is less really more?
On the topic of song-writing. Like, how do I know if my song is finished? Do I really need to add more to this song? Whats the bare minimum I need to have a 'complete' sounding production.
production goals based on genre and influence
A great productivity expert once said "begin with the end in mind." In this I am a firm believer. When you set off to expand on your new song idea, do you consider the end result you're trying to achieve? Are you writing an alternative-rock song, but calling it Progressive rock? What is the difference between the two? Differences in structure? tone? Why doesn't my song ever turn out the way I intended?
These are all heavy questions. Sometimes the best thing to do if you're inexperienced is to just try it. I remember the first several dozen tracks I set out to record were meant to be something different than the product I ended up with... Sure, they still sounded okay, but why did the end-result not match my expectations?
how little can i get away with while keeping my song full?
Alright, lets elaborate a little more about minimialism in music production.
What tools do you have available? are you working on a two-track system with limited resources, or do you have access to the worlds top studio facilities? and if you do, how much of that stuff do you actually need?
I am a firm believer in the power of a great performance over a complex production. in Spending the extra time in the song-writing phase + even during the pre-songwriting phase to understand what you want, and why you want it. another creativity expert once said that "restraints can be a catalyst for creativity." It's not always a bad thing to put yourself inside a box. Sometimes restricting the amount of travel outside the boundaries you create going into the project can allow for more focused and productive creativity within them.
when adding too much begins to take away
Are you on your umpteenth mix? have you been tracking this album for over a year now? Do you have more than 6 plugins on each track? is your solution to make it sound better by adding more? I've heard these sentiments echoed many times from many self-produced songwriters. It's hard to detach sometimes, This album has to get done right, I get it.
If this situation sounds familiar. perhaps its time to step back for a moment, let it rest and come back with fresh ears. When you return to the project, look at each element of your song and really ask, is this necessary? what was this (instrument, plugin, mix) accomplishing. If i remove that element in this spot of the song, will it be missed? Does my song really need 1000 digeridudes or can i get away with just three of them?
how to get more with less
I wish I could conclude this blog by saying "here is your answer, do this and you will be able to get more with less." The problem is that it's music, and in music things are more fluid. It's something we have to discover for ourselves through experience. A wise business man once said "practice is about making mistakes and gaining experience" to me this means, don't be afraid to try to fail and then to try again. We're only human. It can't always be perfect all the time and thats OK.
Don't be afraid to try and fail
But never be that guy who fails to try!
No man is an island. Even if you think you are DIY hardcore, finding like-minded folks who can help you goes a long way.
A support network
Maybe it's just me but personally, I find it a lot easier to get things finished when they're for someone else. Someone needs help with something, and I've offered to help them, it's a lot easier to get motivated to get the job done than if it was a personal project where I have nobody to please other than myself.
lets work together
Starting with the easy thing or the hard thing? that's up to you to decide. I'd recommend knocking back the easiest tasks first, the ones that would take the least time to accomplish. The more difficult tasks might require some incubation time, new skillsets, or a network of friends to help you out.
Do the work
Something is better than nothing
It doesn't have to be perfect
You'll get better with time
See a door, open a door, you don't have to step through it right away. Check to see what's on the other side. If you see potential there, then start moving.
the decision to take action - It starts with a choice. Remember the words we use in our own minds carry weight.
The language we use in our internal dialoge affects our reality. No seriously. No more of this Someday i hope to ____. A better line of conversation is I am ____. These are called affirmations, and next time you catch yourself using language like hope, want, trying to, etc. Catch yourself and think about it for a moment. Are you trying to do something? or are you Doing it?
going through the motions - Consistency of effort
once you understand what you want, the next step is to follow through. How many artists I know don't do this. I was guilty of it myself. It's called Failure to launch syndrome. I get it, it's easier to just push your ambition aside and play some video games. Next thing you know it's 10 years later, and have to bust-ass to make up for lost time. If you're not doing something every day, start with 1 thing. If you're already doing something every-day, then start doing 3 things every day. It'll take dedication and preparation, but you can do it. Start Now.
There are only so many hours in a day. How are you going to use them?
Gene Media Productions
Cody Gene is an Independent Record Producer from BC
Music Methodology & Creative Lifestyle