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WIPs / progressive house early stages
« on: April 02, 2017, 02:26:59 pm »
yesterday i turned toward my darth vader coffee mug and said 'you know what buddy I think it's time to cycle through some older ideas and tighten them up'. just wondering what your thoughts are on these, i am also open to the idea of collaborating to finish them

WIPs / Re: Don't really know the genre but new WIP I guess
« on: April 02, 2017, 02:19:11 pm »
Only problem is the bass and kick are conflicting during the beat part try tuning the fundamental of the kick to whatever the bass is playing, get this mastered, then pitch to label, then $$$

Finished Tracks / Re: Ziino - Walnut
« on: March 17, 2017, 02:56:45 am »
sounds a lot like matador this is super dope

this is cool, kind of like a bridge between industrial and house and consistent vibe throughout. only thing is the vocals come in a little weak at 2:03. all the elements are communicating this dirty, gritty vibe so maybe add some crazy distortion or scream into the mic to make it support that vibe. otherwise like I said solid track

Finished Tracks / deadmau5 remix contest entry feedback.
« on: February 08, 2017, 02:12:21 am »
Hey guys two things:

1. Did you know deadmau5 put out a remix contest? It's on splice sounds' website.

2. What do you think of mine? My main concern is that the composition maintains a good pace and doesn't confuse the listener since there's so much going on at times. I really wanted to explore melody and make things solidly-structured without being repetitive.

here's the link:

Inspiration/Creativity/Motivation / Re: Finding ways to boost creativity
« on: January 18, 2017, 12:11:26 pm »
Rixir I can confirm the sleep deprivation one, the part of your brain that likes to object to things just gets so sick and tired of working so it shuts off. It really, really sucks though.

Inspiration/Creativity/Motivation / Re: Finding ways to boost creativity
« on: January 17, 2017, 12:42:54 pm »
alanisnotcool those are great points. Most of those are designed to help you unwind which is important to get in the right headspace, and masturbation or having a girlfriend may unwind you but it has a way of killing your motivation. Sexual satisfcation makes your subconscious go 'life is good, I can chill now' lol. I've heard of some entrepreneurs giving up sex for a year for this specific reason

Inspiration/Creativity/Motivation / Re: Finding ways to boost creativity
« on: January 17, 2017, 01:16:09 am »
Hey Mussar big thanks for sharing the pretotyping idea! I'm still trying to find a balance between completing work and generating ideas and that sounds like a great thing to try out

Finished Tracks / Re: long time no see :D
« on: January 16, 2017, 11:57:52 am »
this is pretty cool! keep this one in the banks for sure

Inspiration/Creativity/Motivation / Re: goals for 2017
« on: January 16, 2017, 11:32:27 am »
Would like to finish at least an album's worth out of the 70+ ideas in my hard drive. Wish me luck lol

Inspiration/Creativity/Motivation / Finding ways to boost creativity
« on: January 15, 2017, 03:43:27 am »
Hey guys, thought it would be cool to get a bit of a discussion going about our creative philosophies. To start I thought I'd share some things that really helped me develop a sound that I was proud of. The main motivation for doing this is that this is stuff I wish I had known earlier, so this one's especially for people starting out. It's going to be a bit of a read so maybe grab some chips. Being passionate about my craft, I tend to word things matter-of-factly and apologize in advance if this reads like I'm trying to preach, these are just things that have worked for me.

1. Bigger Screen

If you're the kind that loves layering and detail this is for you. I went from maybe  20-30 tracks per song to 40-50 just by getting a bigger screen. Not saying more layers equals better, because more often than not elegance is the standard to aim for. Nonetheless there was a certain 'busyness' I was trying to achieve in my sound and being able to zoom out the display to see more tracks made it feel more natural to get more intricate. Like eating more with a bigger plate.

2. Taking things outside the box.

This has become a bit of a cliche at this point, but I have a slight issue seeing these ads with Hans Zimmer or deadmau5 saying a kid could make a hit on a laptop or that you could make compelling music on a phone. Huge thanks to them for sharing their creative process with the world, but I just don't like how the company edits the videos to make those statements the selling point. They're saying 'look, this MASSIVELY successful producer said this! You feel good don't you, buy our product!' Maybe I'm just salty because I can't afford either masterclass by two of my favorite music makers of all time, but that's not the point.

Could you make great music by hitting a tin can and recording it in the bathroom on your iPhone speaker? Absolutely. But, getting your hands involved in the process with quality gear can really give your tracks life as well as immense personal satisfaction. When I have more fun, I feel more motivated to make music, and what's more fun that opening up a new toy?

 If you want a good technical argument, workflow really improves. Adjusting parameters in real time with your bare hands is heaven compared to boring yourself to death for hours drawing automation curves, and playing live gives you complete real-time control assuming you know how to play what you want. Automation is an oh-so-necessary evil, but the less you have to do of it, the better your workflow and happier you are. Same thing with drawing midi.

I'm sure you've heard of the gear trap. I've fallen victim to it, buying all this stuff thinking it would improve my sound just because it was rated a 5 on gearslutz, which is a great website btw. Maybe the key to avoiding the trap is to either go through it and after you've sold enough stuff you never use realize that you're suddenly making more music, or just understand that you're going to have to be patient and learn to make music with what you have before expanding. Want your mixes to sound better? Don't buy 5 pro mixing plugins, get better at mixing then make an informed decision on which plugins might enhance your sound based on your good habits. None of this is to say don't 'experiment' with your purchases, that is pretty much how you amass your toolbox to start after all. A tutorial on mixing by Dave Pensado might inspire a plugin buy that at first does nothing for you but over time you begin to understand its functionality in certain situations through trial and error. You might find months down the road you're not using it anymore because an eq move takes care of the issue. Either way, you'll probably waste money at some point. Oh well. Life. Do watch Dave Pensado's videos, they're a sea of knowledge and wisdom. The higher the level of producer you learn from, the better of a litmus test you have to discern sound from not-so-sound advice, especially technical advice. Try not to take any piece of advice as gospel on how to do something or how to approach music. Find what resonates with you the most. 'Rules aren't made to be broken, they're made to be ignored'. Dave Pensado said that. It resonates with me. Does it resonate with you? If not, feel free to argue. This isn't just about tweaking knobs and making lovely melodies. Every. Single. Successful. Musician. Has their own philosophy behind their craft.

3. Not going into the studio with any intention.

Trusting my instincts and laying down something simple in the moment and building it up from there has not only done wonders for workflow (not having to obsess over it sounding 'wrong' because it's its own thing!) but it's made music a more exciting experience. Surrendering my analytical mind and listening to what the song was trying to tell me allowed flow to take over with consistency. We like things to be well-thought out. We like to have control over our lives. I'm realizing that a lot of life skills carry over into producing, and one of those skills is getting the most out of a given situation regardless of the means at your disposal. You learn how to tweak. You learn how to experiment and adjust an idea tastefully. You develop instincts through sheer trial and error, and over time you learn to trust them. Music making starts to become more and more observational and less contrived, and starting a song becomes like planting a seed rather than building a foundation. I do end up going into a session with an idea of where to start, but the point is I no longer waste time in forcing things to sound exactly as they sound in my head.

4. Knowledge.

When I decided to put my all into this craft, I wanted to gain an insight into how successful artists approached music making. I studied everyone from Jimmy Page to Brian Eno, read countless biographies and watched a lot of production masterclasses on youtube. If you study physics, there's no getting around Newton's work, or Einstein's, or Fermi's, or Planck's, or Maxwell's. Without knowledge of what's happened before you, what springboard are you going to use to launch yourself into new territory? You going to reinvent the wheel? Study your influences, respect them, and in time you'll discover that it helps rather than hinders your pursuit of an original sound.

Research also made music less intimidating. Pros use EQ 8. Getting deep into the stories of how great music was and is made gives good sense of direction. I used to think great music was this quest for perfection, knowledge liberates you as an artist in that you learn that it's not the case.

Be open minded. I saw a thumbnail of a video on mastering and at first thought it wasn't worth a watch (when you watch enough tutorials that they all start to sound the same, you think you know enough about that topic), but I watched it anyway. I found out that when mastering it's often useful to have a ceiling a fraction of a decibel below 0db because errors in compression algorithms when turning your song into an mp3 can cause clipping of a signal that's at 0db. Really useful piece of information considering I plan to get a body of work out this year.

5. Understanding that I am just a guy making music until further notice, while understanding that with vision and incremental goal-setting, I can constantly be improving.

We make music because we love it. Sooner or later we have a choice to make: try to make something of it or keep doing it as a hobby. The former requires a belief in yourself that transcends criticism, but in order to improve you need to have the capacity to be self-critical and sometimes brutally honest with yourself. You don't have to kick yourself, just be real. If you wake up one day and think your music sucks, and believe me you will have those moments, it's not the end of the world, just figure out what leads you to believe that. Personal growth is nothing more than adaptation. Honing your sound is identifying specific areas of weakness and over a period of weeks to months improving one of those aspects. It's really that simple.

Update: To expand on the topic of studying your influences, in your search for a unique sound it helps to have an understanding of how your favorite music developed over time and where it evolved from. Getting at the heart of something helps you take it in a new direction in a way that isn't just over-complicating an already well-developed sound

What sort of 'hacks' have you guys found that improve your music making?

The minimoog is secondhand, I'd spare the story but this is a knowledge-sharing community after all! So I'm in the secondhand gear store, all of a sudden I turn around. It was exactly the same feeling I had when I was in a gas station in an ugly part of town and one of the most beautiful women I'd ever seen walked in the door. So after two months of obsessing and a failed attempt to profit from reselling used clothing I finally begged my dad to help out and add to the 1000$ I'd saved up, and somehow managed to talk to the guys at the store down to 2300. It's good to just go into one of those places on occasion just to see what gems you might find. The same place also had a Sonic 6 come in right after the minimoog

Inspiration/Creativity/Motivation / Re: wtf is happening with me?
« on: January 13, 2017, 11:10:29 pm »
Check out a series of lectures by Leonard Bernstein called 'The Unanswered Question'. In its entirety it amounts to about 10 hours of watching but you will come out of it a more melodically sensible producer.

Big thanks for the thorough feedback! A lot of your points were things I sort of skimmed over and instinctively knew were weak areas of the track so it's very reaffirming to know that my instincts on where to improve are not too far off, thanks again for your thoroughness. The pads are from a Minimoog Voyager Old School, ran through a lexicon effects unit (absolutely blissful reverb, can't go wrong with lexicon). At the climax, the violins and main synth are sent to a return which has a freeware reverb called Protoverb on it. Protoverb tends to enhance harmonics and yield a really thick sound so you have to make cuts to it. Sometimes I'll put a sidechain on it just to make sure it isn't taking away from the original signal's clarity, and I might even delay the track a bit.

Finished Tracks / Re: introducing my track for ya
« on: January 13, 2017, 09:56:02 pm »
Your composition is really good in faith, but it seems like too much attention is paid to the high end. The soul of a chill track is in the midrange. You are definitely on the right track though, try lowering the cutoff on some sounds and see how that works.

With safari, try bringing the lead down a little bit, but great sound overall.

Tight visuals by the way!

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