5 Amazing Musicians Using Ableton Live

Skrillex Diplo Bieber Where are u now
Technology has had a radical impact on the way we make music today, taking the focus away from big recording studios with hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment in favor of a 13-in Macbook Pro loaded with the right software. Rising hip-hop producer Mr. Carmack sums it up perfectly with this tweet:


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Most recording studios today run a software called Pro Tools, a powerful program that is great for classic recording, mixing, and mastering jobs, but falls a little short when it comes to the demands of today’s musicians. Enter Ableton Live, one of the younger DAWs in the game, which has already garnered a huge following among musicians for its quick workflow, powerful features, and live performance mode. To help shed some more light on the Ableton-craze, we’ve picked out 5 amazing producers doing groundbreaking work

Diplo

Diplo‘s work in the dance music world is all over the place, from his solo work, to collaborations with Skrillex as power-duo Jack Ü, and Switch as the group Major Lazer, not to mention heading up indie label Mad Decent. His productions first started gaining notoriety in 2007 after he produced “Paper Planes” for MIA, but since then he’s had numerous hits, most notably 2015’s “Where Are U Now“, a collaboration between Jack Ü and Justin Bieber, and “Lean On“, the lead single off of Major Lazer’s Peace is the Mission. Diplo Nytimes

It’s a real writer’s program. One good thing about not reading any manuals or anything is that you’ve gotta play all day with it. I just like to DJ and scratch shit up. I love making straight-up 8-bit, nasty Nintendo sounds.

Henrik Schwarz

Also a DJ, producer, and remixer, among a slew of other things, Henrik Schwarz has been making beats and rocking dance floors since 2002. He has also branched outside of the techno world to collaborate with famous pianist Bugge Wesseltoft for an album, Duo, and live performance that saw them grace the stage of Jazz Festivals and Concert Halls around the world.

Schwarz Wesseltoft
Henrik uses Ableton for both production and performance, though sometimes there is little difference between the two for him, and he relies heavily on software for all of his work. He’s even built a Max For Live plugin, the Schwarzonator, to help him stay in key. Be sure to catch him at this year’s Together Boston Festival!

Flying Lotus

A legend of the LA Beats scene, FlyLo might once have been seen as the second coming of Dilla, but his wild and exploratory concept albums have proven that he has his own unique character to bring to the jazz, hip-hop, and electronic music worlds. His genre-traversing music has earned him the praise of musicians like Herbie Hancock, and has helped to push the Low End Theory to international recognition. On the topic of Ableton he has this to say:

I’ve also just really fallen in love with making music again. It feels so new to me, especially because I switched to using Ableton. I feel like I’m finally in a position where I can make things almost as fast as I want to; I can move really quickly, and it’s really inspiring.

Flying Lotus Performing

Giraffage

Not too far from Flying Lotus, Giraffage grew up in the San Francisco Bay area making bootleg remixes in his bedroom, but his personal project blew up after two self-released albums. He now lives the bedroom producers dream, releasing music on Fool’s Gold and Dim Mak, and playing festivals worldwide (including this year’s Together!). He uses Ableton for both production and performance, as you can see in this video of him performing his track “Moments” while in the car:

I’d say probably 90% of the melodies that I do write have started out as just me jamming around, and then after the fact I go in and mess with the MIDI notes inside of Live. I sometimes spend way too much time just jamming out though.

Giraffage Live

Skrillex

Yes, the Almighty US Dubstep Titan uses Ableton exclusively. Skrillex grew up in Northeast LA and rose to fame as the lead singer for post-hardcore band From First To Last, before leaving to eventually drop his Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites EP that would kickstart his astronomical DJ career. He is known to use Operator, Ableton’s FM synth, for some of his characteristic monster bass sounds, as well as Native Instruments’ Massive and FM8.

Ableton's Operator Synth
Ableton Live’s Operator uses a combination of FM, Additive, and Subtractive synthesis

His setup consists of a Macbook Pro running Ableton Live and a few VSTs, two KRK monitors, a Focusrite Saffire interface, and an Alesis Midi controller. In addition to praising Live for its synths, he’s also said that its workflow is incredibly intuitive:

“I think, for laptop producers especially, it’s just so intuitive in the box. Everything is laid out and you don’t have to go searching for things like automation or plug-in parameters – in fact, all the things that are really hard to do in other DAWs. Ableton’s just very fluid and quick.”

And for anyone wondering how he does those incredible vocal chops…

I use Melodyne for formant stuff and basic pitch, but then I’ll print a whole line of audio. To be honest, for all my detailed cuts, chops and actual lines I’ll just basically take my vocal or someone else’s and process it through Melodyne in a certain way. All the stylistic treatments I do then all come from audio slicing and transposing in Live.

Skrillex

The reasons all these incredible musicians use Ableton, are the same reasons why we teach it in our music production program! Watch some of our tutorials made by our talented instructors on our Youtube channel, then come by the studio for a tour! Contact us to schedule an appointment.

Serato Announces Special Low End Theory Control Vinyl

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We love the Low End Theory. The LA-based music technology lab has been instrumental in the career of such artists as Flying Lotus and Thundercat.

We also love Serato. It’s the program we teach in our lab.

So now, they’ve joined forces:

This year marks a decade of inimitable LA residency, the Low End Theory. So we thought it rather fitting to celebrate this milestone with an extra special Serato x Low End Theory collaboration and the first ever L.E.T vinyl in history.

Featuring original joints from the Gaslamp Killer, Daddy Kev, D-Styles and Nobody, this is a collection of jazz-inspired hip hop instrumentals, spitfire acappellas, heavy extra-terrestrial beats and scratch sentences. The vinyl is a unique black and white splatter comprising music on the A & C sides and Serato Control Tone on the B & D sides, making it both a showcase of signature L.E.T sounds and an imaginative tool for DJs.

Gaslamp was a part of Together Boston in 2014. Listen in on his Boiler Room DJ set:

Update! The vinyl is now completely sold out online. Only available in retail shops!

Serato is a software that changes the DJ game. To learn in our lab, email me and we’ll get started. Or attend their official event in two weeks:

EDM producers who are changing the distribution game

deadmau5

Deadmau5 recently launched “Live,” a subscription-based online service that offers exclusive access to music, live streams and other content. For $4.99 per month, fans get access to broadcasts, unreleased music, photos and “personal text messages” from Deadmau5 himself, among other things. It’s an unconventional distribution model to say the least, but it’s far from the first example of an electronic musician taking a different approach to releasing music than the standard album or single drop.

skream

Skream, pictured above, has a storied history of releasing free music on various platforms across the net. He’s done this so often that a fan-run website called Freeizm exists to collect all of it in one place. The site points to a number of EP and album length free releases, as well as other random tracks.

flying lotus

Twitter has also become an increasingly popular platform for digital distribution. This past December, Flying Lotus (above) tweeted a .zip of 25 unreleased “ideas, drafts and loops” in celebration of reaching 300,000 followers. Just a week later, Together Boston alum Four Tet hit 100,000 followers and released his own compilation of new tracks and remixes. Whether it’s private webcasts with Deadmau5 or these unreleased embryonic FlyLo tracks, the internet is forever opening new avenues such as these for artist-to-fan interaction.

Looking to become the sort of artist that generates headlines with a single tweet? Look no further than a Mmmmaven course.