How To Start An Electropop (Synthpop) Band
What Is Electropop?
Before I begin, I'll go over the basics of what electropop (sometimes referred to as synthpop) actually is. Essentially, electropop is pop music that heavily features electronic elements such as synthesizers. The genre was born in the 1970s and really hit its peak in the 1980's with the advent of bands such as Men Without Hats and Kraftwerk.
Nowadays, electropop has had a revival of sorts and has become quite popular. Some modern artists that are definitely electropop are Owl City and Lights, and even Lady Gaga and Ke$ha if you want to stretch the definition a bit.
Equipment You'll Need To Make Electropop At Home
Before you can form your band you'll need some equipment. At the beginnings, the most important tools you'll require will be a MIDI keyboard, a computer with a decent sound card, and some audio sequencing software.
For the MIDI keyboard you can either get a cheap USB model that only does MIDI, or you could go with a full fledged synthesizer like a Nord Lead or MicroKorg. With a lot of older synths you will need to buy a USB-MIDI adapter to get them connected to your computer, but you'll find that some of the newer ones like the MicroKorg XL will have USB connectivity built in already.
Sound Card and Computer
Since you'll be recording with your sound card you'll want at least a mid-range card (usually above $60) that offers multiple audio inputs and quality ASIO drivers. Some of the more expensive and professional ones will even have MIDI inputs which can come in handy. For the computer itself, just get a desktop with a multi-core processor (quad cores are dirt cheap nowadays) and have a lot of ram. I'd suggest even going with a 64 bit operating system and getting above 4 gigabytes of DDR3.
Digital Audio Workstations and MIDI Sequencers
To actually record your electronic music you'll need some digital audio workstation (DAW) software and a good MIDI sequencer. Some popular options are M-Audio Protools, Ableton Live, Propellerhead Reason, Fruity Loops (FL Studio), and Reaper. With a DAW you can load up many virtual synths and other VST instruments like Antares Autotune or Melodyne pitch correction. There's really so much you can do with software these days and it's remarkable how thousands of dollars worth of synthesizers can now be put on a single disc.
Personally I like to use Reason 4.1 for my MIDI sequencing and I run it using ReWire in FL Studio.
Now that you have some of the basic equipment you'll need, you will need to decide how many people you'll want to have in your band. You can either be a solo act like Owl City or Lights, a duo like MSTRKRFT or Daft Punk, or even a full fledged band. It's up to you.
So if you have any friends that can play keyboard try to recruit them.
Finally, you just need to make some music! So stay up all night and play around with your new software, eventually something good might come out of it!
Learn how to form chords and popular chord progressions and you'll be set. It's really pretty easy.
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