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Tech House Basics: Call and Response with Fx and Drum Fills



Hello,

in this blog article, I'm going to teach you the power of Fx in Tech House.

We will be aiming for a kinda modern Tech House sound you hear at the clubs.



The Idea


For this tutorial, I made a small first drop/brake with a basic short 30-second intro.

So if you are ready let's dive right into it.


Let us break down the standard beat that we have.


It sounds good on its own but kinda lost in context. And that's where fx comes in handy.



Can you hear the professional touch as well as the glue it gives throughout this demo?

It immediately sounds way more complete.



Why even use Fx?


The question is why not.

Overusing Fx can be a downgrade in professionalism and also musicality, yes.

But if used correctly, you achieve a cohesive sound.

A somewhat professional sounding piece of Drums and Bassline - connected together.

Let me explain what I mean by that.


Fx and changeups are usually used in 8 or 16 Bar divisions for almost every kind of Dance music.



If used correctly as shown in the image above you can create tension, and/or release tension with different types of Uplifters, Noises, Crashes, and down lifters.


The marked parts every 8 bars are our impact points. This is where something is about to happen.



Focus on something and stick to it


Here comes the magic. It's the drum fill, which I count as somewhat

an Fx. It happens every 8 bars, without excuses.



Imagine The yellow markers are getting connected with those black lines.

The drum fill, in that case, is our black line. As you can see in the image below, every 8 bars.


The listener got something to hold onto.


It could be an Fx sound as well, just keep in mind that something happens.



Adding the same drum fill, isn't that boring?


Well, you're kinda right - that would be the case if we develop the

track to something longer.

BUT the drum fill sits so far back in the mix, that the listener won't even recognize it at all.

It just introduces somethings happening NOW. It transports the energy as well as a feeling of knowing what's going on, and that something is about to happen.



8 or 16 Bars are feeling "normal" and almost everyone knows that it's time for a change. That's how our ears work. And of course the ears of our audience.



Check it out and listen to the Fx channels only



Switch it up in the context


As being said, we're using the same drum fill BUT - we are changing up our Fx sounds for that.


And here comes the changeup. The drum fill is the same, but since the Fx's are changing, from down lifters to noise, over to uplifters and a siren, as well as crashes you're having a familiar sound in the back, while something new happens more upfront.



The call and response


You have to keep in mind that Fx works as a Call and response.

In this case, every 8 bars, something is about to happen - OR - something is about to get released.


For example, after 8 bars when the down lifter fades, I start to introduce my crashes, as they get heavier I release the tension in context with the Snare Uplifter with some white noise.


In Bar 24 to 25 the drum fill is getting played dry to let it pop trough.


In bar 33 however, I start bringing in a settle uplifter as well to introduce that something new is coming up, but in context with the drum fill.


The list goes on till the end where I release a Siren with automated Reverb to lead into the breakdown of the track. Be creative and changeup samples to your needs.

You get the idea.


For instance, let's listen to the Raw siren Sample


After adding some EQ, compression, and sidechain it sounds like this


You can somewhat use vocals for Fx as well, check out what happens if you kinda drain them in delays and cut them accordingly - they make the picture complete and help to transition throughout the song. You immediately get a bigger frequency response. Imagine those vocals were dry, no impact at all.



Summary


Fx is - if being used wisely - something you should add to make a track sound complete.

I can't even think of a track, without some kind of Fx. It might be crazy Fx like Uplifters upfront, or even crashes, transitional Cymbals, or just White Noise.


Just keep a successful formula in your head. Every - 8 - 16 - or 32 - Bars, something is happening.


With the help of Fx, you can keep the Track interesting as well as helping new elements or changeups being introduced, released, or carried.


Be creative with what kind of Fx you want to use in your track, and make it fit your likings.

Lastly, I want you to keep in mind that you might want to take a reference and check the leveling of the track.

Your Fx has to sit nicely in the mix, to Loud Fx can destroy a track really easily.

Also, be careful with samples that have loud resonances. They kill people's ears in the club or if someone cranks the speakers to enjoy your masterpiece.


For the demo track, I exclusively used sounds from Deceiver vol 1 and 2 - so if you like what you hear, go check them out!


Additionally for those wondering, the Bass sound is a patch in Serum called BA - Sine is the Way2 - which - also can be found in Deceiver Vol 1. Just added a bit of Distortion and EQ.

Hope you learned something from it, just be creative, especially for FX, there are NO Limits,

just experiment and come up with something!

You can always use samples as a good starting point.


Have fun producing - if you got any questions or tutorial suggestions feel free to hit me up on Instagram:

@_simenga


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