Music Production For Beginners: CLOUD TRAP Fundamentals - How To Make Trap Beats In Any DAW | Kia Orion | Skillshare

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Music Production For Beginners: CLOUD TRAP Fundamentals - How To Make Trap Beats In Any DAW

teacher avatar Kia Orion, Artist & Music Producer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Where Are You Going?

    • 3. Drums

    • 4. Melody

    • 5. Mixing

    • 6. Mastering

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About This Class

This is a great beginner class for beginning producer and beatmakers

That said, I have a course that I recommend you start with, and if you haven't taken my other beginner courses (you can do that here)

In this course I'll walk you through every creative decision I made when crafting this modern trap beat, and how you can apply this same advice right away into your own production. 


Do you wish you could make your own trap beats to rap or sing to?

Now you can.

Making beats isn't rocket science, but there are some core concepts that took me YEARS to learn. 

And in this course I give you all the gems, no holds barred.

In this course I'll walk you through each step of making a trap beat and also how to Mix and Master it so it sounds professional.

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND: I'll be showing you in Ableton but the CONCEPTS I cover are applicable to ANY DAW. 

You don't need fancy plug-ins to make good music! 


Want free resources and producer coaching to help you level up even quicker? I got you. You can access all my free plug-ins and trainings by clicking anywhere on this link. 

Have fun! 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kia Orion

Artist & Music Producer


Ay! I'm Kia. 

I'm an artist and educator who believes life wouldn't be the same without music.

Or tacos.

I realized that I was equally as passionate about teaching music as I was making it.

In 2016 I founded Beat School, an online platform and series of educational programs to help aspiring artists and producers learn how to make beats, accelerate their growth, and stay inspired. 

I'm originally from New York but these days you'll find me traveling around the world writing songs or playing beats on a rooftop somewhere.

I appreciate you stopping by, and if you'd like to get in touch you can DM me or shoot me an email at [email protected] 

Life is too short not to do what you lov... See full profile

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1. Intro: A ladies and gentlemen, what is going on? Welcome back to another course with yours truly, my name is key Orion. I'm the man who is obsessed with making music in teaching you how to make your own. In today's course, I'm going to teach you how to make a beat. That is very modern trap. It's kinda this cloud rap, sort of think you think Post Malone think sway Lee. And I'm going to stop talking about it is when I'm teaching how to make. And obviously it's going to be just that beat without the vocals. But at that sounds interesting to you. I'm going to break down everything from the melodies to the transitions, to the drums, to the 800 eight, the kick, how to mix it, how to master it and everything in between. If that sounds fun to you, please stick around, buckle up. Instead of side 30 to 45 minutes for this course is going to be a short course. I'm just going to give you the necessary things you need in order to make beats. Now, couple of things. First of all, I'm going to be doing this in Ableton, but you don't need able to, in order to get the most out of this course, you can use any DAW digital audio workstation for this. What's really important or the concepts, the ideas around plugins the overarching theme of how to construct a beat arrangement, the mixing, the mastering. These are things that aren't dos specific, so don't worry if you don't have to interrupt. This looks kind of weird compared to whatever data you have. It's more the ideas, the concepts they're going to want to pay attention to. Another thing that's important is you don't need a lot of fancy plug-ins. A lot of the things that I'm going to be doing are, as you can tell, these are all stock plug-ins. So if you don't have crazy third-party plug-ins, don't worry about it. That sounds good. Get ready to rock and roll. I'm excited to show you guys how I made this beat for start-to-finish. See you on the inside. 2. Where Are You Going?: Okay. Also, if you've seen any of my stuff before, you know how important it is that I told you guys about the idea of having a reference track, right? Because in order to know where we're going, we got to have an idea in terms of if you think about you're going on a road trip or something like that, you open Google Maps. You don't just start driving, right? You put in a destination that you're going to drive to. And then you figure out whether you're going by blow, blow by boat, plane, train, automobile, whatever, figure out where your destination is. So that's what I did for so if you check this out, like I said as well, great artists steal you always notice that this is a song called reality check by swayed Lee that I'm going to play for you. And this is the track that I modeled mind after. And so it's that, that was the track that as like, okay, that's what I want. I love those drums. I liked the way he did his ad libs. There's a lot of reverb on his voice. And so if you've listened to my track, obviously it's not the exact same as sweetly you, that dude makes hits, but I think we got it pretty close in terms of the overall vibe. And so that sway, this is mine. Again, this is sway. You can tell I pretty much, I jacked a lot from that drum pattern. And in terms of my own vocals, you're learning how to make beats in this course, but I stole a lot of his ideas are at least as engineer's ideas on how to mix vocals that then I applied them our track. So, uh, wanted to cover that first because before we dive into any of the nitty-gritty, whenever you're gonna make a track, it's good to have some sort of a reference first, so that way you can come, whenever I'd play my track out, then come back to sways and thus the mine, I come back to sway because you want to AB it back and forth and get yours to sit in that sort of range in terms of volume, in terms of style, in terms of the sound choices, all that sort of stuff. In order to do that, you have to learn how to listen. So get a reference point, figure out where you wanna go first, right? Pull up Google Maps, figure out where we're going. And then you can reverse engineer from there. So whatever this is, I'm going to teach you how to reverse engineer this track, but for whatever beats you're making, learn how to remake beats first. And that will teach you a lot, learning how to listen the whole nine. And it's important point to cover before we really jump into it. So now let's start breaking down this track from start to finish. What I did to make it what it is. 3. Drums: Okay, So some tracks, I start with the drums, some tracks I start with the melody. If we listen to sways track, no sway. Come over your bro. Let's listen to it. It's just listened to the drums. Imagine you can't hear anything. Let's just listen to the drums. So I'm gonna tell you right here, I hear a bang and 800 eight. I hear an 800 eight kinda clap. I hear one hi-hat That's kind of pay and a little bit to the left. Another IDE that's paint a little bit to the right or they're the same. He either has two different hi-hats or he has one high hat that he's pitching up and down for those hi-hat roles. And then I also hear a like, it's almost like a stick of some sort or like some sort of a percussion sound that's painted the right. Let's listen to that again. He also has an open hi-hat going on on the right as well. So that's where I hear. I hear actually, he doesn't have another hi-hat painted the right. He has one high hat that's being pitched up and down. This pan to the left. He has an open I had as pain to the right. Yes. The sticking this pin to the right, Here's an 800 eight clap That's right down the center. And also heavy 800 eight That's right down the center. So that's what I wanted to recreate first. So I found the BPM at the track which is 120. And these are, these are sways. Drums will listen to his stuff and then I'll show you the drums that I made with mine. And these are my drums which I went, I steal. I think it's important to sometimes put your own twist on it. So I took a lot of those same ideas. Again with the 80 weight, with the kick, the whole thing. He doesn't have a kick. I don't think I added a kick is I wonder one of mine. And then I added a bunch of different pieces, but to get added a cowbell, couple different things, but these are my drums in comparison to his. Helps if we turn them off. So that is the first piece was I got that drum loop down. And then I knew that we're going to be off to the races. So if we again, if we use check out what this is. These are all of these different kind of 800 eight sounds. Men. If we look at them, almost none of them have any effects on them. And this is something that I'll talk about time and time again. If you choose good samples, you don't need to add a lot of effects. So this is the only one, the 800 eight, I did add some distortion in some. This is a little bit of side chain compressed to a bounces out of the way of the kick and the kick triggers. But again, the distortion to get the 800 eight to really come through. I really wanted that to kind of bang. But overall, our drums are pretty, pretty straightforward, right? We got that same 800 eight slap that he's using. I found that these high hats pan to the left that are pitched a little bit. And then these high hats that are painted the right, that cowbell. And it's open hi-hat. And that's it. So in terms of drums, I eject a lot of inspiration from here and then just add them own twist to it. So that's where I started, was with the drum pattern and with the kick. And then we jumped into the melody next. 4. Melody: In regards to the melody, well, let's listen to sway again and listen to, imagine the drums aren't there. Imagine just what the melodically driving the track. It just sounds to me like a pad, right? Like some sort of a big pad that it's really spacey again, that's why it's kinda the Cloud trap course. It's cloudy, it's SPAC, it's a pad. It's not a lot of crazy melody. And then his vocals, He's allowing these vocals to do other stuff. I think a lot of times when we make beats, we think we need to have a lot of melody, secondary melodies, different instruments coming in and out. You don't, you really don't. I think having some sort of a good mean pad or some sort of a bed to work from is way the key. And that's what I've found in this Juno. Juno. I'm going to turn all these effects off so you can see what's going on. It was this pad that I found on splice. Those same two chords over and over. And that's it. And then all I did was I added a compressor, so adductor of the way the kick and I EQ the heck out of it. Because I wanted a lot of the lows off. So it allow room for the 800 eight and the kick. Lot of highs, roll those off so it allow room for my vocals. And then I added a little bit of retro color, which is this no more boring pads preset. And I don't think I even use this OTT. And that's it. I just took that, add some effects to it and kept it moving. And then to get a little bit more out of the space there, if we go to my original over here, this is my original bars that chat that I took this, these, I have two different vocal chops. So let's check this out. This is what all of these sound like together. And that's it. So it's just these two different types of vocal jobs, which then we look at the effects. I've done a lot to get that cloudy vibe again, a lot of ways that you kind of get this cloudy fibers is with reverb and delay. And again, EQ you, I EQ off some of the highs, haven't done too much EQ off the low. Again, this kind of EQ bands, same thing, taken up some of the lows, taking up some of the highs, and again, a lot of reverb and delay. So that way you get that sort of luscious, spacey sound that I'm often after when I'm creating a track like this. And those are the only melodies in the entire track. The rest, as I'm letting my vocals, the main vocal do a lot of heavy lifting. And then also the if I, if we take it back and I'll play it for you at the vocals for a hot second. It moves it. So let's check this out. Just listen to, listen to the, listened to the ad libs, right? There's no my vocals and add lives and is now how much they're taking up space. Push you away whenever we're getting close enough and I'm become an, a ghost. So that if you, if you really think of making a beat for yourself, for an artist, you don't need a lot of melodies because the vocal is going to be so present, so prominent. And I realized that again, if we listen to reality check by sway, his vocals are doing so many of his ad libs are actually the melodies. I got it. Right. That's, that's really what's taken up. The space is the vocals. It's, it's his ad libs. It's that one little shiny sound, but other than that, it's just a pad and the drums. So that's a huge takeaway. You don't need to be really good and make a melodies are some genius at playing piano or get some sort of a solid pad or some find it on Splice, like I did some sort of a bed that then allows your vocals that come through. Another thing is that the more instruments in the crazy things you have going on, the more distracting can be trying to write to it. So I wrote just a skeleton of this B with this pad, and it's a simple drum loop. And then I just built the rest of it out after that. So keep your melodies simple. Get a bed that then you can add your vocals to afterwards. 5. Mixing: Okay, so now that we have the beat, It's pretty much right. We've got our kick. We have this eight await that I've, that I've just played out in terms of an 800 eight that goes along with the Philistines eight await. It just follows a similar melody to the sample. And with the kick. So nothing super crazy there. What really is a key to a beat like this is going to be your mixing. Excuse me. And so that's what I want to Brian and break down for you guys right now. So I want to walk you through kind of what I did in terms of the mixing and then we'll jump into mastering afterwards. So when it comes to mixing, if you play this beaker is going to play it on the hook, the loudest part of the track. I tried to get it, so it comes in around maybe negative four to negative six dB's total. Then the lightest part of the track. Let's take out my vocals again. No vocals coming in around 4.24.3. And so the way that I like to mix as I bring in the most important elements first. So first thing that I'm going to bring in is the end. You have to worry about transitions because those are just there for a long part of the track. It's just a kind of a blip and then they bounce low end. So the first thing I started to kick the ball, switching the kick and ate away. I knew this is something I really wanted to get popping because in Sway Lee's he's 800, eight is banging. And so I wanted to kind of replicate that. So this is just the kick and 800 eight. And then once we've got that going, I'll bring in the clap after that. And here's the thing about it. The Collaborate now might not sound that loud. And that's probably good things I know when I'm master it, I'm going to bring all of these sounds up together. So I like to mix this. I do a rough mix. And then after I put on my mastering chain, I kind of read to a slight remixing to it. But a tip when it comes to mixing is rather than having everything coming straight down the center, painting things out, right? Because you can only have one thing taking up a certain frequency at a certain time. So if everything's going right down the center is going to be hard to differentiate the different sounds in the frequencies of the whole thing. So let's now everything is panned right now. Other than the snare, the clap, the kick. In the 800 eight, everything is going to be paid one way or another. Listen to this. All right, We're so 4.2, we aren't, we aren't peaking past are four, are four decibels this point. And then we're going to bring in another important part is the sample. But I'm not going to have these like super hikes. I know a lot my vocals to be another piece of the main, as another main instrument. So way to think about it. And again, see how these are pan, these vocal chops up into the left, these are pinned to the right. The important, for me, the important elements, the main sample, clap, the 800, eight, the kick, and my main vocal are all coming down the center. Other than that, everything's fair game. Ad libs, I'm going to put, push those one way, maybe have those, like do a little bit of bouncing around all the high hats. I'm going to have those do some bouncing around. Pretty much everything I like to kind of you can play with it unless it's really important. Again, this is my personal preference. If an important I'm having that come right down the center. And as you can tell, other than the vocals. And I got kinda broken down for you how I kinda worked little bit with the sample. None of these things have plug-ins on them, right? For me, mixing is all about getting your levels right, working on your panning. Kick-ass to me, 800 eight has some distortion on it, but other than that, these are sounds that just came right out of splice. That then I just tweaked either pitch one way or another. And then just worked on getting a levels, right? You don't need fancy plug-ins. I can't say that enough. Work on getting your levels right things to sit in the mix right there, quick mix on it. And we're going to jump to mastering. I'm gonna show you how to bring this thing to life. 6. Mastering: All right, So when it comes to really getting the volume either attract, it's going to come out of your mastering sweet. But I'm going to walk you through these one at a time if you've seen any of my stuff before, you know, it kind of a mastering chain I like, here's the deal. I told you I'd put a rough mix on it before and then we're gonna come back and make some tweaks probably after we had the mastering because everything's going to sound different. Excuse me. So here's my mastering chain. I have a simple EQ. Kinda some of the lows boost a little bit of highs, little mid-side EQ. I have this FAB filter Saturn, which I love, which is distortion plug-in. And it was adding one decibels of gain to things that are above 800 hertz. I'm not adjusting anything below 800 hertz at all. And this is what it sounds like with each thing added on. Watching, here's it's about to get loud. This it doesn't sound like much. It's going to go on, but I'm going to show you once you make it loud, you'll be able to hear the difference better. Now we're going to add this. This is a little bit of compression, getting a little bit of kind of some classic, this T-Rex classic compressor getting some glue compression on the whole mastering chain. Negative one decibels of gain reduction. Again, you weren't doing a lot of big things here. You're bunch of small movements that are going to add up to make your full track. But you don't want to do any, you don't want a ton of compression or your master tracks, it's affecting everything. So think about that. So check this out. Just one decibel gain reduction. Little bit of volume out of the sky, right? Getting a little volume there. And then this is where we're getting a lot of volume. So watch your ears. This is our classic clipper. And so here we're about, we're boosting about 5.7 db, which is a lot. So watch your ears of assisted from a soft gripper. So check this out. Before, after. And then last but not least, this is the pro L2. This is a limiter. Now the fab filter plug-in in a secure way we're getting kind of our last bit of volume is out of this profile to without it. With it. Now I want you to hear, And again, we're not peaking, right? We're close, but we aren't because we have this 0.03, a classic Clipper, that's what we've told it. That's where the loudest we're going to allow it to go as 0.03. But check this out and this FAB filter sad and you'll be able to hear this much better now. And really pay attention to the hi-hat and the snare with this off and on and on. If you are listening to headphones, you're going to be able to hear it. But if you are, that's a huge difference. It really makes things brighter, uh, brings up that high-end, gives you a little bit more life that I was looking for in this track. Last but not least is this loudness meter. These are what you're looking for or integrated loves to kinda figure out how loud your track is objectively in. That is, suddenly has too much to dive into now, but there's a free loudness meter. I recommend getting this and this. So when you put your track on streaming platforms, you actually know how, because a lot of streaming platforms, if it's past what they're looking for. Most streaming platforms want something like negative 12, negative 13 months. They do their own compression to it. So I shoot for something and kind of at negative 10 and negative 13 range. So what I hear is exactly what ends up on streaming platforms. So something to keep in mind. But I hope that this small mini-course was helpful in terms of helping you walk through and understand the real importance of simplicity when it comes to making good beats, at least beats for artists in this sort of cloud trap vibe. If you want to know how to mix vocals. I have a bunch of other course on that, but let me know. You can reach out to me at key Orion, everyone line in if you want my free producer training, you can get that at beat school That is the company that I created. It's called beat school to teach all how to make beats teach Adam is vocals, I vocal templates on there, all that sort of stuff. But the best part is my free producer training, which you check out if this sort of thing you find interesting, I hope that was helpful. They see opportunity and if you made it this far, you'll be a one check in the next one piece.