Best of 2013 – Ableton & Music Production Tips
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.
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:
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:
Here are some other notable Ableton tips to put on your watch list:
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.
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:
(To those reading this early January 2014, use the coupon code: stutterme $17 to $9.99)
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.