Creating Build Ups in Traktor Remix Decks

In a previous tutorial I showed you how easy it is to capture samples into the remix decks, well now it’s time to put the remix decks to some use, and the second video in this series will show you how to create build-ups.

Build Ups

Build-ups, or builds for short, is a way to build excitement into a track ready for a big drop. A small section of track will be repeated, which will then half in size a few times until it reaches a point in the track where a huge drop hits, such as where a new kick drum or bass sound is added to the track.

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Column 3 shows the samples used in the build

Perhaps instead, the build leads up to a huge cymbal crash and then immediately into a soft watery breakdown.

These kind of builds creates texture in a song which may otherwise have been a little bland. It happens in almost every track.

Sometimes the build is very short and other times it builds over a number of bars. When producing music it is the key to creating energy and tension on a dance floor.

Let’s say you’ve been playing a series of loops for a while now and the crowd is getting a little restless, you’re not yet ready to mix in another track, so it’s time to bring in the build.

Using the Remix Decks to Create Builds

If you have a loop in one of the remix deck cells, there are two ways to make builds using the Kontrol F1:

  • You can use the ‘size’ function – turn on the ‘size’ function, then hold down the cell pad and twist the browse knob anti-clockwise to half the loop size. You can continue this until the loop is 1/32 of a beat. To return it to normal size keep the pad depressed and press in the F1’s browse encoder.
  • The second way allows for a one handed approach but requires a little more set up. We need to copy the loop into numerous cells and then half each loop size down to create smaller loops of the same sample. Watch the video below for a more detailed explanation.

Other ways to Create Builds

Cue Points

You can use cue points just before the breakdown/drop in a track to jump back manually to the start of a sound. Pressing this cue point over and over for the desired affect until you are done with the build and then finally, either let it play through to the break/drop, OR set a cue point on the break/drop and hit that cue point when you want to start the drop.

Flux Mode

Flux mode is perfect for creating builds, but timing is important.

By holding down the loop encoder, then turning it anti-clockwise to decrease it’s size whilst flux mode is on, is an ideal way to create builds where there isn’t one. Timing is everything with this though, so making sure you know how many beats ahead of the drop you need to start the loop is something you will need to pay close attention to.

Final Thoughts

Like anything in DJ’ing, moderation is key. Just like with effects; you should not overdo builds. If you are in-tune with your music and are truly listening, you will know when a build is required.

More often than not a build is naturally inserted into most tracks. The only time when you might feel compelled to add a build is if you are playing a live set that is mainly made up of loops from other tracks or your own productions, or perhaps at the end of your set for added flair.

Always practice at home first and make sure you record it so you can listen back to what it sounds like.

When you’re starting out to DJ, you tend to get distracted by the tasks and sometimes stop listening. Keeping your ears on your outgoing mix is very important so that you are feeling the same as the crowd. When we spend too much time in our headphones we become disconnected to what the crowd is listening to.

Above all, have fun and enjoy.

Now Check Out:
Remix Deck Basics
Controlling the Remix Decks with the iPad
Flux Mode

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