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Topics - ZAU

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So Madeon recently tweeted this:

"I have literally over a hundred demo i'm genuinely excited about and I still feel like I haven't started."

Whaaaaaatttt? OK. Wait and isn't the guy currently on tour or something? He just continues to put everyone to shame. There are people just starting out out there and they make a few songs and already they're talking about releasing albums/EPs? Pssshhhhhh...come on. Madeon, who has made 1000s of unreleased tracks, released a whole album and made hundreds of individual tracks/remixes is saying that he has over a hundred new tracks now and he feels like it's only the beginning? Scary, just scary. And yet, so inspiring. Thanks Madeon. I saw that you're a member here so if you're reading this, THANK YOU.

Composition/Arrangement/Theory / The most important thing (rant)
« on: February 27, 2016, 01:34:05 am »
WARNING: This one's gonna be long. But here goes anyway..

Music is at a sad state these days.

Yes, we have a bunch of tools to help us, and with the help of Scale and Chord plugins you can write a song with zero music theory! Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Except, it isn't really.

I don't really check out music posted by other people especially when they put a disclaimer saying that they are beginners without any music theory, who have made less than 10/20/30/50 tracks or God forbid, less than 5 tracks. But every time I do, it's a horror show. I've come across a few tracks now that sound like they literally placed a few random MIDI notes on the Piano Roll and call it a 'melody'. When I random, I mean random. Clashing notes everywhere, notes that do not belong in the scale at all, minor AND major key centers going on at the same time(!) etc..

Yes, we're told time and time again that music theory will save us. But that's not usually the case either, apparently.

Because the thing I feel is the most important part in music production is not music theory or amazing sound design skills or perfect mixing, but EAR TRAINING. Training your ears. And hey, guess what? You need ear training when it comes to mixing as well, it's not just for composition skills. You need to train your ears to hear what an imbalanced mix sounds like. You need to be able to identify what is making the mix imbalanced in the first place. It's ALL about the ears, because guess what? All the music you and I make? We listen to it using our..... EARS!

And the same applies for composition. You need to be able to HEAR what 2 clashing notes sound like, and know that they are clashing with each other. It's a scary thought, isn't it... knowing that there are people in this world who are not able to hear what they are doing 'wrong' musically and yet are calling themselves 'producers' and 'releasing' music. It's like a blind race car driver... driving forward with a very fast car at full speed without being able to see what's in front of him. What happens? He crashes. FAST.

If you are reading this and happen to fall within the category of people I mentioned, please stop whatever you're doing, yes, even stop reading that music theory book you're reading. No amount of music theory is going to help you in the first place if you can't HEAR what you're doing. In fact, it's better to not know any music theory at all but be able to play well by ear. If you can do both, amazing. But I would choose a person who can play by ear any day over a person who can't and yet can read sheet music and know all the music theory in the world (unfortunately, I have encountered the latter more times than I would have liked to).

The reason why I'm ranting is because it's such a weird time for music/musicians/producers/engineers. No other profession in the world go through what we go through. Take a doctor, for example. You can't put on a white lab coat and stethoscope and walk into a hospital and say, 'Hey everybody! I'm a doctor' and off you go into the surgery room. But this is what is happening in the music industry. Anybody with a computer can download their DAW of choice without having any musical knowledge whatsoever and 'make a track'. How is this fair? Well, it's not, and I'm kind of over it. But that's a topic for an entirely different discussion. So what I'm saying is this. If you're going to prioritize anything at all, it's got to be ear training, at least do/learn that if you don't have a background in music and want to call yourself a producer.

At the end of the day, you have to remember this one thing: What good will it do if you can't HEAR what you're doing?

Mixing/Mastering / Where We Belong (Zomboy Remix), how did he do it?
« on: February 16, 2016, 05:42:00 am »
Specifically, how did he get the track to be so darn loud? Care to share any tips?

Inspiration/Creativity/Motivation / Watch this NOW.
« on: January 24, 2016, 06:27:34 am »


Won't go into what it is specifically, click on the link above to read and find out what it is. Instead, I just wanted to share my experiences with it.

So we all produce on a computer that is connected to the Internet right? We all own smart phones which are also connected to the Internet. So we're constantly distracted by Facebook, reddit, YouTube, etc.. I've found through personal experience that I fall into the trap of 'constantly wanting to learn something new' because we should be 'perpetual students', right? There is limitless information on the Internet which is readily available, literally at our fingertips. There are new YouTube tutorials posted every hour... new tutorial blog posts being published, heck, there are even new tips and tricks being posted on this very forum. Well, there has to be a limit somehow/somewhere... where we stop learning for just a little while, and just DO... make a track and finish it. The most important part is finishing the track, and also finishing MANY tracks.

I've found that utilizing the Pomodoro technique and working in shorter intervals is far more effective than how I've approached producing in the past. I'm way more focused and productive because it's way easier to focus on something for 25 minutes than it is for, say, 60 minutes. 25 minutes is a long enough duration for me to work on something with pure focus. This approach has also helped me stop the urge to keep checking my emails or text messages every minute. 25 minutes is not too long of a wait for me to get back to someone who's texted/emailed me about something important. And my close family and friends know to call me directly if it's something really urgent. So I can totally live without checking my text messages for 25 minutes.

Besides the emails/texts, this technique has also helped with the constant urge to look up new tutorials, tips/tricks/etc on Reddit, YouTube, various production chat groups, etc. I've learned many techniques so far, I think I've come up with a really great and efficient workflow when producing in my DAW so I think it's safe to say that I don't have as much to learn as I did when I first started out. Now I need to focus on just writing/finishing as many tracks as I can. I really need to balance out the time I spend 'learning' with the amount of time I spend 'doing'. This also relates to the Pareto 80/20 principal: I should be spending 20% of my time producing with pure FOCUS to get 80% of the results, not the other way around.

It's nice when you have all the time in the world to produce music, but it's also very harmful because you have little focus and get very little done at the end of the day. I have promised to myself that 2016 is going to be different. If you are struggling just like I was, I strongly recommend trying the Pomodoro technique. So far, I've finished writing a Verse, Pre Chorus and Chorus using this technique, within the span of 90 minutes or so. That's way more than I have achieved when I didn't use this technique.

So, go ahead, try it! And please share your experiences with it here too! GOOD LUCK! :)

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