For a lot of producers, the creative process relies heavily on inspiration from other artists. Watching well-known producers in action is a great learning experience – especially when they experiment with new gear and techniques. We’ve collected some of the best videos of producers showing their creative processes, explaining studio techniques, and discussing music culture. If you’ve got a production-related New Year’s resolution, you’ll find something to inspire you in our selection inside.
Beat This: Swindle (18 minutes)
Don’t Watch That TV hosts the wonderful Just Jam live DJ series, but they’ve also got a separate producer-oriented series called Beat This. Producers are challenged to create a track in just 10 minutes in their studio. With 15 videos in this against-the-clock series it’s well worth a watch – we’ve embedded the full playlist below starting with a slick production from London-based producer Swindle:
Sadowick: How Daft Punk Made “One More Time” (7 minutes)
Sadowick is well-known in the production circuit for his YouTube tutorials on Ableton, showing how to recreate various genres, sounds, and songs in a pretty easy-to-follow format. Recently he’s blown up as a result of this video demonstrating how Daft Punk sampled Eddie Johns’ “Spell On You” to create the hook for “One More Time”.
In The Studio With Four Tet (42 minutes)
Future Music’s In The Studio series does a great job of sitting a producer down at their desk and asking them to break down how they made one of their tracks. One of our favorites is Four Tet discussing the processes he uses to create the tracks Sing and Love Cry. Be sure to watch to 38:20, when he shares how he makes his signature “flutter” effect.
In The Studio With Thomas Gold (48 minutes)
Probably one of the best Future Music “In The Studio” episodes is this one, which features Thomas Gold showing how he constructs the drums for his track “The Button”. Be sure to watch part two, which shows him processing and mixing the vocals for a remix of Delerium’s “Silence”.
Reverb 101: Drum Environments (2 minutes)
This short clip is probably the best way to explain what different types of environments can do to the sounds that instruments product. There’s no additional reverb added in post – just one drummer being recorded in a field, in a garage, in a basement, etc:
Mumdance Live On TR-909 (7 minutes)
The Roland TR-909 drum machine is a classic piece of studio kit originally released in 1983. But to see a contemporary skilled producer like Mumdance explain how the machine works and do a live performance on one is a real treat:
Machinedrum and Lando on Ableton Push (10 minutes)
Moving to a much more modern piece of studio gear, this video from Ableton is a pretty solid demonstration of the Push workflow by Maschinedrum and Lando – building a complete track from the ground up.
EOTO: Live Performances Explained (21 minutes)
Forget single pieces of gear and pre-produced tracks – EOTO is known for their live, improvised performances. Jason and Travis show off a basic demonstration of how they perform together, and then do a breakdown of all of their gear, methods, and techniques.
Moby’s Drum Machine + Synth Collection (12 minutes)
Moby is a lifelong producer and DJ, having gotten his first break all the way back in 1991. Throughout the years, he’s gotten the chance to accumulate a lot of production gear. Watch him show off his absolutely massive collection of drum machines and synthesizers:
Not A Beat, Not A Scene (10 minutes)
The “beat music” scene in Los Angeles has exploded over the last ten years – with artists like Flying Lotus, The Glitch Mob, and others rising to international fame. This ten minute documentary asks some of the artists (Free The Robots, Daedelus, and more) in the scene to reflect and share their thoughts on how it came to be and what’s next.
RJD2’s Vinyl Collection (17 minutes)
Fuse’s “Crate Diggers” series talks to record-collecting DJs and producers about their passion for vinyl, and in this episode they interview RJD2. He tals about the intuition required in finding samples and shares some of his favorite finds and digging stories.
10 Years of Dance Music (21 minutes)
Last month, Toolroom Records released this epic documentary on how dance music went from being “in terminal decline” in 2003 to being one of the largest types of music in the world in 2013. DJs and producers alike will enjoy this one – you’ll hear from Loco Dice, Hot Since 82, Armin Van Buuren and many more.
How To Make Techno Music (in 1994) (5 minutes)
The techniques in this video are probably useless to most modern producers, but getting to see some well-known German techno producers discussing the production process in 1994 is a highly enjoyable blast from the past. Ever seen a track produced using an Atari or early Apple computer? Here’s your chance.