Author Topic: Over complicating things  (Read 3680 times)

MOTY

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Over complicating things
« on: August 13, 2016, 06:52:06 pm »
Do you guys sometimes find yourselves over complicating things when it comes to starting a new track?
I can't ever get past the introduction phase, and I feel like I may just be over complicating things.

attila

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Re: Over complicating things
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2016, 07:14:27 pm »
I used to. For the most part I very much believe most songs aren't winners. I can write an amazing chorus or melody, but that doesn't mean it's destined to be a full song. In the past I used to try writing songs from the intro through and it was a nightmare. For me there's absolutely no inspiration to be gained from starting with a beat. I realized it wasn't overcomplication I was feeling, it was genuinely a lack of direction because I literally had nothing to work from.

Mussar

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Re: Over complicating things
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2016, 07:35:11 pm »
Overcomplicating things is a super common problem for producers - especially in the age of DAWs, where you can just keep on adding more effects or layers with little to no impact on your performance (for the most part). It's why you will see people encouraging arbitrary restrictions - if you explicitly restrict how much you're able to do, you won't be able to do too much!  ;D

If you can't get past the introduction phase, it could also be that you're just unsure of where to go - so use a reference! Pick two or three track that have the vibe you're going for and use that as a guideline. You don't have to copy it exactly, obviously, but there's no reason to work inside of a vacuum when you feel stuck.

Lydian

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Re: Over complicating things
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2016, 07:42:50 pm »
I don't tend to overcomplicate things during the introductory phase. Generally That's the quickest phase. Where I tend to overcomplicate things is tiny details like the FX and the Ambiences. Those things combined with fills & arrangement take the majority of the track.
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MOTY

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Re: Over complicating things
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2016, 08:42:16 pm »
I used to. For the most part I very much believe most songs aren't winners. I can write an amazing chorus or melody, but that doesn't mean it's destined to be a full song. In the past I used to try writing songs from the intro through and it was a nightmare. For me there's absolutely no inspiration to be gained from starting with a beat. I realized it wasn't overcomplication I was feeling, it was genuinely a lack of direction because I literally had nothing to work from.
What did you do that helped you get past this lack of direction?

Marrow Machines

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Re: Over complicating things
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2016, 12:50:26 am »
To eliminate complication, I have created a template with channels of the bare minimum used to make a tune.

I can then add from there.

It has helped my work flow quite a bit, because i spend more time thinking about the song and the sounds, rather than spending energy on trivial things (such as naming and organization;important but if every little bit helps, i'll work on optimizing my creation procedure).

From there, you can shape your song how ever you'd like. but at least you have some where to direct  yourself than just staring at something completely blank.

It also might help focus the session too.

I don't tend to overcomplicate things during the introductory phase. Generally That's the quickest phase. Where I tend to overcomplicate things is tiny details like the FX and the Ambiences. Those things combined with fills & arrangement take the majority of the track.

This is also an important concept to consider as well. It's not so much over complicating, it's knowing when to start worrying about details and how to transition between "giving a shit and not giving a shit".

I personally have gotten to a point where, i can quickly get the sound i want, and then leave it be. Over several sessions i tend to go over my sounds and fine tune them a little bit more after i have decided on what i want to project (ie end of creating transitioning into mixing). In order to retain song consistency (characterized by individual song), i try to process the sounds i make in the same session/day (if i haven't already called it quits for the time being).





I highly recommend you write down your creative process and list every thing you generally do for each track. Start to end (non mastering or mastering included).

This should help you realize several pathways that you can take to just making channels, and getting sounds moving at a quicker pace. Also, the list isn't so much about details, it's about the idea of the sound that you need to consider as you proceed into the finalizing stage.


TL;DR

create a basic template, analyze your work flow process with a list from start to finish, repeat 1 and 2 until you're comfortable with how you're doing things, keep improving.
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vinceasot

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Re: Over complicating things
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2016, 09:36:37 am »
what are you stuck with? some people start with drums, loops, a bassline or they like to write a melody first

attila

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Re: Over complicating things
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2016, 10:15:37 am »
I used to. For the most part I very much believe most songs aren't winners. I can write an amazing chorus or melody, but that doesn't mean it's destined to be a full song. In the past I used to try writing songs from the intro through and it was a nightmare. For me there's absolutely no inspiration to be gained from starting with a beat. I realized it wasn't overcomplication I was feeling, it was genuinely a lack of direction because I literally had nothing to work from.
What did you do that helped you get past this lack of direction?
I don't go to my computer until I have a strong and clear sense of the entire song. Sometimes I'll have verse lyrics or a bridge missing, but if I don't see the whole arc of the song then I won't waste my time. I almost always start with a chorus vocally, then I go to piano/guitar/whatever I want to play on to solidify the song in my head. Also I never worry about sound design until I have the track recorded acoustically. If the energy of a song works with "organic" instruments, it'll almost always translate well to however you end up producing it.


So for example

I was showering and this instrumental popped into my head, so I rushed to the studio and put it down on guitar/piano/drums etc... along with a placeholder title (which ended up being the name of the EP...go figure)

This is the original draft from that night



Nice enough for what it is, but it obviously wasn't finished. The point was to have something significant enough to work from so writers block would be nearly impossible.

After that point it was easy, just played with the vibe and starting translating the parts to different instruments until something clicked, recorded some vocals and voila.



This has been my ritual now for the last year or two. Now note that first draft-having a "clear sense of the song"-applies only to that initial burst of inspiration. Typically my first drafts of songs are in completely different genres than the master. The point is to sit at your DAW with a sense of purpose. It's very easy to convince yourself you're having writers block after one bad session, so I do everything I can to minimize getting into a toxic loop mentally.

FarleyCZ

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Re: Over complicating things
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2016, 12:41:26 pm »
I really like attila's post.

I do fight wih overcomplicating a lot. Or more specifically with inability to reckognize if I still "undercomplicate", or overcomplicate all of the sudden. That line is just tooo blurred. Would like to give some advice on this, but have absolutely none. Fighting with this not only on each track, but somehow in ... well ... life in general. :-X
"Earth is round right? Look at it from right angle and you'll be always on top of the world."
...but don't overdo it, because that's called being a d***k.