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The Art Of The EDM Build Up

Hey Ninjas

Everyday, I get countless of messages regarding the build up of tracks and how to make them.

In todays article we are gonna discuss the theory behind the perfect build up.

We will be using known EDM songs to dissect them and explain how and why their build ups work.

If you have any request for tutorials leave them in the comments.

What Is The Build Up?


A build up is going to be the transition from the breakdown of a song to the drop.

The Build is an area of a song where the energy of a song increases and builds momentum towards the higher energy of the song which is the drop.

Seems simple right ?

But why do so many people have problems with EDM Build ups?

There are a couple of questions that arise and today we will discuss them

What Does A Build Up Need To Have ?

This question is a very bland one as in other to give you the perfect answer we need to know what GENRE of music you are making to begin with .

I will answer this question with a very generic answer that will help most genres.

  1. Uplifters: will be FX that can be found inside Samples packs that will aid in transition from the beginning of the breakdown to the end. Will usually be White Noise being opened up by a filter.

  2. Downlifters : Downlifter will be used at the beginning of the build up to alert the listener that the build up is about to start. These will be the opposite of Uplifters.

  3. Impact: The impact is one of the most important effects you will use at the start of the build up to alert a transition. It also helps mask the transition so it sounds more fluent. Careful with these as people tend to use them in the drops and they don't work there.

  4. Riser: Similar to the Uplifter except this one is optional and used mainly in genres of heavy drops like Big Room, Trap, Bass House, and many more. Will usually be a synth being pitched up to create tension. This one is optional but can be seen used in Progressive House and the melodic genres now and then.

  5. Snare Build: Helps transition by creating tension. Depending on the genre you are creating this one will either be 16 bars, 8 bars, or 4 bars long. Usually melodic genres don't tend to have long Build ups like Tropical House so make sure to reference songs to make sure how long they can be.

Those are some of the elements Build ups need to have and can be seen in most songs. Now we move on to techinques to make a build up even better.

What Techniques Can You Use To Get A Better Build Up?


are the biggest thing you can possibly do to get a bigger build up. Gladly there's a plugin that does all this for you in order to get the most out of your builds ups.Automation

I can see a lot of you already shaking your heads but this plugin puts all the automation work into one simple knob.

I personally use it and it helps.

Lets say you don't want to fork 40$ well here are some tips.

1. Cut the Low End of your track as the build up approaches the drop and bring the low end back to full volume when the drop happens. (Biggest problem I see in early producers is that they keep the bass present through the build resulting in a drop as loud as the build up.) Do a high pass on the master!!

2. Automate Reverb on your build up to push the mix back and soften it. Once the drop arrives you want to easy up on it back to 0 to be at full power again. This one is simple and usually I recommend just a tad bit of it. It's applied to the master.

3.Automate DELAY on your build up but not too much to get a nice effect and increase the tension even more. Again just 10-30% is fine for the desired effect and during the fill to your drop you remove it.

4. Automate Volume by a few DB and bring it back to 0DB on the master when the drop happens. This will create some change in volume to aid in making the drop sound bigger and making the build up fit better.

You can get more creative with this so try to find new techniques to try out but these will really help in getting your build up to sound like the pros.

What About My Melody and Sounds?

Another thing people need to realize about build ups is that you just don't have the elements of Uplifters and Downlifters.

Think of the build up as a way to direct your listeners fluently into the drop.

How do we DO THAT?

Besides effects we can tease the drop by slowly filtering the melody of the drop in as the build up approaches it 0:30. You can hear how they bring in the melody in this track.


We can use the synths in the drop to create our own uplifter!

This can be seen done in a lot of songs like for instance Jay Eskars at 00:40

Each genre will be different so if we are making a trap song reference trap music and vice versa.


These are the basics when it comes to build ups and literally everything you need to know.

Build ups are easy but hard to master as there needs to be automation done to almost everything in the track while we move from the Break to the Drop.

If you have any questions regarding any of the material please make sure to leave the comments down below.



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