Since impulsivity and music often go hand in hand, it can be tempting to make quick, on-the-spot decisions when it comes to how you make, perform, record, and promote your music. Feeling comfortable and confident with the way you make decisions is pretty important in the songwriting arena, but ironically, giving your instincts too much of a say in matters other than music-making could end up significantly hurting your band.
In cities like LA, New York and London, you can’t throw a stone without hitting a musician intent on finding fame and fortune through making music. Despite existing in an oversaturated industry built on its workforce making less and less money, the idea that you could pump out a couple of hits and start making as much money as Kanye West is one that seems to persist despite mounting evidence that proves otherwise. If money is the motivating force behind why you create music, you might want to reconsider.
When a producer sits down, opens up their DAW of choice, turns on their speakers or plugs in their headphones with a blank canvas, the possibilities are endless. With that limitless ability to experiment also comes the ability to feel stuck. Have you ever flipped through tons of TV channels and wondered, “Why is there nothing good to watch?” You have so many options, but feel like there’s nothing worth sticking around for. Well, that same “stuck” feeling can apply to beatmakers. So, if you are feeling like you can’t come up with anything good, or you just want to start over, before going into a new project file, try evaluating some methods to really help you hone in on your creative output, There are countless ways to make music — none are better than the other. But there are a few surefire methods to really get your production off its feet.
We’ve listed four ways that you can make a quality beat from scratch, even if you’re in a creative rut.
Guest post by Tunedly, a ReverbNation Marketplace partner and company catering to a community of music creators.
My years of wearing the hat of a songwriter and working with others in the game, taught me that it isn’t the most glamorous job. And when one considers that only a small fraction of the songwriting population actually make it big in the business, it would seem you’d have to be short of a few screws to decide that writing songs is what you want to do for the rest of your life.
Many songwriters started out doing it as a hobby, a way to soothe the turmoil in their minds, and then learned about the possible financial gains afterwards. With that said, every songwriter, who gets serious about making it a career, faces their own set of struggles along the way. But many of these struggles are not unique to one; if you speak with other songwriters, you will quickly find out that they pretty much endure some of the same problems you’re faced with on a daily basis. We’ll delve deeper with a few examples throughout this post, so you might want to stick around.
There’s something about making music that has the ability to bring out hard-line attitudes within a person. Maybe it’s because the process of writing music is often jarringly intimate and revealing for some of us, like an urgent accounting of how we truly perceive the world as human beings. Or perhaps the competitive you vs. the world mindset born out of an industry fueled by an obsession with clicks, plays, and views is somewhat to blame. No matter where it comes from and for better or worse, we often associate music-making with potent and extreme emotion, but approaching your craft with such a high-stakes attitude towards things could be detrimental.
The idea of a remix has been around since electronic music started becoming prominent decades ago. Because so many producers work with samples of pre-existing music, it only makes sense that they would be adept at taking a popular song — with permission from the artist — and remix it into their own creation. Just as many rising artists become famous or recognized by covering other music, whether on YouTube or SoundCloud, producers are getting their foot in the door by remixing. A popular song is released, then a budding producer gives it a new and exciting reinvention. Because the song is already popular, the remix gets a lot of attention, especially if it’s good. But since the art of remixing has become so prominent, it’s hard to stand out. And for those producers who are new to remixing, it’s difficult to know where to start. So, whether you’re a seasoned remixer or you just got your first batch of stems, we’ve outlined five smart ways to approach a remix for you to stand out.
In 1980, the Roland Corporation introduced the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer — what we know as the 808. It was among one of the first programmable drum machines. And despite being decades old, it’s as prominent as ever in modern music. Though, producers today may not be using the actual drum pad, they’re using the samples: booming bass drops, digital snares, tinny hi-hats, artificial claps, etc. In rap music today, the 808 drum kit can be found everywhere from Grammy-winning artists and producers like Kanye West and Jay-Z.
But with such prominence also comes a lot of repetition. When listening to a handful of hip-hop’s most popular trap tunes at any given moment, can you really tell who the producer is without the producer tag? Certainly Metro Boomin is going to produce differently than Mike WiLL Made-It, but in many scenarios, their use of 808 drum kits ends up sounding very similar. This isn’t a bad thing — most acoustic drum kits sound similar, whether it’s Led Zeppelin or The Who. But in this modern era of production, taking the time to make your 808 drum kits unique will go a long way in helping you to stand out among the rest. Here are a few ways how:
The art of mixing in many ways is an art of balancing — you’re weighing different frequencies, audio levels, sound placements, etc. Many times when trying to balance too many things at once, things begin to fall apart. If your mix is too busy and crowded with clashing frequencies and harsh-sounding audio clips, you’ll need to clean it up before releasing the music. So, before you give the greenlight to a mix that’s on the border of being too busy, give it a few tests. We’ve outlined four ways to tell if your mix is too busy, and in each way, we offer a solution.