Posts Tagged ‘Ableton live’
Today I just released a 3 part mini-course in partnership with Splice.com.
My New course will quickly cover essential effect techniques that you’ll certainly use in 90% of your music, a fast approach to song arrangement & must know template & preset techniques.
You’ll also be able to get your hands on a free template to use and abuse in any way you like.
If you haven’t heard of splice yet, it’s an amazing site for music producers that allows people to seamlessly collaborate, or release your song file publicly. It’s also a great way to store all of your songs for free.
As you collaborate within Splice, it will save each each version of your process, so you can always go back if you choose to. It not only works with Ableton, but FL Studio, Garage Band & Logic as well.
The conversations I had with the guys from Splice makes me very excited for new features to come as well. Definitely check it out and set yourself up a free account. You’ll be happy you did!
You can find my mini-course along with other Ableton gurus Tom Cosm, AfroDJMac, Mr Bill & Multiplier.
You can check out my course here:
Jason Timothy – Splice Mini-Course
Other Ableton courses can be found here:
happy music making,
Why does yesterday’s banging track sound like crap today?
So you’ve got this track of yours that you were jamming out to yesterday. Building, adding, eqing & tweaking all night. You wake up today & go back to your masterpiece and….. someone must have changed half the sounds.
It sounds like shit!
Who could have done this to your tune? Sadly, nobody. You are suffering from the music producer’s next day syndrome.
You know the story & it probably happens more often than you would like to admit. It has happened to us all & we always wonder why.
I don’t have a definitive answer on this but I do have a hypothesis that that might help shed light on the subject.
What happened to my song?
Sadly, nothing. The better question to ask is “what happened to you?”.
Between last night and today, you hearing & listening skills have changed. Unfortunately, you are hearing more clearly today than you were last night.
This happens for a few reasons.
For 1, long “inspired” sessions can often turn to uninspired actions. Over time, our ears get start hearing things differently. We become less sensitive to certain frequencies & are bound to over do things. Our ears simply get fatigued & we lose perspective. Unfortunately our brain didn’t get the memo & the more you work toward finishing your song, the more damage that is done.
In order to keep perspective, you need regular breaks to let your ears recover & at a certain point, when you find yourself suddenly feeling like you need to eq everything to make it sound right, that is usually when you should consider walking away for the night.
Have you ever listened to a loop so long that you kind of get lost in a zone? It’s a fantastic experience when you are listening to music, but not when you are writing it. What happens is, you start hearing things differently. You start hearing things that aren’t actually there or a hidden ghost note that is implied. You may get so lost in one sound, that you stop hearing certain other sounds.
Sometimes you get in too close to the details to really have a handle on the big picture. The more you listen to something on repeat, the more your imagination takes over until what you are hearing is not actually what you are listening to. You are no longer hearing what is coming through your speakers, but more of a fantasy version of it. This can make an average sounding idea sound better than it actually is.
To avoid this, you should try to avoid listening to your song idea as a constant loop too much. Listen to your song start to finish & take mental notes along the way. This way, when you listen back, you are taking an active role instead of putting yourself in a passive self hypnosis role. You want to check in with yourself often & make sure your brain isn’t filling in the blanks.
A better tomorrow
In order to have a better tomorrow, make sure you pay close attention today when you are writing. Although it’s great to get excited and have fun with your music production, it’s also important to put yourself in somewhat of a neutral state at times & view things as a realist. When you start getting the itch to change things too much, consider walking away from the computer. You’ll be happier the next day & the day after.
All is definitely not lost when you find yourself unhappy with where your song is at. Given enough will & persistence, you can almost always find your way back & revive your track. It might take a couple days, but if you stick with it, the spark will return.
Happy music making,
80/20 Your Music Production
For those not familiar with 80/20 principles, welcome to the principles that will give you your life back. I mean that quite literally.
The principle was suggested by management thinker Joseph M. Juran. It was named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population. The assumption is that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes.
The concept of 80/20 has been around for a long time & we seem to be finding it’s algorithm in pretty much everything that can be measured. It works in both macrocosms and microcosms (I know Tom Cosm fans will have a giggle here. If not, tell him Jason Timothy sent you)
In the grand scheme of things, 80% of everything you are doing right now is only getting you about 20% of the results. These are tasks that should be discarded to focus on the 2nd half of the rule. 20% of the things you are now doing are giving you 80% of your results. These are the things you want to do more of.
Let’s look at some things in your life where 80/20 has a big effect.
* 20% of the things you eat give you 80% of the benefits
* 20% of your exercise routine gives you 80% of your results
* 20% of your workday creates 80% of your productivity
Get the idea?
So how can we take this kind of knowledge & apply it to music making?
I thought you’d never ask
So let’s look at some things that might be holding you back from being a more productive artist.
Not enough time
This is a huge obstacle for many many aspiring producers & it has stops many very talented people from even getting to the starting line with their music career. Let’s use the 80/20 principle & see if we can free up a large % of your time.
Let’s look at some time sucks that might be taking you away from making music. Remember, 80% of what you are doing is only attributing to 20% of the things you are getting done.
These things might fit in that category:
* Checking email or Social media more than a couple times a day.
* Phone calls that could be 80% shorter & still give you the same results
* Errands you might be running everyday that you might be able to accomplish in 1 well planned trip per week
* Taking your least productive hour of the day (usually the last hour before you go to sleep) & adding that hour in the morning by getting up an hour earlier. This will give you a highly productive time before your day gets crazy (Thanks to Mike Monday for this one)
* Needless time spent stressed & worried over a future that will likely never happen
* How much of the TV you watch each week is largely garbage that does nothing to improve your life?
Are you getting the picture here? 80/20 your time sucks & watch how magically time for music production opens up for you.
Music Production overwhelm
How much time do you spend trying to learn everything about making music while doing nothing with that knowledge?
It’s like you had a tornado hit your creative brain & now you have all these tiny fragments of information, to do lists, tips, tricks & widely opposing opinions, so disorganized that you have zero idea where to start.
The truth is, (probably more than)80% of the crap you’ve filled your head with is just an addiction to consuming information. It’s really just procrastination disguised as productivity. If you aren’t going to put the information you are watching to use in the next 10 minutes, it’s useless & a waste of your time and creative energy.
Between these scenarios, which do you think will give you 80% of your best results? 1 or 2?
1. Listening to 20 different people all telling you 20 different versions of the “right” way to get something done.
2. Trusting your own instincts & making a decision on your own, always evaluating & improving upon your own approach & only going outside yourself briefly to keep perspective.
1. Spending a week in forums trying to find out what the best possible synth or plugin to use. Buying & downloading all 50 of them & then searching tutorials to learn each one (just in case one synth might be ever slightly better at 1 or 2 things).
2. Giving yourself 1 hour to see what synths are out there, reading the “cliff notes” that matter to you & choosing 1 to learn in depth.
When starting a new song…..
1. Going through every synth, preset & sample until you find the drum sounds you are happy with, the right bass sound & all the additional elements.
2. Spending a day or 2 putting together a “go to” list of 10 or less sounds for each section that gives you quick access to sounds you already know you like.
If you’ve been choosing option 1 throughout your music production journey, welcome back to having a life!
This is just the tip of a very large 80/20 iceberg (although 80% of that undiscovered iceberg probably isn’t going to serve you any purpose). I challenge you to find other areas in your life that you can free up more of your mental energy for music making. Leave a comment below & let’s discuss this further.
If you want to dive deeper into 80/20, I highly recommend this book by Perry Marshall (not an affiliate link). It takes a look at things from more of a business perspective, but is pretty easy to apply to almost anything.
happy music making,
Kick or Bass getting buried? Try this..
A big mistake that is made by producers, especially new ones, is setting your levels too loud when you are mixing & having everything too close to the red to nudge anything up when you realize something is getting buried.
In this example, I realized too late that I wasn’t happy with how my kick & bass were coming through. Although I’m usually good with my levels, I must have gone a little overboard here. This left me with the painful task of having to turn down every other track in my song by a few db. This video shows an easier way to do that, as well as a very simple side chaining trick.
I hope you find this helpful.
Happy music making,