Tips on making deep techy house like chris stussy, djoko, harrison bdp etc?

i feel so lost trying to get better at this style of music. i’m not a prodigy with sound design but i feel relatively adept. im not sure what i’m missing but feels like i’m never hitting the sound i want. coming from making hiphop for the past 6years my head spins trying to figure out some of the techniques these guys use. any tips?


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Can we hear any examples of music in that genre you’ve been making?

I’d say one key is to keep the musical stuff minimal. Build a beat (909ish stuff). If that works alone you are already halfway there. Lay a bassline on that. If they work together find a motiv that is kept minimal and play with it.

Sounds simple, but it’s hard. A big key is the arrangement.


I think most of the advice you are going to get is going to sound pretty generic.
My 10 cents would be this:

  • listen and analize the tracks that you like and would like to emulate
  • If you get your initial sounds right the rest will be a lot easier
  • Practice recreating specific parts of a track, hi hat patterns, kicks, percs, bass etc…
  • Be patient with yourself, switching genres is not easy, there are a new set of “rules” you will have to learn
  • If you work with a DAW, take a tune you like, put it on a track and use it as a guide for your arrangement

I don’t know these particular artists (but will try to check them out when I get a minute). As mentioned above, anything that’s a “true” techno genre is going to be almost entirely about the sounds and the arrangement. There aren’t complex melodies, there is a ton of repetition and cyclical motion. It’s also all about subtlety and minute changes in patterns and slow evolutions of the sounds. Something that takes some time to figure out is just when to drop in a change. Also a touch of swing will also get things moving nicely.

Edit: Just listened to this track by one of the artists, remixed by one of the others. :smiley:

So, yeah, swing on the hi-hats. Funky but simple bassline. Some dub-tech-like sweeping chords, nice simplified break-downs with dropped out sounds. Bring things back slowly before things hit again. A little electric piano (Rhodes style) chords always bring out that deep funky feeling. If you use software at all, I’d recommend Lounge Lizard for this, or maybe the Reface CP for hardware? (or a real Rhodes or Wurlitzer if you have access). If you know someone that can give you some airy vocals, toss them in. Fold in your ingredients, and bake on medium heat for 45 minutes. All set. :wink:

There’s quite a bit of filter work going on as well. You can high-pass a bar or so here and there for some variation, and definitely lots of well timed sweeps going on.

This style of music is deceptively simple. That’s the problem that one has to get used to. It’s easy to keep adding things until it gets messy. Learning a minimal style is trickier than it would seem. However, coming from a hip hop background, you’ll be able to apply the funk to it I’m betting.


This isn’t so far from what I was making 10 years + ago. I decided I was going to try to make something like this, as I do like it a lot, because of this thread.

As others mentioned, the right samples play a huge role, e pianos, Rhodes, funky bass and guitar are present in everything I’ve heard from these guys. Also in some cases, classic house and disco acapellas, which I am not sure if they are licensing those or not for their apparently vinyl releases.

Lots of swing on the hats, plenty of delay everywhere. Analog bass or real bass guitars… No big risers, no crash cymbals or at least I don’t remember hearing any yet. It is all very subtle but effective.

Regarding music theory, lots of jazzy chord structures, add9, 7ths, 11ths, all fair game here. Will try some parallel chords later to see if that works but don’t see why not!

Will report back with a link to what I managed to do it you’re interested or if your think it is best done through private message due to forum rules (which I know nothing of), please let me know. I should have the track ready later today.

Hope this helps!


Please no private message, I wanna hear too!


Julien’s dope for this kind of stuff


I hope this will not get me in trouble! :sweat_smile:

Well, I think I failed sort of miserably, judging after watching the tutorial posted above… I do still like it and if I was a DJ playing that style I might play mine as well, maybe?

Great tips on that tutorial, OP listen to that and he seems to have several more in depth tutorials on how to make this style, so let us watch them and learn :smiley:


hi all thanks for all the great replies. sorry i’m new to the forum wasn’t getting notifications so sorry for my late reply…

@DEEPMOSES those are good tips… listening analyzing and studying my favorite songs is powerful and that’s how i got good at hiphop so i’ll definitely continue to do that with this genre

one thing that im having a hard time figuring out is if using a reference track and trying to copy the elements is helping me or hurting me… i feel im getting too reliant on that and not making original sounds

@J3RK i definitely try to use a lot of electric piano sounding stuff as a basis for synthesizing chord stabs. my girlfriend said the other day “i think youre using too many electric piano stabs and ambient pad elements which is making it muddy”. but when i listen to these artists i feel like they have so many different pads and stab layers but still groovy and minimal and clean sounding not sure how they do it.

@Phillip im gonna listen to your example and let you know what i think. i’ll also try to post some practice sketches ive made in the style so you can see where im at. so do you think i’m better off starting with samples rather than synths?

@djadonis206 ive watched so many of his videos hes a great teacher but for some reason im having a hard time doing anything better than just copying him. im not able to translate his techniques to something original sounding

i mainly use my OT to make 90% of my music these days (w minilogue deepmind and blofeld) but after watching a lot of his tutorials i decided to take the plunge into learning/trying ableton (my first DAW experience) to see if maybe its more suited for that style…making this style with only 8 tracks on the OT is tough… at first i enjoyed ableton but having all the mixing power of a DAW is not great for my creativity because i end up spending an hour on one element and then losing my steam/ideas for the track. i guess i just have to practice ableton the same way i had to practice the OT


…wow…that’s oldschool business for real…

and hell yeah, all it’s main secret is the overall swing and it’s to the point functionailty of simplicity and minimalism…how did u get there, if comin’ from any kind of hip hop background…
my goodness…

get some decent 909ish samples, filter down any bass sound u can find, push it’s sub end a little, use the same swing amount as on the drums, check for frequency spacing between the bass line and the kik, get some side chaining pump going between them interacting like breathing in and out and don’t drop more than two more elements at the same time on top of it all…also with the same swing amount…there u go…


your asking how did i get into this genre if im comin from a hip hop background? idk honestly just exploring on youtube and this style really catches my ear. also the romanian minimal stuff is dope to me as well like techu and constand etc

the drum and bass parts are easier for me. its the stabs and melodic stuff thats hard for me

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Do share your stuff to see where you’re at.

I think there’s a combination of synth stuff and sample stuff. I am using multi sampled e pianos and Rhodes for the chords, for the most part, and guitar loops, and then using synths for the pads as well as for any complementary synth stabs with a more modern edge.

I’m finding the most difficult thing to get right in my case is the mix where the drums and the kick especially sits in the right spot for their style, I know what they are doing but I’m not doing it right you can hear on the posted example… I’m hoping somebody here can give some pointers on what I’m doing wrong and what needs to be done to her the drums sounding like stussy and djoko.

By the way, stussko - spacefunk is my new jam, listening to that once per day :joy:

Another thing I personally suggest to not sound like the tutorials you’re watching is using different chord inversions, he’s only using root position 7th add9 chords and that is pretty basic for chord voicing, and also try not using the root in some chords as the root will be in the bass already. And then trying not only using the root chord, try using other chords in addition to the root one so it isn’t as static (this one I don’t know if they do but it surely will make your stuff different)

Also try to play some key solos, very jazzy sounding solos, with a keyboard… I’ve been doing that with great results these days… I’m not a keyboard player though, but Ableton captures midi when you jam and when you hear something good just press that capture button and edit away :sunglasses:

Show us!!! :man_dancing:

Reviving the thread in case op is still interested. Found these for you (and myself and anytime else interested):

On these two he goes about showing some of his live projects, and shares lots of interesting techniques


Myself, I’ve kept on trying to make this style but I’ve not been able to get it 100 percent yet, instead it’s become my own version of the style I guess :man_shrugging: I’ll keep on trying though:

Ps: after typing this out I realize that op no longer has a account on this site :scream:… Oh well, hopefully it serves somebody else who is looking to produce this type of music? :man_shrugging:


From one of the the current sources:

Absolutely. A good house or techno song should be danceable with just percussion and bassline. Keep the energy moving and changing–I like to have something change, even if a very small element, approximately every 15 seconds, 30 seconds at the most.

Keeping things stripped down but still interesting is difficult.

On the other hand remember a DJ is also only going to play about 2-3 minutes of most tracks. I’ve got lots of tracks that are 5+ minutes long but don’t do a whole lot. They are useful as transition material. Sometimes, as a DJ, I only need something to be groovy for less than 2 minutes.

I think it helps with dance music if you’ve been on all sides of the equation: a dancer in the crowd, a DJ performing to a crowd and a producer in the studio.

Honestly with “deep techy house” anything that falls under those requirements, to my ear, doesn’t have any crazy sound design going on. The sonic issues may be more mix than sound design oriented.

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2-3 minutes only? That sounds insane. Have things changed so much in the underground that they now behave like the shitty commercial DJs with the shitty zero attention span? If this is true then it is so demoralising to me… I refuse to believe you :joy:

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That might be an exaggeration. But I don’t feel like DJs are playing “most” of a track is my main point, at least not most of a track by itself. I’m a fan of long blends myself but once you start combining two tracks there is a lot to play with to make something new, so whatever is in one track during the blend matters a bit less if you take my meaning.

There are some underground styles that have short songs and quick mixing–a lot of booty house/ghetto tech for example. And that certainly isn’t commercial even if it isn’t your taste lol.

I’m also not really sure where the line between the “underground” and “shitty commercial DJs” is drawn so I can’t help you there.

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I can really recommend the tutorials here:


Maybe I’m too late for this, but you will need pads in the background to make it deeper, also a lot of filters, autofilters and LFOs to get movement, and be creative with effects, like ping pong delay with reverb for chord stabs (and maybe filter the fx). I can get that type of sounds in my Digitakt with jazzy chord samples. I’m in that journey now to produce my first songs, I hope i can finish one before next year, and I hope that you mastered the style in this time.