I have made an interesting discovery recently. Dupstep is… surprisingly easy. Actually, just about any genre.
I had a really hard time for a while trying to figure out how to make the sounds that a lot of producers use, but I realized that the specific sounds don’t actually matter (usually- a wobble bass is pretty much required). Basically just mess around with settings until you get something that sounds cool. Slap it in, and repeat.
It is more complicated than that, with some weird triple/duple shenanigans, but generally a good drum-line will sort that out for you.
That’s the other important thing I discovered. Don’t just fill the drums with bass- they will sound flat and boring, and won’t cut through the rest of the audio, and they’ll get in the way of the bass instruments (which really have to stand out). Mix in some random cymbal crashes and high-hats (not actually random, but in regular, repeating patterns. That’s what loops are for! But don’t forget to change it up).
The most important thing I discovered is this, which is something I picked up from composer Eric Nielson when we were talking recently: never repeat a piece of music exactly the same.
This was in the context of orchestral scores, but it applies just as much, if not more. Having a repeating melody is important, but if it’s exactly the same, It will get boring, (for example Beethoven’s fifth. He has the same theme, but it is never exactly the same twice.) It doesn’t matter how cool the melody is, it will get boring, almost guaranteed. You don’t have to change much, just add an element to the drum line (or take one out,) change the cutoff, or change the melody or harmonies up a tiny bit, but NEVER have the exact same thing twice.
Repetition is key (repetition is key) but variety is the spice of life.
Agreed on all counts. Repetition for structure while keeping the melody totally spicy. Variation adds great value to any music.