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Topics - Lydian

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Inspiration/Creativity/Motivation / Do you listen to your own music
« on: November 14, 2016, 08:36:22 pm »
I don't really listen to my music after I'm done making it. I'm usually sick of listening to it on repeat or I can't really tell whether it's good or not anymore. I prefer listening to other artists instead because they're better.

How about you guys?

Today while working on my newest track I was having a tough time trying to get certain elements to fit within the mix. I had been working on the track all day and it sounded somewhat decent. I decided it was time to take a break.

2 hours later I come back with a fresh set of ears. Suddenly it becomes BLATANTLY obvious which elements of the track didn't fit and which ones did. I removed the ones that didn't fit because it was obvious that they just sounded forced and awkward.

I'm just amazed by how after listening to something for so many times on repeat you become sort of tone deaf to what sounds good and what sounds bad. I'm beginning to realize that the very best time to make a change or check a track for errors is the first time you listen to it after taking a break. After taking a long break it's like the "errors" just POP out right in my face. It becomes clear what needs to be done and progress is made faster than if I were to sit there tweaking an element trying to get it to fit within a mix down.

Can anyone else relate?

It's almost like the more you listen to something on repeat the faster your ability to differentiate between what sounds good and bad starts to deteriorate.

Composition/Arrangement/Theory / Transitioning Between Song Sections
« on: August 12, 2016, 12:31:26 am »
I was surprised when I used the search bar and noticed that nobody had started a thread regarding such an important topic. Keeping it simple this time around. What are some tips that you guys have for smoothly transitioning in between song sections?

Here are a few of mine.

1. Keep one instrument the same and have it carry on into the next section.
2. Use things like reverse crashes, FX, & reverse reverbs to help connect two sections together
3. Use Fills.

What are some of yours? You can repeat some of mine if you agree with them.

Inspiration/Creativity/Motivation / Being Original vs Copying Others
« on: July 18, 2016, 06:15:04 pm »
Which one do you guys think is easier?

Usually when I try to copy my favorite artists I fail miserably.

I don't have the same samples.
I don't have the same synthesizers.
I don't have the same synth patches.
I don't have the same plugins.
I don't have the same daw.
I don't have the same sample packs.

Most importantly...

I don't have the same ears, knowledge, and experience.

When I get stuck on a section in a song for example... I'll look to other artists tracks for inspiration or advice on what to do next. (Pretty normal right?) The thing is that when I try to copy other artists I just end up with cheesy knock off versions of their songs because I don't understand what they're doing in a first place. For example maybe I hear a fill in a track and tell myself "I want to learn how to recreate that fill". I'd say the majority of the time I can never recreate that fill perfectly. Therefore it just ends up as a knock off because mixing wise and sound design wise it is just so hard to create something 100% accurately. When you stop trying to copy other peoples tracks you don't have to deal with that frustration of coming off as a knockoff.

I think being original is easier because you can be 100% you vs 80% someone else if that makes any sense.

What do you guys think? I used to think it was easier to copy others but at this stage in my journey as a producer I'm starting to change my mind. Is it easier at times to just be you?

I've been thinking about it lately. When I went to EDC I was extremely disappointed when a lot of my favorite artists (Seven Lions especially) made DJ edits of their songs which REMOVED the break sections of the tracks they were playing. I absolutely LOVE breaks in a song but what I noticed is that most songs with a lot of breaks didn't seem to work as well on the dance floor at EDC. I don't know whether it was just because of the festival but it was a pretty big eye opener to me and it's been affecting the way I approach my arrangements. I've noticed that as a DJ when you remove the drums from a track it can totally kill the dance floor.

The thing is... I'm not sure whether I want to compromise having those beautiful break sections in my music. Which brings me to the question can you make people dance to music without drums? Does anyone have any good examples of "breaks" during a song section which still work great on a dance floor?

Or is it simply a matter of knowing "when" to give the the crowd a rest for a moment by timing your breaks efficiently vs trying to avoid them?

I'm starting to think lately that there really isn't a shortage of people with a lot of technical skills or even musical skills. There seems to be much more of a shortage of people who really have a strong mindset and truly understand their own creative process/work ethic.

I see a lot of frustration lately with the producer friends that I know both on here and in real life. I'm definitely not claiming to have it all together because I've gone through the same thing in the past. Although I do feel that in the past year I've learned to handle it better.

One of the hardest things I think about learning to produce is somehow managing to stay positive when whatever it is that you're creating seems to disappoint you or when you just happen to have an "off" day. Especially when it takes countless years to really hone in on the craft. My question to you guys is do you think  things like mindset and work ethic can be learned and how important do you think this sort of stuff is relative to other things like technical skills and such?

Inspiration/Creativity/Motivation / Is Thinking Counterproductive?
« on: June 16, 2016, 05:25:28 am »
Do you guys ever wonder whether thinking is counterproductive when it comes to writing music?

When it comes to improvisation you kinda just "do it". I remember I used to suck at it but at some point I was finally able to do it while having a conversation with someone at the same time. Point is I guess is I've always had a very analytical/mathematical approach when it comes to writing music. What's annoying about that is I try to analyze everything and it can be paralyzing when I come across things that don't make sense to me intellectually.

I'm beginning to question whether I've been taking the wrong approach and whether trying to "understand" everything is just holding me back. Perhaps the doing without thinking is the more efficient approach? I know what I'm referring to is somewhat abstract but it'd be interesting to hear your guys opinions.

Is writing music with the approach of "just doing it without thinking" more effective than trying to understand "why" what you're doing actually works?

How do you guys feel about pop albums with a large amount of songwriters? Personally, I don't understand albums that have 100 different writers on it. I mean Kanye's new album has 103 writers! It's good music but what did he actually do? Even Justin Bieber, Beyoncé, & Tiësto. I get it's a business and everything but how can you honestly perform in front of a crowd of 1000 people knowing that you didn't write your own music? It's not Drake's album. It's god knows who's album.

I know I'm over exaggerating a bit. I'm not trying to undervalue a great vocal take. I'm not trying to say that these artists did absolutely nothing. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth to hear people talk about how great "X artist's" album is when you know that the majority of the writing was done by other people. Sure they get "writer credits" on the album but at the end of the day it's "Drakes" album or "Justins" album.

It kinda feels like these pop artists are just brand names that the "real" songwriters use as devices to get their music out to the public. All at the sacrifice of not being able to put their name on their own music. The tradeoff being that the pop artist is the one who get's to call it "their" album.

How do you guys feel about this?

I'm not going to lie. Sometimes my mixing/producing sessions can start to get quite lengthy. When they do it can get rather uncomfortable on my body. I have a bad habit of sitting down in my chair "criss cross applesauce". Either that or I have another weird habit where I'll actually sit on my knees like in this pictures.

I don't know why but I've always been like this. It's like a habit that I've gotten into ever since I was in 6th grade. Whenever I get really focused or challenged I start to sit "weirdly" and I think if I keep it up I'm going to end up with either a dead back by the time I'm 30 or messed up knees.

With that being said I'm looking into getting a better chair in hopes that it will make these long producing sessions more comfortable. Do you guys have any recommendations that way I don't kill myself?

Mixing/Mastering / How Do People Master Albums?
« on: May 15, 2016, 01:39:53 am »
It's to my understanding that the volume level of all the tracks should sound cohesive flowing together is it not? In that case... is mastering done in one project session containing all the mixes?

For example if there was 10 tracks on an album.

Would the artist import those 10 tracks into one project file and process them differently  side to side that way they flow together nicely during transitions?

Mixing/Mastering / What Is Overdubbing?
« on: May 11, 2016, 04:06:13 pm »
What is overdubbing?

Most places explain it really badly. I don't get it. Could someone clarify?

Does it get harder to learn new things the older you become?

Unleash the kraken.

Seriously. Madeon, Zedd, Juventa, Porter, Nitrofun, Grey, Au5, WRLD...

I feel like so many of these producers are like 18-25 or became successful at around that time period.

Even on this forum. I noticed a lot of us are college students. Maybe I have a confirmation bias?

Mixing/Mastering / Mixing Into A Limiter
« on: May 08, 2016, 02:35:11 pm »
I'm not going to lie. I have a VERY bad mixing habit. For some reason, I can't really get my mixes to sound as good if I don't mix into an ozone preset.

Go ahead and bag on me all you want lol. I feel like this is limiting me but I'm not sure how. I've never really understood why people advised to not mix into a limiter. Is it because they make it so that you can't see your peaks?

Why is it advised that people don't mixed into limiters? Could someone please name me reasons why I SHOULDN'T mix into a limiter that way I can actually understand it for once and stop doing it?

Mixing/Mastering / What Order Do You Mix?
« on: May 08, 2016, 02:30:40 pm »
Hey guys. I've been interested in the workflow of other mix engineers lately.

When you start your mix do you bring all your faders down to zero and then bring them up one at a time from there? Also, when balancing out sounds, do you try to get that balance at first without using any plugins?

I've seen videos where engineers are able to get a decent balance without using any EQ's compressors, or plugins at all and it was a huge eye opener for me. I always thought that in order to get a good balance it was absolutely necessary to have these plugins. Once again however I'm underestimating the volume faders.

Finally... at what stage of the mixing process do you begin to add effects like reverb and delay? Do you add them AFTER everything has already been compressed and EQ'd or do you not really give AF and just do it all at once?

Thanks for your thoughts guys.

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