When it comes to beatmaking, LA-based producer, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist DOT has a strikingly simple approach: “I like to make heartfelt, very soulful electronic music. I love finding rhythms and beats that are very energetic and make people move, and I also want to move people emotionally.” But don’t get it twisted – hiding beneath that apparent simplicity are layers of immense complexity.
The truth is that DOT is a progressive polymath with an absolutely incendiary work ethic: whether she’s touring world-famous venues, cooking up cutting-edge beats for legendary LA collective Team Supreme, or serving as the founder of womxn-focused music label Unspeakable Records. And that same complexity is reflected in her music: “I have a little bit of a background in classical and jazz, and so I like to draw from that education and understanding of harmony and theory and bring some of that into more forward-thinking sound design techniques.”
Watch this Sketches video to see how DOT builds a soulful, electronic beat packed with percussive layers and effects using Native Instruments KOMPLETE NOW.
In this Sketches video, DOT builds a richly-layered track from scratch using the KOMPLETE NOW bundle and a dynamic range of KONTAKT instruments and effects.
When it comes to building a beat, DOT prefers to start by establishing a firm foundation with BATTERY: “It’s always nice to get a rhythmic idea going before we get too deep into sound design. That way, we can craft those sounds in context.” After laying down a rhythmic backbone, DOT drenches it in percussive layers and effects. Then she sculpts a booming bass sound in MASSIVE X, adds cosmic character with RAUM reverb, and lays down a second melody to complement the bass and drum patterns.
With the sonic foundation firmly in place, DOT adds soaring psychedelic synth pads from MASSIVE X, and dials in the arrangement using filter automation and subtractive chops. Then the composition gets a lift from unique risers crafted in LO-FI GLOW and RAUM, along with a smattering of airy pads and effects for additional atmosphere. “I just love the never ending journey of searching for textures and sounds that have maybe never been heard before in some way,” she says. “I’m trying to constantly push that forward as a sound designer. I will never be bored with that. It’s why I keep coming back every day.”
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