2014!

My annual post! ;)

Wishing you all a creative and happy 2014!

PS: Don’t forget about “Patches” up there in the header.  Some people may not even recognize it.

Take care!

Finding…

… yourself as an artist. One of the more difficult aims to accomplish being a music producer.

In the beginning, we follow our heroes and favorite artists, to get close to their sounds and output. The current soundware market is offering numerous products, like specific sample and preset packs, even full construction kits, allowing upcoming producers to get a certain sound quicker, as the “regular” way of learning individual steps and taking years of practice. You can even look for content that is made by one of your favorite artists. Cool, eh?

Well, as much as this seems very beneficial, there is more to it, especially when people get lazy and rather prefer these shortcuts, as dealing with learning and creating things on their own. If we look back on the history of electronic music, we notice certain things that remind us on what this music was originally about.  Personally, music is the greatest discovery of mankind (oke… spicy food and beer are also awesome!). Nowadays spirit seems to be about, as much as we want, as quick as we want, with the least amount of effort possible. Stolen software copies, with some presets and samples and there you go. This doesn’t stop with the unknown guy, producing in his bedroom, unfortunately.

One of the most, if not the most, famous little synthesizers, the TB-303, was primarily aimed on recreating real bass guitar sound. A huge miss for Roland when it came out, leading to a lot of bargain 303s. The electronic music / Techno community took this device and made it into one of the most desirable pieces of gear to acquire. By using it beyond the intended purpose.

I don’t wanna bash on presets and samples. I use them all the time, but I don’t base all my work on them. You can build your average, generic song with these easily and be one of the millions of people, having a release on Beatport or wherever. But what is the memory you want to trigger, if people think about you? What is the difference between a producer that is an inspiration for you and one that just made a good track, that you won’t listen to anymore in 2 or 3 weeks?

Keep a good balance! Find gear and samples that give you a decent set of essential tools. Get yourself a book or watch some online tutorials, but don’t overdo it. Follow your favorite artists, but learn how to make things your way. Notice when the time is right to practice and experiment with the things you know, to discover your own techniques and your way of doing things, the way you feel is right, not how some other dude somewhere else thinks how you should do it.

Keep creating.

 

Limitations

Today, I would like to talk about limitations and how helpful they can be.

I like to think about myself as someone with a minimal setup. I mainly use Reason 6.5  and rarely add more content to my production arsenal, like new samples, ReFills or Rack Extensions.

I believe, that once your collection grows you loose track of what you already own. A good example for this is Reason’s own Factory Sound Bank. First of all, it has way too much to offer to remember everything in there. Secondly, some of those effect Combinators can spice up a boring sound easily. If you checked the FSB in the past, you should get back to keep rediscovering new goodies.

Same goes for any other ReFill or sample pack I own. In a new content or in a different mind state or mood, some sounds may attract you more than others.  A sound that you not liked before, could be the inspiring spark this time.

You can try to reconstruct Combinators into pieces and learn from there. Once separated, you can use those pieces to craft new sounds and textures. Another reason why most of my current sound comes from NN19/XT sounds is because my collection of sampled instruments for both samplers and I enjoy mix and matching them for my own creations, but this can be done with any device in Reason and is one way of working with some creations of other artists and designers.

I like to clean and delete stuff, even more so when checking several numbers. Who seriously could ever need 2.000 snare samples? This is one of the questions I ask myself, but I also know that some people really can deal with a lot of options and content. I’m not one of them and I learnt my lesson the hard way (that G.A.S. thing), but these tips may help other people with minds working like mine.