With countless tracks being released daily, there aren’t a lot that stay relevant for a month let alone a lifetime. Nowadays especially it can be hard to tell what’s going to stand the test of time.
With electronic and dance music specifically, it’s hard to find the tracks that have a timeless feel to them. We’ve given some of our opinions on timeless tracks of different genres before, like French Touch, or Ambient albums, but that’s more of a nod to genres that see a lot less play time these days and as such are remembered through their classic tracks. We’ve tried our hand at Aussie specifics, but that then leads more to songs that have shaped our personal dance cultures.
Going forward, what tracks will we be calling timeless in say 20 or 30 years? It’s hard to say, but one thing’s for sure, no one can tell 100% what’s going to hit. In the words of Mark Dynamix. a scene stalwart with countless Ministry of Sound mixes under his belt, whose seen his fair share of classic tunes, “If we all knew the ‘secret’ we’d be making classic tracks one after the other!”
We asked a couple of people in the know to help us compile what we think are some of the proper ways a timeless track is made so hopefully you can get some inspiration, new ideas, or just a bit of a reminder of the path you were trying to take.
Break SOME rules
Mark Dynamix reckons “A classic track has to follow some rules but break others.” Timeless tunes are rule breakers within reason. For something to stand out above the rest, it often needs to have a defining quality, a je ne sais quois that separates it from the pack. For the difference to be accepted it needs a strong foundation. Something not generic but within the scope of comfortable, a track needs to follow rules before it can break them and guidelines are often helpful in the establishment of a good sound. Often it’s the combination of a couple of genres that might make a track.
A hook helps!
Darude says you want “a simple and effective, easy to remember melody or a bit of lyric that sticks to people’s minds…” This one is a scary one, so many tracks we consider timeless often have small repetitive hooks that stick to our brains. Think Darude’s Sandstorm, a track that has survived the era when trance became a dirty word. Acknowledging some of his own success he said ” Sometimes it’s completely mindless, just hooky and fun for some reason.”
The reason that’s such a scary idea is that when creating a hook becomes the focus, it’s easy to lose sight of the more full bodied image, like creating a cocktail if you’re focussing too much on the sweet, you sometimes miss the all important balance. A hook can help, but be careful you don’t get engrossed!
Relevance to the current club climate is important
Timing is a huge factor in creating a timeless track. For it to be timeless, it needs to have its first stint at popularity. Both Mark and Darude are very aware that trends circle back around, Mark putting it down to an approx. 15 year cycle, but for it to remain relevant in those years between trends, it has to have hit the trend, Darude saying:
“Accept that sounds and trends they do change, but trance, or any other genre for that matter, despite all kinds of magazine or blog headlines, will never die, they just come and go out of the brightest spotlight and mutate and evolve into sub genres or whole new ones.”
Mark Dynamix gave the solid bit of wisdom that simply: “Eventually everything comes full circle.” If a tune pops off and is at the height of popularity in its respective genre, there’s a good chance it’ll come back when that genre, evolves, or has its time back in the spotlight. Think about a track like Shooting Stars, it’s somewhere between indie dance, house and even a bit of pop. It transcends genres and has a versatility that means as all those genres have evolved it’s come back into the spotlight.
Create that connection
Darude put a lot of importance on personal connection, and he’s right. Whether it be to a time or place, or to a persona feeling that resonates with a larger audience than you’d think. By using samples, or vocals you can tap into those feels.
“sometimes it’s timeless and unforgettable, because it creates a connection to a private situation or perhaps resonates with a wider audience due to a specific time in history and culture.” – Darude
We’re not going to pretend to be experts on production, but we’ve listened to a fair few timeless tracks and there’s something to be said by people who have made and been around the tracks. With the saturation of the market these days, it’s too easy to fall into the mindset that everything’s going to fade away, but hopefully these little expert insights will help you on your creative journeys.
What do you think makes a timeless track? Let us know below!
Looking to listen to some timeless Aussie dance bangers? Check out our top picks and Spotify playlist here