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Dzierzek's Ableton Tips

Luke Dzierzek uses Ableton Live to produce all his tracks. Here he guides DJmag.com through how to make a tune from start to finish using the software.

Luke Dzierzek is part of a new wave of young and talented producers, who are utilizing the latest technology and software to produce killer dancefloor tracks.

Dzierzek produces all his tracks and remixes using the renowned software program Ableton Live 5.

Here he guides DJmag.com through how to make a tune from start to finish using the software.

Stage 1


The first thing to do is come up with a simple drum loop that's four or eight bars long.

Fine-tune the kick drum and other beats to make sure the sounds don't overlap frequencies.

It's a lot easier to work with a loop at the beginning, so don't start arranging the track till much later.

For now it's all about building a groove, and once the drums are sorted, stick a simple bassline over the top that compliments the drum patterning.

Then add some percussion, and then run it through some Ableton plug-ins to give the sounds more character and depth.

Ableton has some wicked plug-ins - I really like the 'Saturator' which is great for adding distortion and making beats sound phatter and more gritty.

In my tracks most of my percussion sounds have passed through the 'Saturator'.
Luke's a big fan of Ableton's plug-ins


Stage 2


The next step is to find some samples that compliment the drum pattern.

Either place samples over the top of certain drum sounds, to make your hook rhythm stand out, or in the gaps between beats to fill the track out.

In Ableton there's this really cool plug-in called 'Impulse' that I use to trigger samples.

This enables me to bring samples in and out of the track whenever I want, and place them in specific locations.

You should also change the velocity of some samples, to make them louder when you want definition, and quieter when you want to create tension.

Stage 3


By this point you should have a pretty decent loop going, but there'll also be quite a few effects running, so it's important to render down some of the MIDI tracks to audio, which you can then import back into Ableton.

This means less pressure on your CPU, which should help avoid the system crashing.

With rendered audio, you can add more plug-ins like a ping-pong echo or a filter to give the sounds a different twist, and audio is a lot easier to manipulate than MIDI.

Stage 4


Next comes the main bassline.

To add definition, layer other synth patterns over the top of the bassline pattern, by copying and pasting the same parts into a new MIDI track.

This is a quick and easy way of giving a track more variety, and you can bring the new synth sound in and out as desired.

Stage 5


When the loop is finished, and there's a diverse range of sounds going on across the whole frequency range, it's time to start arranging the track.

This is a good time to work on EQ, and although you should be manipulating EQ throughout the beginning stages, this stage is easiest as the loop is split into arrangement parts.

Stage 6


Next comes the mix down, but this is not something I can easily explain, as each track is different.

Just use your ears!