For the aspiring psytrance producer: ten pithy guidelines on the crafting of insipid formulaic candy for the consumption of today’s callow, certainly un-psychedelic pill-popping club goer. The poor Czech author sounds quite jaded, almost as if he’s been partying in New York!
So without further delay:
- It has to follow trends. Today, modern means either fullon or dark. Maybe it could be called progressive, but that’s a category of its own now.
- If it is fullon, there has to be a melodic theme, carefully chosen so that the harmony is simple and infantile. In dark psytrance, infantile melodies are acceptable if the sound is dirty and distorted enough.
- The bassline has to shift in pitch dramatically in every track. Using one tone will bore the listener off the dancefloor. It is imperative that the bass fall on every 16th note, or else your track cannot be considered psy at all.
- There must be at least one long break per track, preferably with a hammering kick or snare onset, and right when it seems the tune will continue, there has to be a flip, or several ones. Another possibilities include slowing down tempo or changing signature from 4/4 to 3/4.
- There is no strict rule on many shorter breaks and flips a track should contain. Generally speaking, however, the more surprises and twists in your formula, the better.
- There must be a vocal sample. In fullon, anything new-agey will do, preferably something mystical and/or enlightening. Dark psy usually uses samples from horror movies. Evil remarks and screaming women are particularly well-received by enthusiasts. The vocal sample has to be repeated at least twice, but repeating it more often couldn’t hurt.
- Using either highpass or lowpass (or both) cutoff on sound of the whole track has been the thing ever since house music, and it is a must in every modern psytrance track.
- Since people won’t notice, it is entirely possible to use default arpeggiator presets from your favorite synth. Other way of showing to other producers that the maker is using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques is by utilizing highly obvious samples from the latest sample collections. They can be tweaked, but not so much as to become unrecognizable.
- Psytrance is about complexity. In a psytrance track, sounds have to be whirling, whooshing and twinkling all around you all the time. There is no space to be left for imagination. Ecept for the overlong silences during the breaks, of course.
- Again, good psytrance must follow the trends. Otherwise… well, first of all world top DJs wouldn’t play something that doesn’t sound just like the branch of psytrance they’re into – there has to be some integrity in their sets, right? If you’re playing fullon, you can’t just skip to something else.
Moreover, people expect to hear the style they already know, and they would probably get bored and leave the dancefloor if the DJ didn’t provide them with the latest, preferably unreleased, tracks from their favorite projects.