European techno has long surpassed superstar status and Patrice Bäumel is on the top shelf. The appeal of monolithic bass has drawn nocturnal party people all under the shroud of black. Influence of traditional genres has been broken down by a few small groups of producers changing dance music’s trend. Patrice is no stranger to these teams. He’s built a catalog through labels such as Kompakt, MFR Recs, Get Physical, K7, Systematic, Diynamic, Trouw and Turbo (aka legends). The refined yet extremely complex trend of big room techno
The refined yet extremely complex trend of big room techno is the frame for deep house tones of extreme melody. As the next record from Afterlife (AL004), Patrice joins Tale of Us to deliver entrancing bass-driven techno. Afterlife is taking club sounds to the mainstream in an ever-expanding reach of the Euro-transplants residing in Berlin. By adhering to a strict regimen of techno, Amsterdam’s Patrice Bäumel has already made an impact as his Dj tenure approaches a decade.
In advance of his upcoming record on Afterlife, we asked Patrice to share what’s helps when the doors are closed. Based on the quality control of the label who support his records, you already know Patrice is an expert in the tech. Hear what he has to stay about keeping your studio chi in check and sound aligned.
1. Be economic.
Any element that does not serve a clear purpose but is simply decoration should be deleted, otherwise it just obscures the core idea. My best productions usually have less than 15 different elements in them. Also, I try to never waste a bar of music on useless repetition. I make my tracks as long as necessary but as short as possible in order to avoid watering down the essence.
2. Respect your biorhythm.
Know what your productive hours are. Know when to sleep. My best hours are between 6am and 11am, that’s where I get 90% of my work done. I never work at night, going to bed past 1am means I will not have any good ideas the next day. Also, I prefer a short but super-productive working day, 4-5 hours. Working with checklists helps me keep focussed on the task at hand.
3. Reuse basic elements.
I have a small library with my favourite kick drums, hihats, synth and bass sounds. I reuse them frequently. That saves me a ton of time plus it keeps my overall sound consistent. Spending days listening to hundreds of drum samples is a huge waste of time.
4. Start with the hook.
The hook is the catchy bit that other people will remember your track by. A hit record always has a standout element, a hook that won’t leave your brain for days. I have often wasted time investing lots of effort in a track that didn’t have that hook, that was all potatos but no meat. Only on rare occasions have those tracks found their way into people’s hearts. The phrase “don’t polish a turd” is popular in production circles for a reason. I usually look for really dominant but fairly simple sounds that stand out. Only when I have found such a sound will I move on to the next phase and start building the rest of the track. Usually, everything falls into place effortlessly from here on out.
5. Bypass the brain
Instead of trying to come up with ideas in your head, find ways to create happy accidents and chaos. Play like a child, switch your brain off. We all think in similar ways, so most things coming from your brain will not be all that unique, basically your shit will sound pretty conventional most of the time. Some producers are good at masking this by having great production technique, but I think it is much easier to stand out with fresh ideas that have been generated by pure randomness and luck. I built a career on this method. It is my way of overcoming my non-existing knowledge of music theory and inability to play an instrument.