This article points out three simple tips on how to make music like Bonobo. Having transcended both chill-out and downtempo genres, Simon Green aka Bonobo is known for his unique sound that mixes a variety of music instruments and styles. Although it is probably impossible for anyone, except for Bonobo himself, to create exactly the same kind of music, following are some suggestions that outline the basic elements needed for producing something similar.
1. Get a computer and a Digital Audio Workstation
Before you can start putting together your musical pieces, you will need a computer with a piece of software called the digital audio workstation aka DAW. Just like a photo editing software lets you edit image files, a DAW enables you to edit and mix audio files.
Now, there is a huge variety of different programs, both for Windows and Mac. While all Macs already have a free digital audio workstation installed on them, called GarageBand, Windows users can choose between such free alternatives as Audacity, Kristal Audio Engine, and Wavosaur.
In addition, there are also the paid versions, like the Fruity Loops, Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic, Reason, just to name a few. Bonobo himself has been a Logic user for a number of years.
2. Get some acoustic loops
If you listen to Bonobo’s music, you will most likely notice how the tracks often consist of shorter repeating musical ideas, played by an acoustic instrument. For instance, his song “Black Sands” begins with a repeating guitar melody, which is later mixed together with other loops, such as a double bass loop, drums, hand clapping, and so on. Though all those loops slightly vary in their length, Bonobo has put them together into one whole, creating a full-length track.
To get your loops, you can download them from the internet. There are both free and paid versions. Preview the samples and find the one that suits your taste, containing the instruments and sounds that you would like to start with. Of course, if you can play an instrument, there is also the possibility of recording your own loops. Nevertheless, after getting loops either by downloading or by recording yourself, you can begin with the most creative part on how to make music like Bonobo.
3. Play around with those loops
Once you have a few loops, open them in your digital audio workstation, and start playing around with them. If you are new to audio editing and mixing, it might be a good idea to start simple, by experimenting with two or three loops in one project. After you have made your first tracks, it will be probably much easier to scale up on the number of loops involved in your project, enabling you to create more complex tracks. Having fun with this step will teach you a lot about how to make music like Bonobo.