5 techniques you can learn from TimeCop1983

production techniques timecop1983

TimeCop1983 is one of the most revered synthwave producers of the last decade. I’ve analyzed dozens of his tracks to find out what makes him so successful. Here are 5 of his production techniques you can apply in your synthwave tracks today:


Technique 1: Simple Drums

TimeCop1983 ‘s drums are typically very simple

  • The same groove from beginning to end
  • Kick on the 1 & 3 (with 8th/16th notes for flavor) or four to the floor
  • Snare on the 2 & 4
  • Simple hi hats (often he doesn’t use any)


Technique 2: 8th or 16th Note Bass Lines

TimeCop1983’s bass lines are typically very simple

  • For slow to mid tempos, he favors continuous 16th note lines
  • For mid to fast tempos, he favors continuous 8th note lines
  • He uses root notes in his bass lines predominantly


Technique 3: 16-Bar Sections

TimeCop1983 often arranges his tracks in 16-bar sections

  • 3-4 sections with the same drums and bass
  • Main lead + harmonic accompaniment for each section
  • The vertical stack of his sections typically has no more than 4-5 voices


Technique 4: Gradual Introduction of Voices

He has a strong tendency to introduce voices gradually with filters

  • Filters a voice and opens it up towards the middle of a section
  • Uses filters in his intros
  • Closes filters when dropping a voice from a section


Technique 5: Simple 4-Bar Chord Progressions

Timecop1983 uses mostly diatonic chords and 4-bar progressions. He seldom uses borrowed or chromatic chords. Simple chords from the major or minor scale are enough for him (and his listeners worldwide).

  • Simple chords from major or minor keys
  • 3-4 chords in his progressions and often only 2
  • Most progressions are 4 bars long
  • Arranges 4-bar progressions into 16-bar sections

If you'd like to watch a tutorial of TimeCop1983's bass line techniques, here's one for you:


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