The embodiment of passion, spontaneity and innovation, Noir has carved the roots of the underground house and techno scene since his emergence in 2004. In a time of electronic music saturation, his refusal to settle for mediocracy has pivoted his name to a reign amongst the international music scene. Passion informs his practice; heart is the power behind his creativity, he is soulfully dynamic, zealous and above all, dedicated to the community of music. Powerful performances that amass bass driven movement with energetic highs, that resonate with each heart in the crowd. Noir has an implicit ability to craft music that channels raw, emotive and dark songs that exude a level of sophisticated house and techno production.
Pioneer of underground electronic music and an undeniable forecaster, NOIR is an industry leader and curator through his multifaceted approach to the industry. He is the owner of successful music labels, Noir Music, NM2 and Klimaks Records, which were formed to house his ever so variant taste and create a platform for stars to be seen and heard in the musical landscape, producing over 300 releases in the past 12 years, and held multiple top ten spots on the RA and Beatport charts.
Celebrating his latest release ‘Damage Control’, Noir shares five tips in music production.
Music is a feeling so you should never force it. Produce music when you feel inspired, motivated and it excites you. If you force the music it will usually end up being average and worst case scenario it will kill your motivation to produce more. Inspiration can come from a feeling inside of you, something you experience on a trip or in everyday life. It can come from hearing music from other artists, djs and tastemakers or it could just be a random idea in your head. But the general motivation to make music should be there. If it excites you – you will feel more creative and sometimes experience that the music almost writes itself as you go.
02. Mix and arrange as you go
Over the years I used different techniques to finish my tracks and to not stay in loop-mode with unfinished track/ideas that got lost along the way. Creative heads have a million ideas but most of them stays on storyboard and in loop-mode and they keep adding to the loops almost ruining what started out as a great idea, melody, groove, beat or whatever. I am very much guilty of that. I have a ton of ideas that are 8-64 bar loops of great music packed with random “filler” stuff on top that never did any good for the actual idea and in the end killed it.
So for me the best thing to do is to both mix and arrange as you go.
Mixing: I always try to do the mixdown as I go. Whatever I add to the track I mixdown constantly to always makes things sit right, so I don’t have any mess to clean up once the track is done. If something doesn’t sit right in the mix – it’s probably not supposed to be there or you are using the wrong sound/element for that specific idea. I often mute channels to hear if they are even necessary in my track or if they sound right when added back in. The cliché of “less is more” is very valuable when producing music.
Arranging: Start arranging the track as soon as you can. This will take you out of loop-mode and it will also make you realize if your ideas/elements are good enough to be more than just a loop. You will hear if the individual parts are strong enough to build a track around + once you have separated some of the stuff it 9/10 times inspires you to change it up or write something entirely new on top.
Try not to have a template when you produce music. Try not to use the same beats, synths and even workflows. Stepping out of the comfort zone from time to time can be worth gold and often creates magic pieces. This way you also discover new techniques and get new ideas all the time. The music making keeps you excited and your music gets more and more unique because you incorporate all the different workflows in your own taste in music.
I never used a template when I produce music. I never created something I could use over and over again. Listening back to my music some of it sounds similar. Even tracks where I used completely different synths sounds like they came from the same source.
And they did…… They came from ME. My taste in music. What turns me on is what made me tweak them into sounding the same. But along the way I always felt like I learned something new. I do everything myself from beginning to end of each track.
I even find it hard to collaborate with others because I have become a control freak and perfectionist when it comes to producing music. So experimenting is very important to keep me excited about the music.
04. Add layers / Make it your own
There are a lot of unique synths and efx out there to make your music special.
But whatever you are using….. In theory….. Someone else could make the same thing.
That’s why it doesn’t take long for popular trends to be copied and over float the charts/market. What you can do to make your music “your own” is to layer your sounds/instruments. Why only has one pad running when you can have multiple and make the sound even wider and full? Why only has one lead when four make it sound more special? Why only has one bass-sound when 3 on top of each other make it more powerful and unique? I myself use layering a lot. The trick is to know when to stop and more importantly “what doesn’t need another layer”. But that all comes with experience and especially watching the frequencies so they don’t end up phasing each other out.
05. Rest ears / Have patience
We all know the feeling of making a super-hot tune in the evening. Going to bed. Waking up the next day to listen to the music again and all of a sudden it’s not the hot anymore. This is a classic example of resting your ears and hearing the music with fresh ears to have a more objective feeling again. Sometimes you instantly hear what needs to be fixed. Other times you just hear shit and drop it. I learned to go a little further. I usually take weeks of rest on my tracks before I go back and check if they are good enough. How do I do that ???? I just work on other tracks in the meantime and go back to the “finished music” when I have to give the new stuff a rest.
It’s amazing what difference that makes. It’s amazing how much clearer your hear the music and how many new ideas it sparks to take your tracks from being “average” to “great”. Having patience with the music when you feel it’s finished is the hardest thing but it is so important to the finished result and for you feel happy with it months after its send to labels, released or whatever happened to it. To achieve patience I usually work on 3-4 tracks/ideas at a time so I keep myself busy once it’s time to rest ears on whatever track I feel is finished.
On top of that I am so fortunate that I can test the tracks in the clubs around the world every weekend. See the reactions and hear them on different sound systems. I must admit……. That also makes a big difference to the end result.
Check Noir’s complete discography here.