Every DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) will come with a large slew of effects and built-in plug-ins. Depending on how long you have been producing, you have already started downloading additional plug-ins outside of the native ones that come with your DAW of choice. Whether you just bought the full Waves plug-in bundle or you’re still experimenting with your native effects, you’re going to end up with a few choices that will certainly land in your go-to folder. Typically, producers and mixers will have their favorite reverbs, compressors, EQs, and basic effects racks. While it is arguably better to master a few plugins than to poorly use hundreds of them, there are pros and cons to using the same effects over and over.
Time and time again, the sort of music that finds its way to the top of relevance, prominence, and appreciation are ideas that manage to blend listenability with stark originality. When musicians create new, fresh musical ideas presented in accessible, engaging ways, listeners take notice. With this in mind, it makes perfect sense why so many artists and bands do everything they can to set themselves apart from their peers––and often end up generating ideas indistinguishable from everyone else in the process.
Sometimes when songwriters and people in other creative fields try doing something completely different, new, and unconventional, they end up coming up with ideas similar to thousands of other artists. Why?
Every serious musician’s nightmare is blowing it on stage, but it’s an inevitability whether you’re relatively inexperienced or have been in the game for decades. Everything from nerves to lack of practice can contribute to a bad show, but no matter the reason, playing badly at a show can be devastating to a musician or band not only when expectations and emotions are sky high but also because putting yourself on stage typically requires a great deal of vulnerability.
Play shows long enough, and you’ll have a bad one eventually, even if you’ve practiced and aren’t particularly nervous. Doing everything you can to avoid blowing a show is important, but you might want to shift some of your focus on what to do when you step off the stage after a show that didn’t go your way.
Odds are if you’re an emerging band, you could do with a little more buzz. Not because your music isn’t great (because it probably is) but because you haven’t fully invested in the marketing and creation of your brand. I know those can sound like dirty words when all you want to do is play music you love and have it touch the lives of others, but the reality is that in order to actually reach that audience on a wider scale so that you can inspire them, you’re going to have to invest a little time in doing the things that don’t come naturally. Such as…
With songs like Migos’ “Bad and Boujee,” 21 Savage’s “X,” and The Weeknd’s “The Hills” gathering millions of streams and views across the online musical spectrum, the question eventually arises: “When did dark-sounding music become so popular?” Sure, sad songs have always been on repeat on the radio stations, especially for country music, but one genre in particular has been capitalizing on minor key music, hip-hop. And it’s not just about sounding sad, rather, dark. Hip-hop producer Metro Boomin is the biggest hit songwriter of 2017 so far according to Music Business Worldwide, but the majority of his beats feature ominous, eerie melodies, with lush minor chords that feel both sad and menacing. Isn’t popular music supposed to be, like, happy and fun? Well, happy and fun have found a place in dark music. For example, Drake’s song, “Energy,” is built around a dark, minimal piano line — but when he performs live, the crowd isn’t sitting there sulking; they’re jumping up and down and screaming the lyrics jubilantly. So, we wanted to dissect what makes this new wave of dark music so popular from a producer’s point of view.
Arguably the most prolific pop songwriting duo of the 20th century, John Lennon and Paul McCartney crafted some of the best known and most beloved tracks of all time as the major powerhouses behind the Beatles. Although each would go onto have successful solo careers — McCartney with Wings in the ‘70s and largely by himself thereafter and Lennon, along with wife Yoko Ono, helming politically charged outfits during his tragically short post-Beatles career — many insist they were never as good apart as they were together.
When boiled down to the basic status of “co-writers,” however, Lennon and McCartney aren’t so different from you and your writing partners. They dealt with many similar issues that, hopefully, won’t crop up too often in your own career, including copyright disputes, claims over who wrote what, and the public deifying one half over the other. It’s indisputable, however, that their combined power created a musical benchmark few other have risen to.
Although there are many, many lessons to learn from Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting partnership, here are three key takeaways that will get you and your present and future co-writers on the right track to crafting musical masterpieces.
Touring is a huge endeavor, even for experienced veterans. A music tour requires months of planning, saving, and contacting other bands, promoters, and venues – and making sure everyone in your act has the time off to go on tour plus the funds to pay for food, sundries, and amenities on the road (*cough*beer*cough*).
But effectively planning a tour doesn’t have to be immensely difficult or near-impossible, even when it seems so. Here are ten steps you can take to make touring easier so you can focus on playing music.
When you picture professional producers, mixers, and mastering engineers like Dr. Dre, Bob Ludwig, and Rick Rubin, what are they usually working with? Massive mixing boards? Huge state-of-the-art speakers? Thousand-dollar headphones? Priceless vintage equipment? That sounds about right, doesn’t it?
If we all had access to gear like that, you might think life would be much easier — and you would probably be right — but there are still many ways to achieve a great mix on a budget. If you have a smartphone or a computer, you’re already well on your way to achieving a good mix.