How It Was Made: Go Hard or Go Hardcore Vol 1

Rebekah Go Hard or Go Hardcore

Not for the faint-hearted, Go Hard or Go Harcore Vol 1 is the first of four separate EPs, bringing together producers pushing hard techno to its sonic limits. We asked the producers to explain how they made each track.

Go Hard or Go Hardcore is a new platform for releases, events, mixes, and exclusive collaborations pioneered by Rebekah. Vol 1, which is out now, brings together five producers plus a Rebekah collaboration, who all share a similar vision of what hard techno is and could be.

We caught up with the producers to ask them how they made their tracks. If you’re looking for guidance on how to make hard techno, you’re in good hands here.

AJA – ‘Austere’

I used samples created while teaching field recording manipulation for Ableton, including recordings in caves and metal scrap yards in Berlin, chairs scraping, and marker pens.

I process these, layering multiple Ableton plugins, warping and time stretching, adding Corpus, Resonator, Saturation, and Amp distortion. I also like to use Permut 8 to create bass and droney synth textures.

The noisy build at the beginning is a sample from a live set recorded from a gig I did at Corsica Studios, put through distortion, reverb, and time stretched to make it usable for a textured build. To play live, I add the samples into a Roland TR-8S and Boss loop station and play this live with a Korg Minilogue, Boss Distortion pedal, Alesis mixer, and Digitech 300.

Skoden – ‘Battle Cry’

My low-end group is divided into three groups: kick, bass, and bass percussion. I have four kick drums, two rumbles, and one bass perc.

Again, the drum group is divided into three separate groups: hats, percussion, and top loops. I have seven hat channels, two percussion channels, and one top loop.

The music is straightforward forward: two screech layers on one note over two bars, one pitched high and the other low. For the vocal, I sampled Vaas’s speech about his family in Far Cry 3 and heavily processed it. The FX are minimal, with some distorted noises for dropouts and a hardstyle kick with the lows taken out just on the drop for extra sizzle. 

X-Tension – ‘Der Zarte Hauch Des Bösen’

My X-Tension project was always meant to go beyond stylistic borders and mix hard techno with industrial.

With ‘Der Zarte Hauch Des Bösen’ I went even further. As my roots are in the 90s Rave movement, I wanted to incorporate a typical Juno hook, like I did back then. But to satisfy recent trends, I added a hardstyle offbeat bass, which added more raving sound. With the industrial kick drum and the typical hard techno percussions, I think I generated a nice result that will please more than just one generation of partygoers.

Masicaya – ‘Running From You’

‘Running From You’ was created in Ableton Live using different plugins. For the bass, I used Serum, creating that kind of bass in reverse, Saturator, and another plugin called Wider. I made the kick by creating three layers of kick and the sub-bass I created with the Operator.

The vocal is a hip Hop/trap vocal I bought from Splice. The main sounds were created with three virtual synthesizers: Rob Papen RAW, Icarus, and Rave Generator 2. I also used some samples from Ableton and Splice to create the hi-hats, claps, and snares. All this together with the respective process of equalizing, compressing, coloring, or saturating a little and automating.

Rebekah & Malke – ‘The Way’

Rebekah: After watching The Mandolorian, I was inspired to sample the vocals of ‘The Way’, which are said throughout the show. Normally, I gain a lot of inspiration from outside of techno more than from listening to techno. I shared this with Malke after we decided to work together on some collaborations.

Malke: Rebekah sent me a nice start with the vocals and some cool chord progressions. I thought I could add a main riff with lead sounds that would sound futuristic and in tune with her chords. Once I had the riff, I sketched the breakdown, building up with Rebekah’s chord progression, and the riff halved until the main riff came in, creating the track’s climax. I remember perfectly what Rebekah said when I sent her the breakdown sketch – “Jesus, sounds epic”. As for the drums, I wanted to use a similar style of schranz elements that I had done before

Rebekah: Malke then sent over the stems, as I believe he works in Ableton and myself in Logic, so full audio stems needed to be shared. The track went through a couple of changes like adding some raw kicks to give some nice edits and also a decision to wait and not give the synth line away too early to create more of an element of surprise. 

Malke: I knew what my partner in this collaboration loves, so we had to use hardcore kicks before the real hard techno drops as we both dig the “Go Hard or go Hardcore” concept. For the mix and master, I went for LOUD. I shaved some peaks with soft clippings to reduce crest factor and added color with saturation and exciters. Once I was happy with the mix, I did a stem master with the following four stems kick, bass and percussion, / synths / vocals. 

Rebekah: Loud and dynamic – this is the way! 

Find Go Hard or Go Hardcore on Instagram.

Go Hard or Go Hardcore is out now. Listen on Spotify, Apple Music or Beatport.

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