Well, hello there! I thought we’d talk a bit about arrangement today.
While you might not think arrangement is a big deal, I’ll tell you it’s a well-known fact that many DJs won’t play your record if the arrangement sucks. Plenty of DJs, myself included, will spend hours editing their sets to flow together like butter. But that’s another story. Getting your tracks to peak and breathe is going to take a bit of schooling and a lot of listening.
You’re probably gonna kill me here, but again: The first step to getting arrangement right is—Anyone? Anyone? Bueller… Bueller…—listen to your favorites. Listening to your favorite producers in any genre of music is huge, simply because there’s a formula and it works.
When it comes to electronica, gigantic intros are a pain in the ass to mix, as well as not putting beats at the end of the track, meaning more time in the studio editing so that the sets flow. I mean, come on, will it kill you to put four bars of beats at the end? Or fade the sounds out so it ends up just being beats? Sounds like I’m nagging, but you have no idea how many DJs bitch about this.
Once you’ve spent time and you understand the formula, a great way to cheat with this is to import the track into your sequencer and simply copy the arrangement. Soon, you will be a pro and not need to do this—but it might help you in the beginning.
One of the great things about having experience with DJing is knowing how the crowd will react. This is something the bedroom producer never gets to see. For example, I know that no matter what people say, big drops go down well for every genre of electronic music; it simply sells records. However, it’s important nowadays to stay away from the old-fashioned crashes and “ravey” breakdowns. deadmau5 is a perfect example of how to do a perfect modern breakdown. It doesn’t have to be cheesy; it just needs to be powerful. Of course, there are some producers who do not want this kind of impact in their music, as it would not suit the productions they are making. So it really is a judgment call on your part, dependent on the production style you’re going for.