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"Why can't I..." - A motivational guide for producers

For all Hardstyle tutorials regarding DJ'ing and Producing
  

Postby ljk32 » 28 Aug 2012, 08:01

Again, I didn't make this, I'm just posting it here, maybe it will help some of you.

*DISCLAIMER: Apologies, this is a long post. I hope that it does end up being useful to any struggling producers.*

“Why can’t I sound like _____?”

Aside from a seriously clichéd opening line for this thread, it’s a question that gets raised by almost every amateur (and probably professional as well) producer out there. Somewhere down the road, one artist inspired you and all of a sudden you got involved in the scene. However, I think “why can’t I sound like _____?” is perhaps the wrong question. A better question is, “why can’t I produce my tracks that have my distinct sound , in a professional, fresh sounding way?” In this quick thread I hope to show all you guys my take on this.

The first real step in any music creation starts with the development of technique associated with whatever music one plans on creating. Years ago, I was studying the Classic Guitar and as I began, I absolutely HATED doing technical work and by the end of the first year I was so sick of doing endless amounts of scales and arpeggios. The music I played at the time was very boring and slow for the most part with little expression or movement at all but as time went on, I started to get a better feel for the instrument and different actions would seem more and more effortless as I practiced more and more. I began to play harder music with much more expression, feeling, and dynamics. Long story short, the technical stuff came first. I didn’t know why I was doing many of the boring, dry exercises but in the end it seriously helped me. In fact, each and every music student in every university has to at one point practice some technical aspect of music.

To us music producers, the DAW/soft synth could be considered our instrument(s). Only after a month or so of production did I realize this myself. I think many producers are surprised that they can’t get what is in their head into their DAW and this problem stems from not having a complete technical mastery of their software. To become a top notch producer, the only way is to study your instrument. How long do you ask? Some people have often mentioned the “10,000 hour rule” which states that once you seriously devote yourself to an activity for 10,000 hours, you will have become something of an expert by then. Of course this is all reliant upon how you approach your work and who helps you learn your craft. It’s important in our case to know how various effects work (like compressors, EQ’s, various filters, etc.), various soft synths work (knowing about different waveforms and what sort of harmonic content they generate) and to know how to use each when necessary. Knowing how to navigate one’s DAW is also extremely crucial as I think it’s impossible to create anything creative without being comfortable with the medium through which it’s being created. Finishing songs is also key in evaluating your progress and although you don’t want to rush through a track by any means, it is important to set deadlines. There are so many new producers who attribute their mix problems to a number of specific issues and although those assertions may be correct, the main problem is that they are still building up their technical prowess. To wrap up this point, the actual music cannot be created without a foundation of technique. It’s boring and sucks to work on but honestly it’s so essential to sounding professional in any genre. So read up on production and keep experimenting with different things in your DAW.

It is only after having this foundation that you can move on to actually creative music making. Yep, finally the fun part! There are no real hard and fast rules here unlike the technicals. It’s all about finding your own productive method. You’ll find there are certain ways of going about producing that only you do.
To give you a few examples, I always have to have a clean workspace, a cup of caffeinated tea on hand, and a quiet area when I work on my tracks. Sometimes I find it really useful to turn off my phone and disconnect my internet when I’m getting into a track to avoid distractions. Having a tuned mixing environment also makes me feel comfortable when I’m producing; knowing that what I hear is what the mix actually sounds like is very reassuring to me. Going into a track I always have 2-3 reference tracks on cue to compare the balance of my mix to. I always try to plan my week out and set realistic expectations (as you produce you’ll get a better feel for how long it takes you to finish certain sections). About every 45-60 minutes I’ll take a break (this was something I was taught back when I was studying music. It keeps the juices flowing). When I do take a break I like to go for a run, jump rope, or do some yoga assuming I have the time for these things. These are just a few of the things I like to do when producing off the top of my head and you'll inevitably come up with your own in due time.

Perhaps the most important point of this thread is that you MUST BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR WORK. Creativity always will require confidence first no matter what you are applying your creativity to. Always look for feedback from more experienced musicians. Although their critiques may sting a little after you worked for hours and hours on your newest track, most of the time they mean well and their advice will only save you double or triple the time that you would ordinarily take to learn their advice. You don’t need EVERY vst ever known to man to have a nice sounding mix. It’s much more important to know how to use a few plugins very well than simply trying to shove dozens of exotic looking plugins using only presets in your session. All you need is some practice, study, and your own creativity; not a $10,000 collection of plugins. You shouldn't aim to sound like any other artist; BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR WORK!!!!!

I know I said a lot here and I tried to keep everything somewhat organized. It was mainly just a general list of what I feel will make most anyone comfortable with producing. So often we get wrapped up in selling records or gaining fans that we forget to have ourselves some fun with our music. Anyways, I hope this is of some help to you guys. The overarching message I want to give is that you should KEEP PRODUCING. It's coming, and it's a journey. It will require time and some sacrifice before things become truly "fun." Things will only naturally become fun once you master your instrument/DAW.
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Postby SocialSelect » 28 Aug 2012, 11:16

Good stuff man... Just got off the phone with my dad who is a mixing engineer in las Vegas. Talked about all most the same things. My mind set the past few weeks were in the stormy clouds, getting to the point of not wanting to live anymore due to feeling like i'm not going anywhere and family issues. Best thing to do is keep going and trying.
Things get better with time... Thought about how far i gone in a just year of producing and how much better i can get if i keep going. Never quit..
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Postby thesh3ll » 28 Aug 2012, 11:41

i think it's pointless when people try to copy noisecontrollers or somethiing
Last edited by thesh3ll on 28 Aug 2012, 11:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby thesh3ll » 28 Aug 2012, 11:42

in hardstyle I feel like most producers just produce what the current 'norm' is in the hope that they will get twiter fans or something... it's really pathetic I think, people should make original music and styles for themselves and not make music for more "twitter fans" or some other bullshit
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Postby ljk32 » 28 Aug 2012, 11:44

Aliner:in hardstyle I feel like most producers just produce what the current 'norm' is in the hope that they will get twiter fans or something... it's really pathetic I think, people should make original music and styles for themselves and not make music for more "twitter fans" or some other bullshit

I agree, there really isn't much creativity, especially with kicks, people just aim for the exact same sound.
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Postby Digital Shifter » 28 Aug 2012, 11:46

Good point man, the fact that people think its so easy is their mistake in productions of music.
They think like this: Okay, im gonna download a DAW (FL Studio or whatever) And start trying to make something. Wow this is good and start working more on the sounds and midi's and kicks.
Then the compare there music with famous artist like headhunterz.
And then they realise that there music sucks ass.
The fact is.

You can't be a proffesional in one day or one month.
Let's take an example.

Its like cooking in a 5 Star restaurant.
First when you come there you will start as a rooky, or noobie.
You have to practice and start below before you can do someting like making food.
Then your rank will get higher by learning some skills.
You will learn to make food and start to understand how food works,
After a couple of years, you will become like a good cooking guy, and not the guy from the dishes.
You know what i mean?
It takes years to know how your food (Or music, sounds, kicks and stuff) works.
People now a days are also looking to much for tutorials.
It's not bad that they need help, but when you don't try something you will never learn it yourself.

And then there is this, why want people now a days sound like headhunterz or wildstylez or some other great artist. The fact is. The point in making music is to get your own sound, and your own style.
That mean's that YOU have to create you're own tracks, if your listening to some proffesionals and take their idea to get it in to YOUR song, than you're just a nothing then a faker.

Make you're own style, your own kicks, and your own sound.

That's the point in making music.

And another point is that people now a days don't have the power to make music, because when they can't make something that is very hard to make, they will give up.

But when even headhunterz is working on a kick for 2 weeks, it doenst mean that you can make a good kick in 1 day.

So don't give up, stay strong, and now go make some sick ass beats!

Greetz, Xaltor!
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Postby ljk32 » 28 Aug 2012, 12:24

I agree completely, but just find it funny that they guy picking the name 'Digital Krazyness' is telling people to do their own thing :+ .
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Postby Digital Shifter » 28 Aug 2012, 12:29

What is funny about it my friend :p
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Postby ljk32 » 28 Aug 2012, 12:51

Xaltor:What is funny about it my friend :p

It's the most unoriginal name I've ever heard. Plus, you spelt 'craziness' wrong ;) .
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Postby Digital Shifter » 28 Aug 2012, 14:19

ljk32:
Xaltor:What is funny about it my friend :p

It's the most unoriginal name I've ever heard. Plus, you spelt 'craziness' wrong ;) .


Lol, dude, i know its a stupid name. But now a days you can't think of a name or its token.
And i know its Craziness but its just kinda ''funny'' that i spelled it Krazy-ness
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Postby ljk32 » 28 Aug 2012, 14:24

Each to their own :) .
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Postby Digital Shifter » 28 Aug 2012, 14:32

ljk32:Each to their own :) .


Everybody has his own style.. :)
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Postby NEKA » 28 Aug 2012, 15:48

Like myself, I haven't uploaded or finished a full track 100% for a year now. Few years ago I released a lot of tracks, but when I compare them to the ones I'm making now...well, they at least are full tracks. I happen to have this huge problem/pressure of how to get something right in my songs.

Like, I can imagine the sound design, FX, vocals, the sound of the kicks etc. perfectly and I can listen the track through in my head for like million times, but none of the sounds I am making doesn't sound right. I won't release a track until I know excatly how I'm gonna make it or how I will create a sound like this, one I am 90% sure of it, then I can release it.

But the learning process is SO slow, and, if you don't even have a single clue how would you make a "type X sound", and when the only advice you get from others are either "lol noob go learn" or "it's just simple thing A and B" how the heck is it gonna help you at all? I myself don't like the way that you would need to learn everything the hard way. Of course it's better, but it might kill inspiration, as the time you could use to create the track is used on creating the one little sound.
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Postby Markove » 28 Aug 2012, 17:20

I've slowly discovered this myself. It's becoming less about "how do I sound like that" and more like "How can I get my own sound BETTER?".
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Postby andyhuynh » 30 Aug 2012, 14:04

ljk32:
Aliner:in hardstyle I feel like most producers just produce what the current 'norm' is in the hope that they will get twiter fans or something... it's really pathetic I think, people should make original music and styles for themselves and not make music for more "twitter fans" or some other bullshit

I agree, there really isn't much creativity, especially with kicks, people just aim for the exact same sound.


but then with kicks you're basically distorting and eqing with mid-rangey boosts, so obviously a lot of people are gonna end up with the same tone ;)
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