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Purple Disco Machine And Kungs "Substitution" Breakdown

"Substitution" was released on 30 March 2023. This collaboration between Purple Disco Machine and Kungs has quickly become a favorite in the French House and Disco music scene, known for its infectious grooves and vibrant energy. The track is a prime example on how to blend elements of Disco, Funk, and EDM to create a sound that's both nostalgic and fresh.
Purple Disco Machine is known for bringing a retro yet contemporary vibe to his tracks and this one is no exception, Throughout this tutorial, we'll explore how to make each element of the song from scratch so by the end of this tutorial, you'll have a comprehensive understanding of how "Substitution" was made and the skills to recreate it yourself.

- This article was possible because all of the presets from this breakdown came from our French House Serum pack and it has have 20% off with the code: SP01


- Purple Disco Machine - Heartbreaker


To create this funky bassline, we draw on techniques from our previous tutorials and use Serum as our sampler. First, we record a C note on our Fender Jaguar Bass and load it into the noise oscillator, enabling one-shot mode and pitch tracking, this will make that our one shot plays in the note we trigger with our Midi. To make the sound a little more full and warm, we use a sinewave wavetable on oscillator A and a Sweep 20 wavetable on oscillator B.
This bass patch is the only one in the tutorial not included in the French House Serum pack; instead, it can be found in our Indie Pop pack

To create this arp sound, we utilized a Basic MG in oscillator A and an I Has Can Kick in oscillator B, both are one octave up. The defining feature of this patch lies in the filter: we employed a Band 24 filter to achieve a high resonance sound and to cut both the low end and some of the high end.
Additionally, we used LFO 5 to modulate both the cutoff and resonance. This LFO also modulates the wavetable position of both oscillators, as well as the reverb and delay in the FX tab, this will give some movement to the sound.

To make this sound, we used two MB saw wavetables, one in each oscillator. LFO 1 modulates the wavetable position in both oscillators, adding dynamic movement to the sound. For the filter, LFO 2 is responsible for modulating the cutoff, which introduces a sweeping effect and to achieve that distinctive pumping effect, we routed LFO 4, which has a sidechain shape, to our amp. This combination of modulations results in a rich, evolving sound with rhythmic dynamics

Now that we've arrived at the chorus, we have the main element: this plucky melody. To achieve this, we used a Basic_MDc in oscillator A and a SawRoundedToSquare in oscillator B, each with 9 voices. For the characteristic plucky sound, then we set Envelope 2 with a decay of 300 ms, no sustain, and a release of 200 ms to modulate the filter cutoff. Finally, we used LFO 1 as a sidechain, routing it to the Amp in the matrix tab to add the finishing touch.

Recreating this synth sound was a bit hard. To achieve the ideal tone, we had to use a layering technique, blending multiple elements to faithfully capture the original's depth and richness.

For the first layer, we need to add all the high-end and brightness to the sound. We use a Basic Shape slightly bent in oscillator A and a SQR_SAW_Wrd in oscillator B, each with 4 voices. As before, we use an LFO as a sidechain, routing it to the amp for that signature effect, then go to the FX tab and add some Hyper Dimension and Chorus to make the sound a little wider in the stereo image.

This layer enhances the low end and warmth of the sound. We used two SawRounded wavetables, each with 6 voices, and set Envelope 1 with a 70 ms attack to avoid clashing with the transient of the first layer. LFO 1 is also functioning as a sidechain, but this time it’s additionally routed to the filter cutoff, which is set to cut everything above 2kHz.