You know that deep, pounding techno kick and bassline that makes you want to pull an all-nighter at an industrial rave in an abandoned warehouse? The boomy, rumbling techno kick that you can't help but dance to?
Johannes Menzel is famous for making heavy techno music that makes the crowd go absolutely wild. Many of his tracks feature this classic rumbling kick, the gritty essence of deep techno that shakes the subwoofer almost to destruction.
Today, he kindly decided to share his secret of the rumbling techno kick with us.
1. Choose A Kick Sample
The first step to make a rumbling techno kick is to choose your kick sample. Because this will be a heavy techno track, think hard-hitting, deep and a bit dirty when selecting your kick sample. You don't want anything too over-processed, but keep it deep.
When you have chosen your kick sample, proceed to create a simple 4/4 loop with your kick.
2. Duplicate And Name Channels
Duplicate your kick channel two times, so you get a total of three channels, all identical.
Name your three channels as follows:
- MAIN KICK
- REVERB KICK
- GHOST KICK
3. Add Effects To Reverb Kick
Go to your REVERB KICK and apply these effects, in the following order:
The order of your effects is important here. An effect plugin added after another will always affect the previous plugin, and the last one in the chain will affect all.
For our effect chain, this means that the reverb will go into the overdrive effect to then be equalized.
4. Experiment With Your Reverb Kick
Now, start by playing around with the effects on your REVERB KICK.
For reverb, experiment with:
- Dry/Wet (aim for between 75% and 100% wet)
- Room Size
- Decay Time
- Overdrive Frequency
- Use a low-pass filter to only allow the low frequencies
- Play around with the frequency, but aim at a cutoff lower than 300Hz
Always listen to your REVERB KICK with your MAIN KICK and lower the REVERB KICK volume if necessary.
5. Low-Pass Ghost Kick
Move over to your GHOST KICK and apply a low-pass equalizer to remove the highs.
Change the pattern from your normal 4/4 and create a sick groove and rhythm. Preferably, you want to put your ghost kick in between your main kick's notes.
For extra oomph, add an overdrive effect and boost the lower frequencies. Also, play around with the "Fade in" knob of your GHOST KICK sample to soften the transients and make it more like a bassline.
6. Group And Add Effects
Finish it off by putting all of your kicks together in the same bus or group. Add tape saturation for an extra push and grit, use a compressor to make your kicks work together and use an equalizer to remove or highlight any desired frequencies. Finish off with some slight limiting on the group or bus to give your kicks more power.
- Sidechain before the equalizer of your REVERB KICK to make it duck fully.
- Mono your low frequencies. Use the utility tool at the end of your kick chain.
- Create a top kick for extra punch. Try a hi-hat sample or swoosh FX, filter out the lows and put it together with your kick.
- Add extra overdrive and/or saturation to your MAIN KICK.
- Play around with the volume of your kick channels.
- Change the kick samples of your REVERB KICK and GHOST KICK, if you want.
So there you have it, now you know the secrets to make that rumbling techno kick you love. Many thanks to Johannes Menzel for sharing this technique.
Do you want to learn the secrets on how to create a dark, cosmic Techno track from start to finish?
Johannes Menzel has just released his Techno Masterclass, with over 6+ hours of high quality, step-by-step instructions to crafting a mixed and mastered, club-ready techno banger in Ableton Live.
Follow along with an included template at your own pace, and learn how to do your own deep techno basslines, haunting atmospheres, crystal clear lead sounds and more.
Join the Techno Masterclass today.
See you in the next article.
About the author
Pelle Sundin is a Swedish music producer and freelance copywriter, currently active with his chillout project PLMTRZ. He also produces psychedelic trance. When he's not producing music, he surfs, skates and chugs coffee.