Coming hot off the tail of a successful first run of releases, multi-talented Chinese American DJ and producer HELANG just dropped another three-track EP that took my breath away when I first heard it. Each of the tracks is an incredible tune in its own right, but the leading track, “Black Angel,” had a special kind of magic in its production that made me crave a bit deeper into how it was made.

The syncopated synth blasts, rolling bass, and crisp percussions immediately caught my attention. So, I invited her on for the latest iteration of the How It Was Made series, this time to unpack how the leading track was made.

So give the track a listen below (as always, I recommend you give it a few listens just to acclimate your ears to all the concepts she’ll be breaking down in this feature) before reading about how this incredible track was made and some of Helang’s favorite tools to use in the studio.

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Even though I don’t own any fancy external/software synthesizers, I make sure every song I write is derived from the bottom of my heart- the sources of my inspiration. That being said, my go-to is the MPK Mini MKII. It is a keyboard controller that gives me the freedom to perform, record, and compose with virtual instruments, effects plug-ins, and DAWs. 

For example, my favorite way of using this would be dragging a vocal or synth sample into a mini track in the DAW and then using the keyboard to creatively chop up the sample till I can get my desired result. It is also great for live recording because I can automate the ADSR (attack decay sustain release) knobs on the fly, and record multiple takes for me to pick and choose from afterward. 

I also love using this keyboard for occasional live performance content pieces I will record for social media. Overall it is just a practical, portable, and sustainable piece of equipment that anyone can make use of whether they are a beginner or a long-time producer.

Learn More About This Synth Here 🔥 🔥 🔥


Needless to say, Diva is one of my favorite plugins. Not only does it do an amazing job at emulating modules from different analog synthesizers, it also has unique sounds and versatile capabilities that keeps me as a producer on my toes. For example, I can combine the use of oscillators from the Mini Moog Roland Jupiter 6 and 8 with the digital oscillators from Roland JP 8000 to create a sound that is unique and tailored to how I like them to be. In the case of “Black Angel”, I used a preset called “MK Bass Digi Square” to create a synth stab/lead to getting that heavy and “in your face” sound.

I love tweaking with the filters in a synth sound which you can hear in my productions in this EP. For example, in order to create that “in your face” effect in ‘Black Angel’, I automated up the noise and resonance while tightening the frequency as well to give it a push and pull effect- keeping movement and interest to engage your listeners during a 6-7 min stripped back techno track. By tweaking the “plate” and “delay” accordingly, you can also make the sound more full and give an added “analog” character to it as well.

I recommend producers to get creative with the ADSR functions on diva- really take your time recording different takes. This is such a powerful tool for creating interesting and unique sounds. Every little knob is its own piece of magic.

Learn More About This Synth Here 🔥 🔥 🔥


If you don’t know, now you do: vocals are a big part of my productions, and because of that I cannot live without soundtoys. Particularly, I love using the crystallizer when I am processing my samples. I think it is like echoboy with a hint of *spice. I love using this one for the echo slicing and old-school pitch shifting that it does, and it certainly takes vocal processing to the next creative level. It also makes the vocals sound so much more dynamic and smoother.

In my opinion, this plugin is a spicier version of a regular echo. For example, I like getting creative with the splice knob- by turning it into a specific timeframe, the plugin takes the incoming signal. It splices it up into the desired effect accordingly. What I like to do is toggle around with the splice and delay knobs to get what sounds good depending on the vocal (or any sample) I am playing around with. By turning up the “recycle” knob a bit, it creates more of a “splash” for the effects to really be brought out in the track.

Overall, I recommend producers invest in the entire Sound Toys bundle, and if not, then definitely the Echo Boy and Crystallizer. These plugins can do wonders for taking the quality of your desired effects to the next level. With a little bit of shaping and customizing, you can really get funky with your productions.

Learn More About This Synth Here 🔥 🔥 🔥

Tips For Making Minimal Techno

Tip #1 – Start With A Groove

Start with a good kick and bass. For most minimal techno tracks, a good kick-bass relationship builds the foundation of the groove. 

Tip #2 – Make The Essentials Sound Great Before Anything Else

Groove processing is very important (going off of point #1). To do that, make sure that, whether it’s the shaker, hat, or bass loop; they are rightfully aligned to the kick and bass so the song is doing its job, hitting all the right sonic spaces while allowing each element of the tracking room to breathe.

Tip #3 – Vocals Must Be Unique

Get creative with the vocals. There are many ways you can do that on top of chopping samples in a midi track, including: utilizing filter envelopes, automation, frequency shifters, and more.

Tip #4 – Go Outside Your Genre

Try to make different genres from time to time. Don’t pigeonhole yourself into one thing or another. Creativity is about exploring different ideas and pushing boundaries.

Tip #5 – Collab, Collab, Collab!

Collaborate with other producers you look up to whenever you can. That’s one piece of advice I wish I had received earlier in my production days. Don’t underestimate the power of collaboration.

The post How It Was Made: Helang – Black Angel (Dauntless Records) appeared first on Magnetic Magazine.