Uhm, for me it’s probably focusing on drum sounds. You can have the best synth line in the world but this is dance music and it’s all about the rhythm and groove. Applying groove to drum sounds can really bring stuff to life.
Also one thing I’ve noticed they haven’t really mentioned in the SA videos that I’ve watched but have seen in live sets from actual artists is the change of something every bar to keep it interesting. Like, you can’t just have the same drum loop going on, you need the hihats to shuffle every 8bars or 16th etc. Think of your music as blocks, one block that repeats but is the same as the last one but is slightly different at the end or beginning, gives the track an evolving nature.
When you’re building up tracks from scratch, I tend to try and get as many drum loops as I possibly can too, just so when I’m on session view and getting ideas down for my synths etc, I can bring them in whenever I want to give it more drive.
Ages ago now since I last did it… just make sure that you keep the settings low. Think its pretty good on its default settings that come up when you go into it. Used it mainly on hats… or sounds that were repeating every now & then. Listen to it and if its too mental CTRL-Z
Here what you say about scratching yer head, trying to think
Would be cool even if people said what was the coolest thing they learned on Sonic Academy. Theres so many vids & things to watch / listen to… its totally possible to gloss over stuff.
Learned about root movement in chord progressions usually root movement of Fourths thirds and Seconds could be for example a falling fourth or rising fourth so G to Dm G to C this creates a more fluid progression…
Scoop out the Mids to add clarity (knew about his but never did it, really cleans sounds up)
Layering a bass-line into simpler (duplicate the bass) detune them against each other to make a fatter bass-line
Also when layering a bass-line or a sound that will be side chained separate the bands or layer the sounds by low/mids/high or duplicate the sound pitch it up lower the volume add a compressor and side chain each layer separately so that the high mids wont be as side chained