How To Sound Like Todd Terje
We’re all gearing up for the summer over here at Dawsons, and whose sound screams out summer more than “King of the Summer Jams” Todd Terje.
Todd Terje is modern day disco royalty. A DJ, producer, remixer and label owner, he made his name in the mid 00s with a string of bootlegs. He’s since developed into a festival favourite, and the brains behind some of the biggest club hits in the last 15 years.
An antidote to some of the more po-faced producers and DJs in the electronic scene, Terje mixes the party jams with straight up bangers and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of popular music. Artists as diverse as Chic, Dolly Parton and Franz Ferdinand have all received the Terje treatment, demonstrating that he is a man with his fingers in many musical pies. His lovingly remixed popular classics are anathema to the heavy handed superstar DJ approach some of his contemporaries apply. Serve the song people! His 2013 Radio 1 Essential Mix is 2 hours of sunshine.
The Sound Of Terje
If you’ve listened to either of the above links, you know what we’re talking about now, it’s all about the groove. You’re listening for funky bass lines, clever sampling and some guilty pleasures thrown in the mix.
Being a veteran in the scene, Terje has used all manner of gear to achieve his unique sound. If you watch any interviews or read any external articles, you can see the sheer amount of gear he has. You’d get jealous so don’t go there. Instead, we’re going to pick up on some of the more readily available equipment to build a base with.
We’ll start with the ubiquitous Ableton Live. Intuitive and fun to use, Ableton allows you to write songs, perform live, remix and record. Terje predominantly uses it for live performances, alongside:
AKAI APC40 Ableton Controller
As a showman, Terje isn’t the kind of DJ to just play records back to back. He’s all about the live performance. The AKAI APC40 Ableton controller gives you free reign to loop, mix and edit through your performance.
Roland Drum Machines
Terje is a big fan of Roland and has been known to use a variety of their classic machines. For the wide variety of drum sounds Todd uses, we’d recommend the Roland AIRA TR-8 drum machine. This includes 15 kits, such as the TR-808 and TR-909. If you’re thinking about the disco sound, you’re thinking about the 808. It also has a realtime pattern creation tool for live performances.
Fender Precision Bass
For those nice little licks and pops in Terje’s edits, he uses a Fender Precision Bass. Really, this is just a solid piece of kit to have if you’re making disco music. Squier’s version is also a great choice if you’re working on more of a budget.
At the end of the day, Todd Terje’s sound is all about the party and this gear is really fun to use. I hope this inspires you to follow in the footsteps of Mr Terje, the world needs more music like it.