Hey guys, my name is Justin.
I’m here in New York City at 343 Labs.
And today I’m going to show you how to make house music.
Now, I know you might be thinking, What do you mean house music?
Well, don’t worry, because we’re just going to give you a basic kind of template of the classic style of the genre for where it comes from.
There are tons of different strains of house music. I myself, got my start producing records and releasing records on the legendary Todd Terry’s label, who is responsible for basically inventing house music in New York City.
And so today, what I’m going to be demonstrating is something very out of top, Terry. It’s also going to have its roots in Chicago house, which influenced him extremely.
And there’s even going to be maybe elements of what you might describe as the UK.
So let’s jump right in.
First of all, I have here a full loop.
And I’m gon na play it for you.
And I’m gon na kind of walk through the steps of putting this together.
All right, cool.
So the very, very first thing with house music before you get to your baseline, before you get your chord stabs, or anything like that, right, is what happens in the high house.
So we’re gon na jump right in there, okay.
And I’m going to explain to you how you get that jackin house vibe, immediately.
It’s very straightforward.
But if you don’t know how to do it, you’re kind of always going to be like, What?
How do they get this out?
Alright, so the very first thing you do, right, is pull up some nine knights, right?
909 high hats are the quintessence of the house music sound, right?
This is the drum machine that really started on the shutter.
So what I’m going to have is a tight high hat, a medium-high hat, and then an open hi-hat, right.
And the way that I’ve arranged these is as follows.
Okay, so very simple, right?
Now, this will sound very different, if it’s not swung, right.
So the very first thing I’m gon na do is create a group that has 16th note relationships.
So what I mean by that is there should be multiple instances where there are high hats that are separated only by a division of a 16th.
And the reason for that is because I’m able to group pool, and I’m going to select a groove that has some nice swing to it; I’m going to apply it to my high hats, right.
So, as you can see, I’ve selected from two different groups.
And if we click on this one, we can hear we have that nice little giddy-up kind of vibe, right, which is what swing is.
So I’m going to do is, I’m going to apply that right to my groove.
And I’m going to make sure that we now have that swing vibe, right?
So if I throw the kickback in, believe it or not, it’s also 909.
Right, we immediately have that house vibe.
So all I need to do now is
So that clap back in.
And right there, we just have a super basic kind of prototypical house group, right?
Once I have my beat together.
The next thing I’m going to do is I’m actually going to find a vocal sample, right.
And so for house music, the most classic thing is to grab like a female gospel or soul or disco vocal of some sort, right?
It’s a little cliche, I’m not gon na lie, but when done properly, it just kind of gives you that instant classic house music vibe.
So I grabbed a sample from Lolita Holloway called love sensation.
So the next thing that I’m going to do is I’m going to add in some chord steps, right?
So this is like a super, you know, standard kind of house chord thing.
So all of these are our minor chords, right?
A lot of the time with house music, you’ll have minor sevenths, or major sevens, but you can also just have a minor chord.
And this kind of gives you almost like a jazzier vibe, believe it or not, because what you can do is you can get away with using smaller intervals, that creates kind of interesting tensions.
So if we listen to the beat now with the chord stabs and right, we have a very, very classic kind of Chicago five.
So the other thing I should point out with the chords, right, is set them to a delay out of return track.
And using return tracks for house music is super important actually.
Because what it allows us to do is it allows us to retain the power of all of our sounds, which we want with house music. That’s the whole point. We want power and drive, while also getting effects in there, right.
So if I solo, my delay, we hear what’s coming through, right.
So now, of course, the final step is to add the baseline.
Now, this is where actually most things go wrong. There’s a very simple way to make a house music baseline.
And to the same extent, there’s a very simple way to add chords on top of that.
Now I chose to start with chords. That’s just the process I used this time.
If you’re using a baseline, what I’m about to say also holds true entirely.
So what you want to do is take the groove of your chords, right.
And what you want to do is take that groove, and literally just mirror it in your baseline, hit those exact same notes.
This is the secret to house music, right?
Find a basic groove and accentuate different points of that groove at a different moment.
But don’t try to add a baseline that has a completely different rhythm than your chords. It’s going to throw the whole thing off, it’s not going to quite gel together.
So if we listened to the baseline, I added it now.
We can hear it’s perfectly underneath those chords, right?
Not fighting, it all feels like it’s working together as one unit.
So now the reason that that is so useful as a kind of technique is because I could take away my chords at any moment, and it still feels like it’s the same track.
So letting it ride out, maybe not in this partner section, I take out the chords.
And now that’s just useful because what it allows you to do is use each element to play with energy, right.
And that’s what house music is really all about.
It’s about playing with energy.
And so on that note, in fact, one final thing that I’ve added to this just for like arrangement purposes, that is super useful is a sustained string.
This is like a very classic kind of style and technique in house music.
So if we listen to this now, right, you probably recognize that for almost every house song you ever listen to.
And so if we put that all together now, right, we can make a really, really quick arrangement, just from these pieces that we have here, right?
All we have to do is start with the beat.
And then we’ll bring in the stabs.
And then we’ll bring in the baseline.
So you start right, just like this for eight bars.
Gonna make you with all that.
Now we skip ahead right to a nice bar.
Maybe pull out the bass picks for this last part.
And that’s honestly the basic structure of house music.
Now, if we want to make this group jump a little bit more, right.
One thing that you may have noticed in the video earlier in the video, is I muted some snares.
These are just again some 909 snares and this is a great way to kind of just make your groove jump a little bit more, right.
So you start without the snares.
And then when the snares come in, it gives you that little bit of extra.
And notice I actually have my snares in the same MIDI file as my hats.
And the reason for that is because I want them to have the exact same type of swing.
The whole idea with house music that most people don’t fully understand when they start starting to try to make it is everything has to work cohesively as one unit. You really want it to come across like it’s one group, you don’t want to hear every different part distinctly necessarily, you want
So the last thing maybe I’ll just come in and show you is how to get your baseline right to be rounded off and powerful.
And again, what I’m about to say is most people who are starting in this field mess up and even on an intermediate level, when you’re designing your house, music baseline, right, whether it’s house, techno, deep house, whatever vibe it is, it’s dance music, though
And what ends up happening is you get little moments of phase cancellation, where the super low end power gets lost, and it kind of comes in and out.
So when you just have one waveform, and honestly most of the time, if you choose a square wave, you’re gonna be in the best shape because that most resembles the harmonic characteristics of a sine wave, then you’re gonna have a very powerful baseline, right
And you get that nice something that’s stabby but also powerful at the same time, right.
Alright, so we add that string back in.
Maybe take out the kid for a second.
right all right back into it.
As someone once said to me, house music is all about just getting your simple parts. The rest is gravy.
Thanks for tuning into this tutorial on how to make house music.
Again, my name is Justin back.