Making music with other people


I know making electronic music is typically a solo affair, but I am interested to hear perspectives from anyone who makes music (esp. electronic music) with other people.

How do you collaborate? How does it change your creative process?
How did you start making music with other people?


This was going back many years for me (late 90’s and early 2000’s), but I collaborated with someone and it worked out very well. We did a good number of singles and remixes. It was fairly unspoken, but we understood and had very different roles. He was musician… very talented and played several instruments. I was computer/technology geek, engineer and sound design guy. Basically, he knew music and theory and I knew synths, gear and computers. I could hear things in my head, but couldn’t play or extend the ideas like he could. He could play anything, but couldn’t record or mix it (in those days) like I did. Those strengths and weaknesses made us a good team.

More often than not, he’d come in (gave him a key to my room) and do a rough midi arrangement and flesh out the basic idea. I’d come in that night, refine the sounds and start an overall mix. About 1/2-3/4 of the way through a track we’d start working together and feed off each other with various ideas and suggestions until the track was idea complete. From there, I’d work on the last mix details until final form, then do a master.

It worked well for us, I feel anyway, because we had those fairly set roles and weren’t constantly stepping on each other or having any sort of ego’s in the way. We both understood what we were good at and what we weren’t, so it pretty much just worked and flowed. A duo was great, but I really don’t think I’d have the patience for more, but that’s just me.


I have a buddy who plays an electronic drum kit and is pretty well versed in theory and he has close to perfect pitch. We’ll link up, he lays down a solid groove, then we go nuts adding our own bits and pieces on top till it’s all done. I usually bring my Maschine MK3 and do live FX afterwards then we settle on an arrangement. It’s a pretty fun time, but we usually only have like 2 hours to work on stuff cause he’s always on call or in class and I work a 9-5.


I started playing punk rock and metal (if you could call it that) in high school. Taught myself kit drumming and eventually started a psychadelic rock/blues band with a couple of friends.

I still play with my old bass player, 20+ years later. He will usually rock a baritone guitar or fire up the Moog Grandmother through the pedal rig.

My brother plays an AK, DN, or D-05 depending on what mood he’s in. He’s also responsible for recording our tracks in Live.

I will run a DFAM into a DT and just live record trigs and mess with onboard FX and LFOs.

If I’m feeling like a workout, I have a decent electronic kit that I’ll play and we get more of a live feel that way.

We all play to a click through headphones. Everything that needs to be synced is slaved to an ERM Multiclock.

I love our jam sessions - it is a weekly ritual that we all need to take a breather from work/kids.

Old bass player usually takes the reins on starting us off with a sweet riff (unless I get a fire beat going before that), and then my brother finds a hook while I start layering said fire beat.

Super fun and I don’t think I would trade our time together for anything.

EDIT: Also I would say that after making music with these talented dudes, it’s really difficult for me to finish a project by myself. We are just so much better as parts of a whole.


I have always enjoyed collabs, usually live jam sessions and fairly loose atmosphere. But I have noticed hosting others in my studio, tends to be a dance- one person leading, the other following and then alternates. There is also a sense of compromise, as any relationship to find a center. With 3 or more, it’s very much less controlled and seems the communication takes place musically in the moment for each to follow. I have tried to perform more in jazz/improv the past year and this is primarily where I have been wanting to get more musical, less programming. Making music is essentially a social experience, do it whenever possible!
Typically I am more prone towards percussion, so it is quite a compromise for me to go with another’s groove, but with this, liberating to get out of my habits/patterns, comfort zone.


the vast majority of electronic musicians are keyboard kind of people.
but not me, i’m a drummer.
so, it’s very easy to arrange who does what, when collaborating )


Id love to collaborate with someone on a techno track - in Seattle, outside Seattle, where ever…

I’m making stuff like this


plug in, sync. off you go.

music will quickly tell you if you are a match or not.

personally, owning elektron machines and jamming out with (random, stranger) people has been one of the best experiences in my entire existence.

thanks elektron and 4/4


thats sound awesome!


So, I’m totally aware my music could benefit from collaboration, but of course I want to collaborate with other people that have a certain level of skill in some aspect of music production that I lack. Once I get enough of a portfolio together that shows I have something to offer other people, collaborations are going to become my primary goal.


I brought my songs to a music criticism group, and for the first song the feedback was basically “the drums suck”. After that, a worked hard to improve the drums and at the next session the feedback was “maybe find someone you know who’s a drummer and can help you work on that aspect of your music” which I’m hoping represents modest progress. I’m hoping this next song I’m working on will finally represent a breakthrough where the complaint is “the vocals sucks” or something LOL


I’ve not collaborated in over 20 years. In the teens I just sort of went inward after a situation I think. Still interested in doing it again though… some day




to be honest, i think „the drums suck“ about 90% of electronic music.
but it’s normal, so no need to say about this :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I’ve been involved in a few different collaborative situations over the years and have also spent a lot of time making music myself. When I first started it was in a duo where roles were clearly defined by who could do what with the gear we had… i.e. i did all the beats and samples with Screamtracker/Fasttracker and my mate did everything else with a really primitive midi sequencer and general midi soundcard - sync was pressing play at the same time. Don’t judge us, we were young and the internet wasn’t a thing to actually figure out how to do things properly.

Later, I was in a 5 piece improvised experimental thing where the only the set role was that the guy who played bass guitar, played bass guitar. The rest of us had bits and pieces of keyboards, effects, drum machines, samplers and portable minidisk players. Maybe one or two things were sync’d via midi but for the most part for any given song one person had the responsibility of the beats and everyone else was playing along live. There was a lot of tonal, drone or noise sections, plunderphonics and not a whole bunch of what you would could traditional tunes save for here or there. But it was good fun and I’ve some real fond memories from gigs we played etc. But getting older, people moving away… one guy being a bit of a dick and it fell by the wayside.

Over the last 5 years though I’ve got into regular collaboration with one of my closest friends. He only lives along the road but we’ve got a system using Live that we have agreed plugins that we used and both have bouncing ALP’s back and forth. We don’t have set roles but we tend to bounce ideas back and forth with neither of us being too precious about how it should or shouldn’t change across each iteration. Or sometimes we’ll say, I really like this bit and trust the other to work around it as it evolves. We sometimes get together in the same room to work on stuff where the same principles apply of being open to suggestions and ideas. We’ve also started integrating hardware more by bouncing to audio. I think it also helps that we’ve tastes that are similar but also quite varied - if I have an idea for something that won’t fit with what we’re doing together I can just hold onto it for my own stuff. Also, neither of us are doing this for anything other than the joy of doing it - if someone listens to our stuff it’s cool but we’re not chasing the chart-busting hit or a support slot on a Bros stadium tour.

I guess that over the years I’ve come to realise that personalities, open-mindedness (if that’s a word) and not getting too hung up on achieving things that are external to our own satisfaction are what’s important in keeping it fun and inspiring.

Well, that was a ramble…


I recognise a lot in your post!

In recent years I have been collaborating with a close friend, using Live and exchanging both sketches and finished songs. We have different sets of plugins but exchange ALP files and rendered stems. We don’t have expectations of what we do with each others work, and ego has to take a back seat. We make music for the sake of it and it’s amazing when the sum of our work is more than the parts, which makes the whole process worth while.


Banging mate


I have a couple of mates that I have known since school. We were in a school band together (“Apathy” - what a name…) doing Brit Pop and Beatles covers mostly with some of our own stuff. We’ve kept in touch and still enjoy music. Went through a very productive period about 5 years ago and built some of the best tracks I’ve been a part of but we never finished them (vocals and stuff)!

Now, when they do come over for music, we tend to just shoot the shit and play “Pass the Push”. Basically, we take it in turns to write a bass line or drum pattern or whatever and keep passing the Push around the circle for an hour or two before arranging. Sometimes it’s guff, sometimes it works nicely. We’ll often make opening statements like “we can’t have a kick on the first beat” or “must use an odd scale” and things like that.

I’m sure we’ll get productive again eventually. Its more about hanging out with mates and doing something other than play Fifa all night!!!


Most of the time time when I’m musicing nowadays, I do it with other people. So much so that my “solo works” never get anywhere, due to lack of motivation, time and energy :wink:

Actually, now that I think about it, I even started getting into musicing with two of my friends! so yeah, mostly doing things with other people.

Doing stuff on your own feels less engaging to me, although then one does get full “dictatorship” and never has to reach consensus (which sometimes can be tricky when people have differing visions).

One thing though - you cant just musicize with anyone. It has to “feel” right, all people are different. When it doesnt work out, things usually stop right after our first “session”.

Working with others has made me grow immensely wrt musicing. Can’t recommend it enough! But be sure to keep a humble, open mind and leave your ego by the door when you come in.


Yeah I kind of have a dream of meeting someone and making sick music but I kind of doubt that’ll ever happen. Maybe with a rapper / vocalist but that’s probably it.