Well, we don’t know about you, but it seems like 2012 wooshed past in the blink of an eye just now. Still, there were some great releases, quality events, lots of cool new equipment to play with, and 2013 looks set to be even more fun. So here are a few New Year’s Resolutions you should think about adopting, while you wait for the hangover to subside enough to write beats again….
Produce on the Move
Although there were plenty of opportunities to do this before, 2012 was surely the year in which mobile production tools really came of age. Apple’s iPhone and iPad have long dominated the market, as Android devices were hampered by poor audio latency. But since the latest releases of Android have addressed this fault, the apps have started to flow, and now everyone can get in on the act. Audio production apps cost a tiny fraction of what their desktop counterparts do, the touchscreen interfaces can help people get inspired in a way that a mouse and keyboard struggle to do, and you can get your inspiration down easily whether you’re on a train, bus, or just mucking around in front of the telly. From synths, to drum machines, to fully-fledged DAWs, you can jam out a simple idea or write a full tune. So check out the options and start making more music!
Finish Your Demos
Far too many people send their tracks out to DJs and labels before they’re fully ready to do so – often with a caveat along the lines of ‘this track isn’t finished yet’ or ‘this mixdown isn’t quite right’! It’s insulting to the person receiving the email – why waste their time if you can’t even be bothered to finish the track? It will just be swiftly deleted. It may also compromise your future chances – if a DJ does check out the track, and it sounds bad, they’ll be less likely to give your stuff a spin in future. So make sure your demo is as polished as it possibly can be – even if that means hanging on to it for an extra week or month before you send it out. You might be keen to get the tracks out as soon as possible but it will be worth it in the long term!
This one may seem obvious – but in the music world, the people who succeed are not the same people you see hanging out at the pool or spending their mornings grabbing a fry-up at the local cafe. They are the ones who work the hardest. Your author played at large event on NYE, and the promoting team were not only planning to work the following weekend to make up for the bank holiday, but would even be coming in an hour early for the rest of the week, hangovers or no. The biggest success story of 2012, Bristol producer Eats Everything, has said that even when he quit his job to go full time (after more than a decade of producing and DJing) it was only after 11 months of fulltime producing that he managed to secure his first release. These things don’t come easily, even to the most talented amongst us. So set that alarm clock, because the early bird… well, never mind him. Just be sure to put the hours in!
Get Your Ideas Down Quickly
Creativity and inspiration are strange, elusive, spur of the moment things. You can spend a month banging your head on the wall, staring at your DAW and writing mediocre rubbish, and then suddenly write three great tracks in a week. It’s hard to predict, and so you should be ready when inspiration strikes. If you have a good idea for a bassline or a melody, get it written as quickly as possible, and then move on to the next bit – even if it doesn’t sound perfect. If you spend an hour fiddling with the synth patch or an effects chain first, you could lose the vibe, or simply get bored and lose interest. Get your ideas down quickly, and leave the fine tuning ’til later. It could just save your track.
Spice Up Your DJ Sets
So many DJs out there nowadays just mix one tune into the next, at 6 minute intervals, and in some cases even going through a pre-planned set, that when someone arrives doing something genuinely different, people sit up and take notice. Whether that’s mixing on multiple decks, getting some music hardware in on the act, live sets, a good MC or simply creating your own edits that no-one else has, putting some extra work in to make your club appearances more of an event can really spread your reputation and lead to more bookings, and more of a chance to spread your sound to a wider audience. And that can only be a good thing.
These tips aren’t a simple recipe for success, of course – and the same things don’t work for everyone. But they might just give you some good ideas for how to take your music to the next level…
Categories: Basic Production