Best of 2013 – Ableton & Music Production Tips

Denver

Wow, this has been quite a year for myself as well as Ableton Users. I moved from Iowa City to Denver and quickly met up with some of the most forward thinking DJ’s & producer’s. I notice the people here are very open, friendly and without typical egos that are known to plague the electronic scene. From this, eventually came a residency for a night called P.U.N.C.H.I.S. at Denver’s world famous club Beta.

Being able to both play music & listen to top notch DJ’s on a regular basis has given me a massive amount of ideas and feedback on what works in a club & what moves a crowd. I get to collect my favorite ideas and apply them to my own creations. If you can’t get out in that environment, at least listen to as many DJ mixes in your style as possible. This is a great resource that gives you more of the feeling of being there: http://www.be-at.tv/

Sometimes it is true that moving yourself to a new location can bring a dramatic change if your current one isn’t inspiring you or doesn’t support the lifestyle you want. This is not to say that you can’t do wonderful creative things from wherever you are, but it sure helps to meet people face to face who have similar passions and tastes, who can give you support and constructive criticism. Just make sure that the people giving you feedback understand your “sound” and your goals. I went a long time getting feedback from the wrong people & heading in a direction that wasn’t fulfilling for me & it took me a while to even realize.

In 2013 I feel i’ve started developing a new sound that feels right to me. I expect 2014 will see this develop much further and I will certainly take you along for the ride in my best attempt to help you discover & develop your sound.

New Website design

If you are here reading this, I am sure you have noticed a visually pleasing upgrade to the website. Your feedback has been wonderful. Thanks to those who dropped me a line to tell me how much they like the new look. It’s been something I wanted to do for a while & finally was about to get it done thanks to some help from people much better at it than me. Members should notice a dramatic difference in the navigation of all of the tools & features. Members can also expect even more tools & tips coming your way.

 

New Discoveries

As always, this year brought about several new discoveries I felt were worth sharing. I experimented with new production approaches, new habits and put new tools to use (See Ableton 9 below). I also share my own struggles in hopes that working these out for myself will also help you & open you further to your creative genius.

Here are some posts from last year that I feel are in the “must read” category if you missed them:

The Most Important Habit

Why Quantity > Quality

 

Ableton 9 & Push

We saw the release of Ableton 9 & the Push instrument. Both a huge leap forward. The new features have really opened up more creative possibilities, while also allowing me to speed up my workflow. Perhaps like you, I started getting caught up in the “too much information” trap and caught myself before my productivity suffered.

These posts below cover some of the very cool features that were added:

Ableton 9: Convolution Reverb

Ableton 9 Experiment 2: Ableton Live’s Glue Compressor

 

Ableton 9 experiments 1: Convert to Melody, Harmony & Drums

 

Here are some other notable Ableton tips to put on your watch list:

A New Ableton Technique

Midi Sampling

 

Writing a song in 24 hours

This experiment was very cool and I surprised myself with what came of it. I gave myself no more than 24 hours to create a song from start to finish. I did not take into account any legality issues, but I did give myself limits to help keep me focused.  In 1 week I had a 4 song ep in a style I had never attempted before. It was very freeing & I found it really inspiring.

Here’s a video walkthrough of 1 of the tracks I made:

 

The “1 Hour a Day” Club

This, I must say, is the best thing I did all year. Seriously

The simple idea was to create a group of people on Facebook willing to work on music at least 1 hour a day, every day & post a snippet of your daily results. This group is completely open and free to anyone who wants to join and share. Just be prepared to hear from the group if you are slacking. It has been going for about a month now and the results for me personally have been absolutely incredible. Many other’s found the results to be pretty incredible as well. Below explains things a bit more. I’ll be posting another update soon.

 

New Tool

I also released a new tool for Ableton called “Stutter Pads” which has had a very positive response. This gives you a great way to chop up and stutter sounds or samples & get some really cool sounds quickly. Here’s a bit about that if you haven’t checked that out:

Stutter Pads
(To those reading this early January 2014, use the coupon code: stutterme $17 to $9.99)

Conclusions

If I wanted to wrap up this years most important tips in a nutshell,  I would say there are certain things that are incredibly important to greater levels of success with your music making.

1. Write music every day. Regardless of results, you win if you just write.
2. Have at least 1 person you trust who will give you honest feedback to your music.
3. Recognize resistance to music making when it comes & know you only have resistance because your brain hasn’t built a habit yet. Build the habit & it’ll feel unnatural to NOT make music.
4. Believe in yourself even if others don’t.
5. Share your creative goals publicly
6. Listen to a lot of music

Happy New Year and may 2014 bring you ever closer to your goals.

 

 

Dj'ing and Performance Collection
A must for anyone wanting to DJ or perform live in Ableton. Includes 17 in-depth Videos on Warping, Organizing files, Setting up midi controllers (including APC40) and lots more! As a Free bonus, it also includes my Ebook "Mixing with your Mind - Make your best DJ Mix".
Ultimate Ableton Collection 1
A must for anyone new to Ableton or wanting to dive deeper into the depth of this program. Over 4 hours of the most in depth yet easy to follow tutorials on the market! Fully updated for Ableton 9 & previous versions.
Ultimate Ableton Collection 2 (promo)
This collection makes an incredible companion to the first collection and gets into the newest features in Ableton. There are also 20 professional custom drum kits and a full Drum Racks replication of Roland's famous R-70 drum machine.
Always In Key
Never hit a bad note again! With this tool, you'll be able to choose the key you want to play in and conform anything you play or ANY midi loop to that key! This is a fantastic tool for playing Live, DJ'ing, Remixing or Producing. Imagine chaotic, out of tune parts transformed into beautifully harmonized music. This will be the most fun you've had in Ableton in a Long time! Will work perfectly with the "Mixed in Key" number system or by actual key name. Must have Ableton 8.1.3 or later. Does NOT require Max For Live.
Ultimate Ableton Collection 2
This collection makes an incredible companion to the first collection and gets into the newest features in Ableton. There are also 20 professional custom drum kits and a full Drum Racks replication of Roland's famous R-70 drum machine.
Advanced Warping Collection
This collection is a must for DJ's and remixers! If you find yourself warping full songs on a regular basis, you are going to run into warping issues that can really bring your production to a halt. These simple secrets will get you past that with ease and back to doing what you do best.
Producer's Deluxe Collection
Get all 3 of my full video Collections (Ultimate Collections 1 and 2 and Advanced Warping Collection) Producers Deluxe Collection For those who are really serious about taking their skills in Ableton to the next level, this collection is the way to go at an amazingly discounted price!
Ultimate Ableton Collection 2 (promo)
This collection makes an incredible companion to the first collection and gets into the newest features in Ableton. There are also 20 professional custom drum kits and a full Drum Racks replication of Roland's famous R-70 drum machine.
30 Day Music Production Videos
If you've ever wanted to look over my shoulder while I make songs, THIS is the collection for you! In this collection you get me producing 2 full songs and a DJ mix from start to finish over a 30 day period. I take you through the good the bad and the ugly. It's the most honest video collection I've ever made. It includes every Ableton songfile for each day, every sample used and about 20 hours of Video. It also includes mixdowns of the 2 completed songs and DJ Mix.
Ableton Remixing Walkthrough
New Reduced Price (from $37)! For those who want to see exactly how I approach a remix. From editing the original sounds, to dropping them into Ableton and building ideas. Then adding to these ideas to compliment the original material and finally working it all into a song. All edits, effect settings, automation, and arranging procedure is included in the information packed video collection. (Now with a bonus 2 hour video walkthrough with songfile)
Free Mini-Pack
Free Mini-Pack
Here are a few FREE videos for those new to Ableton. Feel free to share these with anyone you like. - sorry guys, paypal made me charge a penny, if it's an issue you can always request a refund 🙂

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