also with your eyes. It is not the same as using a knob as being able to edit the wave you are working with, with just a few clicks.
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Need Free Presets For Serum? We got you on that too…
NICKY ROMERO KICKSTART
An LFO is essential to give that space to high frequencies when needed, and I love this plugin because it is straightforward to use, intuitive, and works perfectly.
I recommend it for all melodic genres; no need to create sidechains with a DAW audio effect; just drop this simple plugin and choose where you want that sidechain to affect.
Check out our full review of Nicky Romero’s plugin here
Valhalla is pobably the best reverb in the VST market, in my opinion.
It is easy to use, which makes it even better; with presets or create your effects, you can deliver a fantastic atmosphere to your productions.
Is perfect for those big breaks or solo melodies, it gives more sound space, and sometimes you can work with the natural reverb of real places like cathedrals or caves.
Haven’t you clapped inside a church to hear the echo and the reverb of such a magnificent place?
FAB FILTER PRO Q
When it comes to equalizing, I always go for this one, the huge panel and the way you can work the frequencies make it my favorite. It might be the most used plugin in the industry; it works for all genres if you want to create a great mixdown.
It gives you many necessary options; you can always use the mother plugins from your DAW, but this one will sound much better, and its skin makes it much easier to use.
I discovered this one thanks to a course at Sonic Academy. It’s a plugin with which you can create your kick sound or use presets from a few essential names of the trance scene.
It gives you more possibilities to play with and may be one of the essential parts of any track.
For delay, Soundtoy’s Echoboy is one of my favorites, without a doubt. I remember discovering it at MIKE/Push studio a few years ago, and I like how it works. Easy to use, and you will get significant changes in your files. I want to use it in progressive and melodic genres when long melodies and breaks come in.
The delay you get gives more suspense to what is about to go next.