Tutorials
5
min read

How To Start Making EDM Music (Beginners Guide)

Published on
July 4, 2024

EDM music production might seem challenging if you're just starting out as a beginner.

But with the right tools, knowledge, and a little inspiration, you can start making EDM music tracks that sound great and match your preferred style.

Are you eager to learn how to create Electronic Dance Music hits that sound like the ones played by big names such as David Guetta, AVICII, or Calvin Harris? This guide is a perfect starting point.

We'll walk through the basics of EDM, the appropriate tools you need in your home studio, and the process for producing a fully-fledged melodic EDM tune.

Let’s dive right in!

Before You Start

Before producing EDM music, you should understand the basics and have the necessary tools.

EDM Basics

EDM stands for electronic dance music — a popular music style encompassing various sounds produced using drum beats, samplers, and synthesizers.

Since its early days in the underground club scene, EDM has grown into a global music force, dominating dance floors and festival stages with infectious melodies. It is more than just a genre of music; it can be considered a culture and lifestyle.

how to start making edm music

Unlike other music genres like jazz or rock, which are created around traditional instruments, EDM is produced using sounds from audio production software on a computer.

The music style cuts across many sub-genres of electronic music, including techno, house, trap, dance-pop, and more. Knowing the differences between the sounds of these sub-genres is crucial if you want to develop your distinctive sound.

Essential tools

Next, you should know the software and hardware equipment to handle your EDM music production needs.

  • Computer: This is the main instrument needed to make EDM tracks. You should have a decent-spec computer system with ample RAM (16GB or higher), a fast processor, enough storage space (SSD is preferable), and a good audio interface to ensure your music projects run smoothly.

  • Digital Audio Workstation (DAW): A digital audio workstation is the central piece of audio software for music production. You use the software program to make, edit, and arrange high-quality EDM tracks on your computer. Popular DAWs include Fruity Loops (FL Studio), Cubase, Logic, and Ableton Live, which are solid options with intuitive workflows.

  • MIDI: You need a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) to produce electronic music. You can either buy an external MIDI controller to input individual notes and drum beats or use the MIDI roll within your DAW for music production.
make edm music
  • Sample Libraries: Most DAWs have their library of audio samples and synthesizers. However, advanced EDM producers buy additional sample packs and synth libraries to create sounds and enhance their EDM music production.

  • Plugins: You can buy a plugin in your DAW to produce a specific effect. Music producers often use these plugins for special effects such as EQ, analog compression, sidechain compression, and reverb.

  • Audio Interface: Finally, you need a good audio interface to convert audio signals or files into digital ones and vice versa. It is required if you’re recording vocals with an external microphone, using a guitar, or connecting to studio monitors.

With all of these tools in place, your home studio is set, and you’re well on your way to producing great-sounding EDM music tracks.

Making EDM Music with AI

Incorporating AI into your EDM music production can significantly enhance your creativity and efficiency. SOUNDRAW, an AI Music Generator, allows you to easily create and customize royalty-free EDM music. Whether you're looking for inspiration or a solid backing for your tracks, SOUNDRAW offers a wide variety of sounds and styles to suit your needs. You can generate unique beats, melodies, and full tracks that are ready to be integrated into your projects. This not only saves time but also opens up new creative possibilities, allowing you to focus on what you want to do best—make great music.

So, load up SOUNDRAW, explore its features, and start creating your next EDM hit with the power of AI.

make edm music with ai

Creating Your First EDM Track

Making EDM music can be an exciting experience.

However, it can also be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to music production and trying your hand at it for the first time.

So, if you’re relatively new, here’s an essential process to make great-sounding EDM music for beginners.

Choose a DAW & Plugins

To get started, choose a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and plugins that meet your requirements and budget.

As mentioned, Logic Pro X, FL Studio, and Ableton Live are some of the popular DAWs most EDM producers use. Before selecting an option, review its features and consider the technical specifications and price tag (if applicable).

Once you have your DAW in place, decide on the plugins you need to infuse different unique sounds and effects. Popular plugins include Serum, Sylenth1, and Massive.

Add drums

EDM drums are big in sound but follow a fairly simple rhythm.

In most cases, they are 125 - 130 bpm (beats per minute) with a quarter-note kick pattern, snares to double up with the quarter-note, and some hi-hats. Starting with a simple drum loop is a fundamental bedrock on which you can layer other essential elements and write melodic ideas. 

Infuse chord progressions

Use your DAW’s MIDI roll creatively to add some chords.

Try playing around with different chord progressions or random notes. This is a great way to inspire melody ideas.

Another way to write catchy melodies that will naturally draw a listener’s attention is by learning major and minor scales. You can also use your phone to record melody ideas when you’re inspired.

Layer synths

Now, you have your drums, bass, chords, and a sketched melody. It’s time to move on to synthesis.

Layer lead monophonic synths close to the desired sound you’re aiming for on duplicate instances of your lead melody. Experiment with different sounds and effects to create a unique and compelling track.

Plugins such as Usynth or Analog Lab provide excellent presets for all kinds of synths you need.

Arrangement

Arrange the structure of your EDM track to build and release tension.

Typically, the song should build slowly from an intro into a verse section. A common EDM song structure is ABCDBCDA. This notation translates to:

 Intro → Verse 1 → Buildup → Drop → Verse 2 → Build-up → Drop → Outro.

Of course, you can deviate from this flow and experiment with different structures as much or as little as you want. It’s only a good starting point to understand how to arrange an EDM track.

Mix and master

Once you’ve completed the sound design and arrangement of your EDM track, it’s time to mix and master it for maximum impact.

Use mixing tools such as EQ, reverb, and compression to integrate each audio track together. Ensure they don’t overlap and that they contribute to the overall track.

In addition, choose the level and pan position of each audio track carefully to create a balance and sense of space in the overall track.

Listen

Finally, listen to your EDM track on different sound systems.

It’s important to listen with headphones, speakers, and car audio systems to ensure the track sounds best in all listening environments. If you identify any issues, make the necessary adjustments.

Ready to Drop the Beat?

When making EDM music, there are no hard and fast rules.

It’s all about staying true to yourself and creating something that sounds really good. Keep experimenting with different sounds and techniques until you find what works for you.

Remember, you must have the appropriate tools (hardware/software), understand the foundations of EDM music production, create a catchy melody, infuse good sound elements, and properly mix the overall track.

With consistent practice and dedication, you will become better at making EDM music over time.

So load up your DAW and start making the next big EDM song!

Not sure where to start? Try creating a few songs with SOUNDRAW to get some inspiration!