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Thursday, March 4, 2021
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KSHMR: Giving Dance Music the Human Touch

American musician, recorder, Producer & DJ Niles Hoollowell-Dhar, better known by KSHMR, opens up by giving some of his tips on making synth-based music human and crafting.


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Niles Hollowell-Dhar, a.k.a. KSHMR is the multi-platinum producer who produced some of the hardest-hitting anthems of the last decade. Here are few of his tips:

1. Think Like a Real Player

It’s beneficial to think like how a real player does. Players don’t just go note to note. Sure, you can make everything perfect, quantized to the grid. But real players, they bend. There are inflictions in-between, and that’s what makes it feel real — the imperfections’’.

2. Find Creative Ways

You’ve got to find creative ways to make it sound like a human is behind it all. And that’s what gets lost in a lot of dance music. The synths may not be struggling to get to the next note; they just pop up there – but that’s not what humans do. A real human player has to sort of struggle between each note. I think pitch-bending does that really well. Anytime you can sort of strain it, you just hit a human chord. 

3. Switching Articulations

It’s all about key switching different articulations in the course of a melody. When you’re really precise, you can make a horn sound just like the real thing. But it does require more than just plug-and-play. You have to make it breathe like a real player would breathe into it, versus making it as big as possible. It takes a lot of extra effort in terms of making it play well and sit well in a mix.

                   KSHMR Live at Tomorrowland 2017

       Tiësto & KSHMR ft. Vassy – “Secrets” 

         Headhunterz & KSHMR – “Dharma”

However, it’s all about getting something to sound the most inspiring as quickly as possible, to keep the momentum going.

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