10 rules for making modern psytrance

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Posted: November 28, 2006


Category: Music

  1. Nja says:

    interesting but at the same time narrow minded … reinvent psytrance people !

  2. xavier says:

    Dont worry, Nja, this is only tongue-in-cheek humor. Real psychedelic people exist, but they don’t listen to pop-trance!

  3. alfred says:

    how can i learn how to make my own spy trance song what program do i need o what do i need to start thanks

  4. forestslaught says:

    yes this is all true but we are always pushing the sonic boundaries of time, space,dance,mind.
    peace and boom!

  5. oCeLoT says:

    this is fucking hilarious.
    totally true unfortunately.

    #2,4,6, and 8 are the highlights for me.
    especially 8 and 2…

    nice one! thanks

  6. Vivan says:

    Good post! cheers

  7. Makus | Overdream says:

    I like these:

    “the more surprises and twists in your formula, the better.”

    “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.”

    It must be true.

  8. N-A-S-A says:

    CLASSIC! ๐Ÿ˜›

  9. psychedelia says:

    this helps alot!!

  10. Boyfromthesound says:

    I think this IS fucking bullshit, it only shows that psy has become super commercial, you try to tell me that know you have to follow rules to make psy??? WHAT A FUCK??? in my understanding of psy is that you can do whatever you feel like, i agree that psy is changing but not for the best… when i started to listen to psy, you could listen the analog raw power of the synths everywhere in the songs i mean nice and raw anolog sound, now its all mastered using the same presets pop music uses its wank… ps, psy song used to be about taking you to a trip and know is to show how good of a producer you are?????

  11. bonVivant says:

    exactly ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. Boyfromthesound says:

    The last party i went was in Portugal The Freedom Festival and i nearly cried i know it sounds weak butit hurt me so much seeing that vulgar display of rubbish new age psytrance artists shoving that cheap made craptrance down ppls ears, but the worst is that they don’t really care as long there is drugs,thats why i think the listeners are the ones to blame for becouse most of the ppl just go there for that, i mean they are taking fucking speed listening to commercial trance???ohhh men it just makes me furious,promised myself that it was the last party for me but i am going to Boom Festival couze Goodmood are for me the best organization in Pt for parties and i really want to feel free again ๐Ÿ™‚
    Ia mso glad that are more ppl aware that the psytrance nowadays is infected by rock stars wannabes like Skazi…
    I hope that are more artists like Goa Gil that will always keep real in life:) Peace…

  13. Twisty Blister says:

    I don’t think this is an accurate system of rules.

    Most of what you state here denotes trademarks of various 4/4 styles. Not all psy trance has to be like you describe above; it’s just that all those elements you mention were at some point, trend-setters.

    What are you going to say when you hear a psy trance tune that does none of that, but still sounds great?

    Before someone knows how to write psy trance, they’ve got to know how to make the elements. Where’s your mention of the tight, synth’d kick; or the simple saw bassline and sub bass? And the subtle snare? Plus the delicate use of EQ and little – if no – compression? All those elements are difficult to master unless you’ve listened to a lot of psy trance, and know how your equipment works. I think by the time that’s been figured out, some one would have a good idea about what makes-up a psy trance track.

  14. Franco says:

    *Need ๐Ÿ˜€

  15. nightflyer75 says:

    Maybe the title of this thread should be
    “10 rules how to destroy psytrance”

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