So after a lot of research I have gathered information on what producers use Ableton Live. A lot of the information I found was in interviews with various magazines and interviews with Ableton themselves talking with the artists about their production methods. The first group I would like to begin with is Daft Punk
Daft Punk is a French electronic music duo formed in Paris in 1993 by Guy-
Here is some selected moments from interviews that reveal there relationship with the DAW, Ableton Live…
“I jumped on the Live-user bandwagon around the release of Live 2.0. ‘Elastic audio’ were the words that drew me in. I use Live anywhere, anyhow. I use it on my laptop as a notepad for remembering and experimenting with musical ideas, and as a personal-computer game — because I have more fun with it than most video games. I use it in the studio for Daft Punk projects, tracking sessions, jamming, remixes, scoring and sound design.”
They even love to use one of my favourite Ableton stock plugins “Operator”….
“Operator is one of the best soft synths out there, and I hate soft synths in general,”
Here is a another quote detailing their love for Ableton
“I tend to minimize my setup, and Live helped me do it. Live is one of the most transparent and creative softwares I have ever used. Its interface is streamlined and its features offer endless possibilities with a minimal approach. The whole process is easy, simple and fun, yet with accessible sophistication and professional results.”
As with a lot of artists these days their live set also is powered using Ableton.
Orbital is made up of brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll, from Sevenoaks in Kent. Their name is apparently named after the Orbital motorway, M25 where there were a lot of acid house raves back in the day. First making music in 1989 these guys are certainly godfathers of the genre with commercial success with there first track appearing on Top of the Pops and reaching number 17 in the UK charts as far back as the late eighties.
In this video in the link below you can watch the brothers describe their incredible live set up and you can see it is powered by Ableton Live.
Richard Devine is an electronic music producer and sound designer from Atlanta, U.S. Richard is best known for his releases on Schematic Records and one album released with help of Warp Records also. Modular Synthesis is something Richard is well known for and has put out some epic streams of his patchwork creations on Youtube. A spectacular sight and sound to behold.
Here’s what Richard had to say about his production methods and relationship with Ableton Live….
Do you have any favorite trick or tip that you’d like to pass along?
My trick is to automate every possible parameter. I love how you can do either hands on automation or CC automation with Live. I use my Ozonic keyboard to assign parameters like delay time, feedback and modulation to the knobs and faders, then I go crazy with the automation and record all my movements. I do this several times until it’s completely crazy, and then bounce down. I keep doing this until I have several interesting slices of automated audio, which I then re-import back into Live for more audio editing in the Track View window… it’s completely mad!
What do you like most about Live?
I love how easy it is to build from totally different loops and sounds, using the intelligent time compression and expansion tools. Everything can be done on the fly and with ease. It even works as a wonderful sound design tool, with the real-time clip envelopes and audio effects.
Skrillex is Sonny John Moore from LA and California. After success as the front man of the band “From First to Last” Sonny started his own solo electronic project and named himself Skrillex in around 2009. Since then Sonny has won a million awards, become an international sensation and the first to hold a record for an electronic artist with the most Grammys.
Here is a video of Justin Bieber, Diplo and Skrillex talking about the making of their hit song “Where Are U Now”. Sonny talks in this video about his use of Ableton and you can see him working with it.
Skrillex had this to say about making music in Live:
“I think, for laptop producers especially, it’s just so intuitive in the box. Everything is laid out and you don’t have to go searching for things like automation or plug-in parameters – in fact, all the things that are really hard to do in other DAWs. Ableton’s just very fluid and quick.”
You have a rather minimal setup: Apple MacBook Pro, Ableton Live, and a few plugins. Is that current? I have that same rig;
it’s even smaller now. I am on the road 322 days a year. So everything is composed and recorded in that same rig. I don’t use a MIDI controller. I draw all the MIDI in—a lot of drawing, a lot of clicking and copying and pasting.
And again another producer bigging up the brilliant and one of my favourite soft synths “Operator”
“I also use Operator a lot, which is Live’s FM synthesiser. It’s a similar kind of thing, but the matrixes are different so you can make different kinds of sounds.”
Four Tet is well known English musician Kieran Hebden (born 1977) He began releasing material as Four Tet in 1998. His music has been described as “folktronica” as an attempt to label his unique sample based electronic music.
For his new album New Energy He worked entirely “in-the-box” with Ableton Live at home with a very basic hardware set-up – a Novation MIDI controller, old set of Mackie monitors and a nice interface by Prism Sound. The ablum, Beautiful Rewind he revealed was made entirely in Ableton Live on a laptop, with 95% of the sounds coming from samples. In addition, made in seven months on his laptop with Ableton Live, VST synthesizers, and found audio recordings, the album Morning/Evening was made.
Here are a couple of videos that demonstrate Four Tet’s use of Ableton Live
This one he talks all about his Ableton Live powered live set.
English producer Jonathan Julian Hopkins (born 15 August 1979) is well known for his unique brand of emotive techno. He started as a pianist at a very young age and not so long after started programming MIDI on an old Amiga 500. Here is a nice description of the style of his electronic music productions.
“Hopkins’s aesthetic is perpetually intriguing. He transcends genres, melding digital coldness with subtle, bucolic textures; veering from skewed elegance to strange, unsettling depths.” “He makes powerfully emotive, instrumental music that consistently crosses genres, ranging from solo acoustic piano to explosive, bass-heavy electro.”Also, he “meticulously constructs lush, downtempo arrangements, blending digital beats and soothing ambience.”
Here is what Jon Hopkins had to say about his usage of Ableton Live
“It’s an Ableton [Live] system at the core of it. I ran off all the separate sounds from my own studio, and kind of loaded everything up into Ableton, so I’ve got total flexibility over all the songs. Then I have separate outputs through the interface, so I can have four or five [Korg] Kaoss Pads running in sync with Ableton, where I can do sampling and looping and all kinds of crazy sounds. And then I go into a mixing desk, and I’ve got a lot of control over what’s going on. I’ve got a little MIDI keyboard up there to play stuff on and to keep things triggering. That’s kind of it, really. It’s not enormously complex, because I have to be able to travel around with it on my own.”
About his live sets…..
“It’s an Ableton [Live] system at the core of it”, and more recently has started using it to write: “[Logic is] like working in a very small courtyard, whereas Ableton is like this big massive playing field. It’s almost as if you can’t see the boundaries. If anything, it’s almost too much choice because almost anything you can imagine is possible. I’ve been using it to perform for years, but I’ve only learnt to create music with it in the past year and a half. You can go infinitely deep with it, it’s like a new instrument really.”
Jean-Michel Jarre is a French composer, performer and record producer born in 1948. His is without doubt one of the forefathers of electronic music, a true pioneer in the arts. He is well known for his first album Oxygène released in 1976, selling an estimated 12 million copies. He also holds the world record for the largest audience at an outdoor event. Overall Jarre has probably sold more than 80 million records. Although Jean is a master of Analog synthesis and a lot of his music was made on old hardware synths he now also loves to use Ableton.
Jean-Michel Jarre was the inspiration to make this collection of presets for one of my favourite synths, Ableton’s “Analog”
Here are some words from Jean-Michel Jarre about his discovery of Ableton Live.
I started with Pro Tools,” he points out, “and step by step, because I was travelling a lot and working with so many people, I suddenly used Live more and more because I could use it on the road. I really fell in love with this DAW. Even in terms of quality, I found it in some aspects better than Pro Tools. For instance, bouncing a mix from Pro Tools, I heard a difference between the bounce and the result of the session being played. With Ableton Live, it’s absolutely transparent — even visually on the spectrogram and when you listen to it. And it’s so easy to work with, so friendly. I’ve found for the first time a DAW where I have as much pleasure as I used to have dealing with an analogue desk.”
Deadmau5 is Canadian electronic music producer Joel Zimmerman, best known for his domination in the field of progressive house music. His name came from finding a dead mouse in his computer. Here is a description on the man by Rolling Stone magazine
Basically, you know his type: a cocky, introverted, socially maladjusted nerd who’s usually the smartest guy in the room and isn’t afraid to let you know it
Deadmau5 is well known to be an Ableton Live user. In his many studio streams and masterclasses you can see for yourself his chosen Daw of choice is Ableton Live. Although Joel for the majority of his sounds is using hardware the Daw that put it altogether is Ableton Live.
Check out his retarded collection of modular synths. Must be the biggest collection out there.
Here is a video of the man himself running through his Ableton project files.
Bonobo is British, Ninja Tunes artist Simon Green.
It has been revealed through an interview with Ableton that he started production using Akai samplers in the MPC era and he now likes to use Ableton Live to make his music. Here is a one of the questions from the interview where he mentions his use of Ableton.
I understand you wrote much of the recent album on the road. How did your recent travels and touring feed into this motion of creation?
Again, it’s a headspace. It feeds into the process. The ideal environment would be at home, well rested, with everything organized. Which is a great place to work. But also, seven AM at some airport terminal in Poland when you haven’t slept – that kind of mental space is also very useful, when you have music still ringing in your ears from the night before. That’s a valuable headspace to me. Even though it can be sort of a dark place sometimes, it helps. It’s useful.
And Ableton has let that happen. On this record I’ve really been able to work completely away from the studio. And I have to work like that. The amount of traveling I was doing between the last two records has put me in that situation a lot of times. And some of the best work, some of the best ideas have come from being in an airplane terminal or a hotel room. Some of the most inspired ideas have come from those environments.
So I hope you enjoyed reading my blog on what producers use Ableton Live. If you are interested in learning how to use Ableton Live then check out the information I have on this website on my school where you can get private classes in making music with Ableton Live.