Creating Tech House Style Grooves in Traktor

11 responses

Many of you know that I have spent the past 10 years searching for ways to expand the creative possibilities of djing. While mixing 2 songs offer a wold of possibility, many of us wanted to take things further into musical territory. This has taken us through cue-point juggling, crazy effects combinations, complex looping and as of late rhythm sequencing. In today’s video we bring everything together into one simple concept that provides the expressive nature of production, while a dynamic dj environment.

The principles in this video work well in tech house but can be applicable to any form of music. The core value is triggering samples or timed patterns in the same remix deck. This gives you the effects of loops and cue points, all in a single deck.



While the exact definition of tech house is a contentious subject, here are a few key elements that will make something that most people agree on.

1. Basic rolling bass line without a clearly defined key 

- Usually a 8 count intro loop from a techno song works well here.

2. A nice steady back beat ride. 

- You can use a loop, but I like the Midi Fighter Twister Sequencer which can trigger a wide range of rides pitched up and down depending on your taste and the song.

3. A basic stab with shaping ability 

- This is the critical part. Almost all classic tech house has a steady stab that moves around the beat telling a story.  Take any standard stab sample and load it into a remix cell or into a regular deck with cue points. Use a filter effect to adjust the attack of the stab, and add a large reverb after that effect to extend the sustain.

4. (optional) A Vocal Sample

- A few tasteful vocal samples, ideally someone saying something like “house music, or back in the day before digtal djing..”  really make all tech house grooves sound very legit.

- This can be a well timed loop, or another one shot sample played in when desired. The later requires more dexterity but is well worth the effort.

What do you need to make this happen? 

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  • loverocket

    Sounds like Minimal Tech to me. I know because I fell asleep 15 in.

  • Griff

    This is great. Made me think of running Rastics Launchpad mapping for remix decks with the twister sequencer. Both work fine, loops in some of the slots and sequenced one shots in the other. Lots of practice for this one i think. Cheers for the thought put in. :-)

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  • Holiday

    I just started getting into this kind of remixing/live performance using the remix decks.. To make a song out of it you’d just have to bring in and remove elements every 16-32 bars. As for kick layers generally one kick will be lower in volume, and most likely sit on top or bottom frequency-wise. You never want to go into the red. In the above video scenario you are either using the kick in the track or filtering it out and adding your own kick loop or using the track kick and also adding a second kick via the remix deck but in a subtle complimentary way.

  • Ztronical

    Ok I know it’s off subject but this tutorial just made me envy the punch of the kicks.
    So I tried some settings and came up with this.
    When using more than just 2 tracks the master volume will hit red if I increase the volume of kicks in the remix decks or for that matter any beats or start layering to get more punch. Also in general the sound is easily in the red.
    So the remedy is (and as per the manual) to increase the headroom.
    Using a lot of harder kicks and multiple samples I maxed out the setting to -13.
    Turned the limiter back on set the master to 0db and it all works well.

    So thanks for the tutorial even though the inspiration was for sound quality.

    If you get the chance Mr Golden, could you post a tutorial or explanation of your Traktor sound levels and tips for gain settings of samples. It’s taken me years to get the hang of eq settings and filtering and I still doubt myself all the time.

    • Toontown

      This is an outstanding suggestion for the next tutorial.

  • chris

    at 120bpm i’m going tired.

  • Ztronical

    Ean I noticed a lot of punch in your kicks. Do you turn them up in the remix decks themselves? It seems no matter how good my kicks sound in Ableton or any where else.
    Traktor needs at least a 4db increase to sound punchy.
    I also turn off the limiter and have some in the red for the master volume at top.
    My eq stays at middle or less.

    • William T Smith

      I had the exact same issue, however i was making loops and such with maschine

    • René via ‘Allo ‘Allo

      Layering is your friend here.