Electronic Music Production: Sound Design & Arrangement

To James Hetfield, music is the voice he didn’t have. To me music is an alter ego: a medium for expression, reflection and escape. I’ve had a childlike aspiration of releasing a quality EP someday. Pressing a vinyl with my music on it, you know?

I DJ’ed and created mixtapes through college. But the unfamiliarity of a new city and demands of a new job meant that flexible time became a luxury to be rejoiced. I started looking for a different creative outlet. So after days of speculation, I swallowed the red pill and signed up for Dubspot’s 6-month Ableton Live music production course. One minute before its deadline.

While it was challenging at first to find time for it, I’m mighty glad I did. I’m learning how to create my own sounds using a variety of electronic instruments including analog and digital synthesizers, shape them using audio effects, and arrange them to create a track. I’ve also gained a new appreciation for techniques like sampling and compression. I don’t have a background in music theory so I’m self-learning as I go!

Ableton has an awesome workflow. While you have an “arrangement view” similar to those found in every DAW, the “session view” sets it apart. It lets you ideate quickly by putting together beats and sketches. I just picked up a copy of Komplete 10. Judging by the depth of instruments on it, it will be a while before I learn all of them.

Quickly sketching out ideas for an "80s synthwave" track in Ableton's session view.

Laying out a "chill trap" track in Ableton's arrangement view.

Synthesizing some gritty analog bass.

For you curious audio enthusiasts, my setup is a MacBook Pro, 2 KRK Rokit 8 monitors, Komplete Audio 6 soundcard, Novation 49SL MkII MIDI keyboard, Ableton Live 9 Suite, Native Instruments Komplete 10, Audio Technica turntable, Traktor S4 and a big window to let in sunlight when Seattle is in a good mood.

I love this. It is refreshingly fun to be a beginner again. You are freed from the constraints of how “things should be” and can naively experiment to your heart’s will. It is also fun to notice patterns between creating music and creating products. Watch this space.

You’ve made it this far, so here’s a mixtape I did a while back.


Learn "mad" music production "skillz" and "drop dope beats"


Sound design & arrangement, music theory


Seattle, WA


October 2014-Present


Ableton Live 9 Suite, Komplete 10


Music production