Just some background info first: I have a few years experience with logic and ableton from recording and producing live music (mostly indie rock bands) around my campus. I feel like I have developed a good grasp of the software and am now interested in making my own electronic music, specifically music along the lines of the artists featured below. What I am really asking is, what is the technical, not creative, process like for most of these artists? I understand that the two are difficult to separate, but I’m mostly interested in what programs, sample packs, techniques, etc. these guys are using because I get the feeling that they are not going into a traditional studio and making all of their sounds live, or even doing bedroom recording with musique conrete type sound-sculpting, but it also definitely doesn’t sound like they’re just manipulating the presets in their DAW either. Any advice or resources will be helpful, whether its VST recommendations, sample packs, hardware, books, whatever!
I don't have any specific insight into their processes, but I'd wager they're using bog standard sound sources (hardware/vst synths, common samples, mostly) and clever, inventive use of effects chains in conjunction with a lot of automation.
Very (very very very) few electronic artists do things like program their own effects or build their own synths. I'd even doubt that most record their own samples. Almost all of them are using the standard array of samples, synths and effects available to most everyone - they're just really creative and experimental about how they use those things, and, most importantly, how they put them all together. Most of the awesome you hear is about composition, not sound design.
For example, take literally any sample, try stacking a couple of different reverbs together, then run the tails though a modulated comb or high pass filter, shift that down to a register that you like, and then stuff it through light distortion and maybe some granular processing. Those are all things available in most DAWs, but what comes out the end will be bizarre and unique and, if you're lucky, useful. Do things that you don't normally do to sounds. Mangle them horribly, tame them, and use them.
sample packs, techniques, etc. these guys are using because I get the feeling that they are not going into a traditional studio and making all of their sounds live, or even doing bedroom recording with musique conrete type sound-sculpting, but it also definitely doesn’t sound like they’re just manipulating the presets in their DAW either.
Most "real" instruments you hear in electronic music are just sample libraries for different sample-based plugins (aka samplers). These days software is so powerful that even Hollywood film producers don't necessarily hire a real orchestra. Synthesizing and processing your own sounds on the other hand is a completely different matter, it's just practice, practice and practice plus a bit of science.