Posted 2020-03-02

I recently paid the entry fee for a copy of FL Studio in order to learn to make my own dance music. I'm trying to replicate the kind of French house and disco house I've been listening to since I found out I loved dance music to the detriment of all other genres around 2015. I particularly want to make tracks with heavy kicks, Spanish and Latin percussion, and loud sidechained basslines. I also have something of a philosophy for what I don't want to make, although I find myself reaching for half-words when I try to describe it: I don't want to make anything "bedroomy", or "poppy", or "overproduced". Don't ask me to explain! I'll fail you or maybe expose my pretensions.

Like all complex tools, FL Studio comes with two initial frustrations that must be overcome. The first, more obvious frustration is the inability to achieve what you want with the tool. The second frustration is the inability to articulate what you want to do in the first place. Being stuck without the proper language to describe your goals is the biggest obstacle I've faced in a lot of my pursuits. On top of all that, whenever I've run into a problem in FL Studio I've had to assess if the problem is even worth solving: I might be trying to accomplish something that is done more easily another way, or something that can cause more problems later on. It's a lot to chew on.

The huge glut of tutorials online for FL Studio have been a big help. You can (with a little shame) type in "FL Studio [your preferred genre here]" to quickly catch up on the basic techniques needed to accomplish what you want. I find this is a pleasant way to learn because it is satisfying to have a finished product when you're done following along. Deep knowledge of all of FL Studio's plugins can come later: what I really care about is feeling satisfied with my creative output in my honeymoon phase with music production.

I'll leave you with this little thing I made after a few hours of goofing off on Sunday: I figured out the drums and the bass synth, then just slapped the pianopella of Do You Feel Me by NY's Finest on top of it. Ideally I would have made the sample louder, but here we are. I should try to make something more original, anyway, since the track is likely infringing some copyright.

Tagged: fl-studio music