The ups and downs of producing music

Discussion in 'Working with Sound' started by Bunford, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. Bunford

    Bunford Rock Star

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    I'm recently hit a bit of a wall and it's made look in the mirror a bit about music production and how I approach it. I've realised a few things that are stifling me and am wondering whether this is just me, or whether it is common. I am also looking for any advice to overcome these stumbling blocks.

    I absolutely adore music production and all that it entails. I am a naturally creative individual and quite often feel inspired to start something creative. I love sound, and also love understanding sound, both in terms of the science of acoustics, how things work and getting my head around new things. However, this is where the problems begin...

    ....once my inspiration kicks I will sit down and begin something. However, I soon get 'lost' to finding that perfect sound for the kick drum, and by the time I've found it a while later, I seem to have lost my initial inspiration and then things begin feeling like a chore. They begin to feel like hard work and I struggle to create anything meaningful or useful. I have the same dilemma with new instruments or sounds, in that once I have worked out how something is done or how it works, I lose the motivation to do anything with it. It is almost like finding the 'how' something is done becomes the end goal rather than actually doing something musically creative or productive.

    The other issue I have, linked to the above, is that I try and resolve getting 'that' sound by delving into putting FX and processing on instruments and master channels etc. I then get 'lost' in that too, even though it makes zero sense cos I only have the kick drum so far, and even that is not 100%! I tried to resolve this by creating template as a starting block. However, I then found myself constantly tweaking my template instead of making a song :rofl:

    Anybody else have similar issues and/or been able to overcome it to actually go beyond the above and create end products? I know that 'finish the song' is a mantra to live by, even if it's crap, but I barely manage to start a song the way things are!

    Grateful for any thoughts or the sharing of any views, opinions or experiences!
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
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  3. electriclash

    electriclash Rock Star

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    take the time to make your own custom drum kits and session templates
     
  4. Bunford

    Bunford Rock Star

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    This is what I've been doing for the past 18 months but seems like a never ending project and seem to be getting sucked into the 'organising' the creation of a song rather than the creating :rofl: I just find it hard to sit down, and keep the focus and intent to just make a song instead of playing about with finding a specific sound or tweaking and adjusting templates, or even starting a new template for another type of music from scratch just to avoid creating something. It's bonkers :woot::rofl:
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  5. Von_Steyr

    Von_Steyr Audiosexual

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    Its normal. Focus on finishing the song, just leave the drums as a vst midi channel, so you can later get back to it.
    Once you like something, record and move on, you have to force yourself.
    Also go for the energy of the song vs the perfect sound, its ok not to be a perfectionist.
     
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  6. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    That depends on the genre. In EDM the ideas often come with the sound, so tweaking is a good start for that.

    If you want to write a song, let me tell you, you are not alone. I face the same kind of problems. Maybe this approach helps you, too:

    Make a most basic drum track, don't focus on the sound (even GM will do :yes:), don't focus on the rhythm, just ignore it. Choose one (1) pad like sound (full strings/synth) and one (1) slightly percussive sound (piano). Play the whole song with these two sounds. Just everything, guitars, bass, pads, choir, melodies ... until you you have written every part.
    Start with the goal to make one part and to finish it, then go for the next part and finish it, too. Just like doing a job. Do this in every session you start. After that go for the arrangement and the song itself is done.
    Then choose the basic sounds and adjust the notes and only after that go for the final sounds and the mix.
     
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  7. Zenarcist

    Zenarcist Audiosexual

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    Creating music is a two stage process. Inspiration followed by perspiration. Don't mix the two, as one is a right brain activity while the other is a left brain activity. Basically you are killing your inspiration dead by drilling down into the technical aspects far too soon.

    Setup up your DAW so that you can prototype ideas quickly (use a template), then just focus on the composition and structure. Don't worry about the sounds, you can do all the sound design and tweaking later, after you have generated your new idea.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  8. maverickvd

    maverickvd Noisemaker

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    Steve Duda, in one of his interviews revealed the process of how Deadmau5 produces. He would choose the closest sample/preset w.r.t. the sound in his head. Then he would lay the structure of the song (melodies, groove,etc). Then comes the part where he fine tunes that kick drum and all those micro tweaks.
    In a nutshell, lay the foundation/structure of your track (with the closest resemblance to your desired sound) first and then fine tune the shit out of it.
     
  9. foster911

    foster911 Audiosexual

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    I've inaugurated all of my threads owing of these issues.:bleh:

    In the past before the arrival of nasty Internet, everything was too undemanding. Musicians were making sth and the artists' and audiences' expectations both were so low and everyone were so happy and contented. Now everything has changed. All the pressures have been tripled or more. These external inflationary pressures don't give you any permission to think unrestrainedly and revel in your freedom and creativity much. Just relieve them if you don't want to rupture. My suggestion:

    R.jpg
     
  10. Zealious

    Zealious Ultrasonic

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    Trust me on this

    Your main issue is:

    ( un ) equal temperament

    Your secondary issue may be sample organization ~ but that is not the main thing

    Since you are interested in the science of sound:

    It may take some effort, but once you realize how many people do not even understand how equal temperament is unequally spread out compared to a tuning that actually sounds in tune in many different scales

    You realize not to trust the tuning that it forced upon you in the synthesizers

    The only way you get over that hump is:

    Develope a willingness to tune all your synths properly ~ do not load (tuning file) presets that sound crazy but understand how a proper tuning works > then apply that to all synths you can

    You need to understand the science of proper tuning in order to be able to use it = make interesting songs

    Secondly you will want to Tune all your samples to a correct key > find a daw and or a method or methods for all your daws how to preview the sounds quickcly in song context > but only do this after your instruments are in tune and under your control

    That s basically what it takes to be inspired > ofcourse there are other things you do need to deal with in life and music ( and i do not know your background / level and i am probably not the person to talk about those other things anyhow ), but the things you outined Can Only Be Solved by doing what i tell you above

    May our co-creation be beautiful and have a nice week ahead
     
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  11. Satai

    Satai Platinum Record

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    Check out the Armin Van Buuren video lessons recently posted by the sistah site crew. It's got good stuff to help you power through the problems and continue to be inspired. And like the best of them, the actual problems are never mentioned in it, just watching it and getting the fearless production vibe/energy off the guy is what will help you.

    The philosophical bottom line we all face is that the problems are endless. If you want to look into them deeply and study them, it's never going to end, you will always have them, there's no decisive solution to make them go away. But making music is also endless, endless joy in it for the taking. So one of the most important things to realize is that you will never defeat those problems, but that's alright. You can and should power through, to get to the joy of building your own music concepts and practices. You benefit if you make this a conscious choice, and pick which one of the two you're interested in to focus on. Being interested in the problems isn't a wrong choice either, it just doesn't lead you to music, it goes somewhere else.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  12. m9cao

    m9cao Kapellmeister

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    everything contents in music tracks are derived from someone-selfs life. try to convert something to music notes, rhythms or automation curves(e.g your body moving actions or some math formula you remembered), music itself just some samples, those samples need formula in your head, or some other peoples head.
    its because that people can only recognizing something aleady in their head(most people are stupid, indeed), so the contents transforming by music must have something as connections.
     
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  13. Seedz

    Seedz Platinum Record

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    Hey moosh, as some have said this is fairly normal behavior, but instead of zoning in on one sound or one instrument at the start of a project and spending a lot of time on it you first have to get the rough bones of a track together and accept that although its not perfect at the time it will be or could be later in the project with some work, as the begining of a project is the time to generate ideas and not for detailed editing.

    Once you've done that you can listen to the interaction of sounds as only then you can spend time tweaking the weakest links in any meaningful way as sounds tweaked in isolation to perfection does not mean that they will fit with others well.

    Then you listen and tweak the next........and the next....etc

    Knowing when its all finished can be another problem...:guru:
     
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  14. freefeet12

    freefeet12 Kapellmeister

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    My new approach, in as far as sound and songs go, is to work in stages. New DAW, new approach starting from an clean drive. Feels clean man. :yes:

    Stage 1: Sound design and collection. I'm going to spend about 2-3 months on creating and or collecting the often not so typical sounds of my chosen project style/genre. I will not write anything, I will only create the sounds I'll be writing with keeping in mind that I may or may not use them as they are ultimately. I'm forced to do this at some stage anyways, plus a lot of it is sampling work.

    Stage 2: Lay down the foundation, or as was put above me, "generate ideas", using said sounds.

    This I think will work because I have very specific elements/sounds and a theme in mind, a "motif", I want throughout the album. No pre-made preset scrolling this time around, I may even trash them all. Save for a few string, vocal, and or acoustic elements I intend on using here and there. It's not like I can make my own specific sounding choir samples, or I'm able to mic a killer drum kit in an awesome space, for example.

    Stage 3: Writing lyrics, vocal melodies, ect and putting the songs together, tweaking, editing, ect.

    That's the idea anyways.

    In the past an approach that's worked for me, in so far as laying down a foundation/coming up with ideas, is to choose one basic instrument, something like TAL-U-NO-LX, Obxd, ect, a drum machine/sampler and a sequencer, and just get to writing with what I got. Back to basics. When I started doing electronic (coming from Metal, guitar player) music I started with an Rolland MC 303 and a Juno 106. Instrument, drum machine+/sequencer. Man things were simpler, and even simpler when it was just a guitar. :guru:
     
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  15. Freshy

    Freshy Noisemaker

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    my good bro, you are preaching to the quire, thank heavens i'm not alone, i felt and still feel pretty useless in that regard, i get embarrassed even mentioning to anyone that im involved in music production, i have so much theoretical knowledge at this point my head is about to burst, with all that, i have managed to do nothing so far, its shameful, and i drill and agonize myself to keep up and be more consistent, and every time i mange to get some work out i abandon it in this rebellious type procrastination, and to be honest ever since i found this site, i saw it as a new means to keep myself engaged and to speak and communicate with like minded ppl, and browse news and such, which is not possible with my other leach website for content, software and so forth. this place has been like my new social media/Facebook, i hop in and feel at home, i shop around read posts and speak to others, and i think this might be the beginning of a beautiful thing for me to finally get off my ass and make a finished product. only god knows why this even happens, but it may have something to do with partly being a perfectionist and having a short attention span, and with this field their is an immense amount of versatility which can provide for all the tweaking one can desire to approach relative perfection, which can lead astray individuals like us, and god help you if you also enjoy a spliff or two while getting in the zone, this can always go one or two ways.
     
  16. Freshy

    Freshy Noisemaker

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    One love to all! im at home!
     
  17. sir jack spratsky

    sir jack spratsky Kapellmeister

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    mmmm ok my 2 cents
    i start with chord changes.....i try to shape the harmonic canvas with basic harmony and root 5th bass,,,,,,then i build from there...trying not to get stuck on sound design
     
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  18. Freshy

    Freshy Noisemaker

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    oooh my i think your on to something, just reading your method makes me excited, in this way you do all the things you want or like to do in shots so each of your sessions can be about one thing and you dont have to feel guilty about not finishing, like you can do a bunch of ideas for a ton of tracks all at once, sound design some random stuff for as long as you want til you call it a day, then on another day for example do baselines for a ton of diff genres, basically whatever it is that you find you need to work on or want to do or even find yourself zoned in to, just do it but do it in mass for many tracks in the future, like preparing a bunch of separate parts to fit together later, take the whole workflow in stages.
     
  19. Futurewine

    Futurewine Rock Star

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    It happens to me, and still happening over time. At least you are doing alright. Me, I have to approach the problem by searching for some other inspirations like learning from the School of Culinary Art, just to get that creativity and mental-state sparks a bit. I hate though, that I have to search here and there looking for some inspirations and how-to ideas (everytime), but, I'm grateful though, to find some of them, are considerably pretty well and good to watch. (and also, to learn from). Sharing a video here as to example to one of them (the one which sparks my creativity quotient a bit). (just sharing) (and, I hope you get the ideas) (and, more or less, the focus is on the cooking, as analogy to musical writing - the ideas) best wishes.

     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
  20. Blair Atkinson

    Blair Atkinson Member

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    Man, I suffer from the same thing...for me it's hard to create when it sounds(mixing wise) Like crap with no processing. I do a lot of work for a Song writer named Sean Garrett/Sony and usually have to met deadlines/Create on the spot etc.. It's just apart of the game and one thing that I am learning Is to INVEST Into better gear. Getting a quality output did the trick for me, It's really all in your head. ALSO DO NOT COMPARE YOUR WORK TO MAJOR RELEASES THAT ARE MIX AND MASTERED BY PROFESSIONALS WHO HAVE ACCESS TO THOUSAND OF DOLLARS OF EQUIPMENT. I can't speak for other producers but for me running my Instruments through a Mixing console or analog summing Box did the trick with separation "That Sound".
     
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  21. Freshy

    Freshy Noisemaker

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    oooh absolutely, cooking and making music is super fucking synonymous!.. still remember when i was writing/transcribing what i've learned so far in the world of music production, then it hit me, i started to see all my culinary skill come to light in the world of production, how their are rules and math involved but the intuitive harmony and balance between different elements is ultimately what determines what is considered to be good, where their are no wrong ways once you get the basic fundamentals of the balancing act. it blew my brains apart, only to discover this was an already established analogy, but keep in mind everything i was learning was completely new to me at the time lol.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018
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