I'm new to creating electronic music but I've been listening for 20 years and have been reading forums like this for quite some time. My question is, is it wise to start with a tracker program like renoise or should I be using something simpler in the beginning? I know nothing else is quite like a tracker so nothing will really prime me for renoise but would something more simple be a good place to learn simple beat making and song construction?
Yes, go for it, the free demo had me rolling for a year or so until I decided I needed resampling and bought the full version.
You can learn art with any tool. And each tool needs to be learnt by itself, to produce the art. I'd say better go with a proper tool to begin with, than trying to drive nails into wook with toy plastic hammers thought for sucklings, that'd just be frustrating.
You've most likely heard *a lot* of tracker music through those 20 years then
My recommendation? Well, usually, you have some level of abstraction between the "score" and the "sound", or "result". Depends on the software of course, but I'd argue that a tracker is very direct interface for beat-making and composing. Sure, Renoise is complex. But the thing it mostly boils down to is not the number of features (or lack thereof), but rather, how you will be using the software. And that's pretty hard to say before you've actually given it a shot...it's highly individual.
If you haven't already done this, I would highly recommend watching the introduction videos. They take you through the basics in a way that both veterans and newcomers can relate to:
Secondly, try to get familiar with (some of) the shortcuts. The sheer number can be overwhelming - there are thousands. But I think this can't be understated: learning the "right ones" (again: this is individual) is key to unlocking Renoise, or any tracker for that matter. I have plenty of MIDI controllers, and use them from time to time - but the QWERTY is always there. More than a hundred buttons that allows you to operate your spaceship at breakneck speed.
Thirdly, don't limit yourself to a single software. Yes, it's important to (take the time to) learn a tool, but it can be a mistake to adopt the "be-all and end-all" mindset. Renoise is powerful, but it can't do everything. Still, if you feel you're hitting a wall, and think Renoise *should* be able to do what you want - well, this is what the forum is for. Often, you'll be greeted with a "sure, you just need to [XYZ]...". Which is a luxury I didn't have when I first started out with trackers myself