On Leap Year weekend (Feb 28 – March 1 2020) we were excited to be heading to Electronic Sound Summit, set on Liverpool’s world famous beautiful waterfront in The Liver Building and British Music Experience.

With industry panels, talks, masterclasses and networking across the weekend, Ableton were in town to kick off things by hosting the Friday night talks. First up was Ableton live 101 with Ableton instructor Simon Lyon who showed us how to produce a track with limited sounds.

Next up was Finishing More Music discussion with Sabina Plamenova (Alis) who discussed her three stages to completing a track. Firstly, she discussed the Mindset- what is a track supposed to do and how to structure your track – she gave reference to Ableton’s website which gives advice on this – learningmusic.ableton.com/song-structure. Next, she discussed Progressing- issues such as looking at what she has and see does it match what she wanted in the beginning. Or does a track take its own direction? Or seeing if has too many elements/effects happening e.g reverb or drums. Or does it not have enough? Energy perhaps is needed. Finally, she discussed Ending the track- do things need taking out? Or maybe add a surprise element- e.g play with effects or add something at the end which is completely different to the rest of the track. She used an example of this on a track – Eg Justin Timberlake – Like I Love You (Instrumental) and her own Alis – Imperium. It was an excellent discussion into how to approach and complete a track.

Next up was Brain Dancing who gave a production masterclass in using pitch modulation techniques in his tracks. Eg How to change pitches using LFO, with baseline and synth to add creativity to your tracks.

On Day 2 (Saturday) we attended the Making Yourself Desirable in the music industry discussion with Anna Russell, who started in electronic music managing Groove Armada. She explained that musicians are more empowered now than ever, with technological advancements and 24/7 access to music in our hands. She went on to say that there is no blueprint for success in music. The way you create success is different for everyone. Every artist you like has come from different blueprints.

But the formula below is one Anna would advise for musicians;

The most important thing firstly, is musical talent and having good songs, but they are just the cost of entry to this industry. The music industry looks for:

Good music and proof of concept (is your music going to sell?) – they need to know there is people out there that will buy into your music, for example are people sharing your tracks, or is your music in the music press, or do you have gigs.

Is the above something you can create organically? You can achieve it by building a fan base. A tangible canvass is the best ‘proof of concept’ you can have. Instead of thinking “if I can an agent” I’ll get a fan base, think the other way round. Get fans of your music first and then that will create opportunities.

If you have good music and engaged fan base, it is likely agents, labels, publishers, promoters will all come to you.

Priority – building fan base first and foremost. Foundations for a successful career;

Vision– what you want to achieve as artist
Sound identity – signature (unique sound)
Music – 5 finished tracks (at least that you love before you release your first)
Brand – identity – who you are as an artist, personality
Branding – press shots/logo/artwork/content/online presence


Fan base building activities;

Engage with your audience
Create a community
Provide valuable content
Giveaways and competitions
Playing live/DJing
Advertising (social media)


Measure your progress:

Growth/engagement of fan base
Merchandise sales
Income (from all music related activity)

Here’s the process:

Strong foundations – ensure these are in place and solid
Fan base- must be tangible
Consistent progress – takes an average of 3 years to break an artist

For more info check Anna out at her site Thevirtualmanager.co.uk


On Sunday (Day 3) we headed to Kinnerman’s producer tips, which included wow to create your own template for your tracks, which helps you to get your ideas down fast, for example create audio and midi channels eg kick and bass then group them together. Same with hats and highs. And claps, snare and snare roll. He explained that’s how you’ll get signature sound.

Kinnerman explained how to lay down a track:

Kick drum – the forefront of dance music, the most important part. Use from your favourites. He explained that you can use the same on your tracks – if it works it works, and helps to create your signature sound. Then add hats/claps, and next, Bass – you can sing it in with mic if needed – as he demonstrated! This is then converted to midi and is the most quickest way of doing it. The add a snare – maybe use it out of time a bit as you don’t want it to sound robotic. He advised not to try and copy your favourite artist, but to be yourself and take parts from lots of your favourite artists and combine them all int your own unique sound. He also advised to, when sampling – use WAVs where possible when kicks, and get to know your plug ins like back of hand. Play around loads to get that creative idea. Experiment as much as possible within ableton. If it sounds good, it sounds good. That’s all that matters. There is no rule book, if there is, break it. It was a fascinating and brilliant tips class.

We then attended Elliot Adamson’s masterclass. Supported by the likes of Patrick Topping and Eats Everything, Elliot’s tracks have been signed to various labels. He provided a brilliant masterclass of him producing a track in 60 minutes from scratch, it was great to see him completely in the zone and so focused. It was interesting and intriguing watching him build this track. I personally left feeling inspired and invigorated for my own productions just from watching Elliot work. With help from the crowd, he titled the track, “Madness In 60 Minutes.”

We had a fantastic weekend in Liverpool for Electronic Sound Summit. A brilliant weekend of industry panels, talks, masterclasses and networking set on the backdrop of Liverpool’s  beautiful waterfront.



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