Obviously, Willem Rebergen, or better known as DJ Headhunterz, is an incredibly talented EDM artist. A part of his genius is a result of his detailed understanding of the functionality of Studio One 3.2.2 and the ease he’s reached working with the DAW. After our initial conversation with Rebergen a couple months ago, we realized that he is a wealth of knowledge that we would love to hear more from—and we knew you would, too!
Here’s part 2 of tips and tricks for Studio One users from DJ Headhunterz!
“I’m not over exaggerating when I say that Studio One brought back the fun of making music for me,” Rebergen states. “I finally experienced what it feels like to ride the creative wave without constantly falling off it. Studio One motivates me to keep perfecting my workflow and I keep discovering new ways to do so every week.”
Rebergen starts off with tips that will ensure an easy, creative flow with Studio One. “If I were to give a tip it would be to make full use of the browser features and the MusicLoop feature. When I finish a song I completely undress it and save all sounds I made in the form of channel presets,MusicLoops and audio files. With every song I make my library expands and whenever I’m in the creative process I can recall any sound I am looking for without having to get into sound designing or endlessly searching through sample libraries. I make sure that every sound I save in MY library is on point. So they rarely need a lot of tweaking to fit into a song and I can just get on with concentrating on the creative part.”
“On the other hand I spend whole days making new sounds, collecting new drum samples, tweaking them etc. So that when I start a song, I’m loaded with content where I can just pick from very quickly.” Rebergen goes on to say, “Another thing I do is I keep an app open on the side called sticky notes where I type down all my newly made key commands (yes I constantly make new ones). I then force myself to use them all the time so they become a natural part of my workflow. Key commands make everything so much quicker and Studio One allows for using them for almost anything.”
Rebergen goes on to share general production tips that have worked for him over the last decade.
- Another thing that I have learned over time, and often read but always somewhat ignored, is that it is absolutely crucial to work with the right sounds. So often, I have found myself trying to fit things in a mix that simply did not fit. It’s very useful to learn to be honest to yourself when making music. Even if you’ve spent hours on making something. Those couple of hours don’t mean anything when you listen to your song by the time it gets released months later. Try to be alert and not be afraid to throw stuff away. It can open up for new ideas when you clean up.
- Nowadays more and more I make sure I have my pallete of sounds ready when I start a song. So that I don’t stumble upon these issues so much. I make sure the sounds are right so that it really comes down to the idea of the song at this point.
- Some tips on making saw leads like I often do in my tracks. I love to use chords underneath but I also love using portamento. So to keep that intact, I just make 3 copies of my lead, nowadays mostly Spire or Serum and I play on each one a note of the chord. This way I can still play a chord while maintaining the glides that are a big part of how the melody is expressed.
- Set the portamento so that it’s only triggered when two notes overlap so that you have complete control over when and how much it glides. I find that using this function instead of pitch bend automation feels more natural because I assume it has a different curve to it.
- Also in the synth itself I often link an envelope to the pitch of the sound and give it a very short attack and set it to about 2 semitones down. So that each note has just a slight pitching up in the beginning. This also brings more expression into the lead sound and makes it less static.
- Find the sweet spot with detuning. LFOs can also help for nice detuning without making it sound too false.
One last reminder from Headhunterz before we wrap. “Keep a beginner’s mind and acknowledge that the learning process is endless. I still feel like a noob sometimes. But I’m very passionately curious, I always want to keep discovering new ways.”
Keep an eye out for more from Headhunterz with part 3 of this series coming soon.