I’ve never been into micro-management. Its probably because i’m a lazy sort who gets bored very easily going through all the fine details. So music production tends to need quite a bit. If i could just throw all the stems and phrases into a machine and pull a lever to get a track i would. So for folks of a similar persuasion how do you get round this one? Im more interested in hearing workflows of the lazy type of person who dislikes poring over everything with a fine tooth comb. Cheers all.
You could hire someone else to mix and master your stems into a finished product, then you can concentrate on the more songwriting and arrangement side of things, with a little bit of production along the way, of course. Or collaborate with someone else who loves doing that stuff while you do the stuff you like. I’ve found all the plugins that are meant to be easy, preset-based, do-it-alls to be lacking. But you could make your own go-to FX and synth presets so it’s all the easier to get off and running at the start of a new project. Just thoughts off the top of my head.
IMO the best workflows might be somewhere in-between those extremes
EDIT: maybe change
- laziness --> efficiency
- fine tooth-comb --> commit to adequate decisions quickly and no perfectionism
Cheers Craig. Ive hit a bit of a brick wall atm. Its like effort/result weighing heavily on my shoulders. The fun is being sucked out of me.
I let other people (if I find a friend willing to do it) mix and master my stuff, always. Usually leads to a better result. I dislike making music completely by myself, and thankfully have multiple friends who are both better than me at the technical side of things and often have better taste in music, too.
I had exactly this over the winter and four months of lockdown. I was doing stuff every day/night but I was miserable with everything I produced. I took a step back in the end, changed some other things in my life, and came back determined to make it fun again - without caring too much about the result. I think a practice of sticking to choices helps. Every stage of the production process is a decision. Add a compressor to this or leave its natural dynamics, for example. So do things quickly without too much thought. Try the compressor, A/B it quickly, decide one way or the other and move on. You could even give yourself time limits to complete things. Don’t agonise over the sound of your kick (you can replace it later if it’s really terrible). Move fast without too much hesitation!
Sage advice there.
I think your onto something there. When i move quickly i feel really positive about things.
Awesome. It’s always better to produce 10 things to their conclusion and only be happy with 2 or 3 of them than to agonise over one track for weeks
…well, sabana…i hear u…and i feel u…
THAT’S ALL part of the whole sonic game…
and once u get over and got through all that many micro management, u might realize that EFFORT is actually AUDIBLE…
u start to find ur workflow…u start to know ur ways…u start to use ur costumized blanks from where u get started again and again…each time a little smarter…each time a little faster…
muscle memory may always be with u…
sometimes, new gear can be a cure…but end of the day, all that matters is the level of how much u know ur gear inside out…
ur inner enemy needs to be defeated every day again…it has a name…lethargy…
it feels great, every time u win…and THAT can be heard in ur sonic results…
and makes THE difference between hobby or pro…
no way around it…no inbetween…
Totally understand you. My inner demon is to quit and or to do something else. Especially agree with the new gear thing. That is how GAS works. A major distraction from the problem being yourself. Artists suffering for an end result that may be unheard or seen. Its part of being.
I’ve been in a similar situation and it’s a never-ending battle to balance function and necessity. I’m having tons of fun just jamming with hardware, recording each instrument individually (template in Ableton Live so no faffing about) then finding loops and phrases, gathering them in Session View, then performing those with a bunch of delays and filters mapped to a MIDI controller. Once happy with the mixing and automation, bounce down then tweak with iZotope and/or FabFilter products.
There’s nothing worse for the creative workflow than having a million options and not being able to choose which to do next. Having a template and MIDI mappings really helps.
Maybe one day I will hire someone to do this for me.
If I’m working on a track past the point of enjoyment I bin it off.
My bin needs emptying, its overflowing…I need a bigger bin
This is where Elektron workflow in particular seems very tedious to me as you are essentially programming ever single step on every single track and agonizing over this fine detail. But i continue to persevere.
I don’t. I just enjoy being in the moment & my tracks are conceived & born purely out of that. No going back, retouching etc.
I’ve never liked anything I did enough to bother with mixing and mastering. I’m quite happy just jamming at home for myself.
If anything rises to that level I will be so thrilled about it that mixing and mastering will be a joy (and a new place to be disappointed lol)
Practically: Record a jam with an instrument, record yourself reacting to that jam with another instrument, and then another maybe. Record with effects baked in. Maybe record yourself noodling around on a synth to generate “effects” to sprinkle around for variety. Embrace “happy accidents” (aka errors that you don’t want to correct). Have a few arrangement templates you go back to (ABA, AB, ABC, you don’t need more). Roughly do levels, highpass everything that’s not a kick or a bassline. Compressor and limiter on master, export.
Do this quickly, don’t think too much, and do this often, you’ll pick the winners after a while.
Philosophically (you can call me an asshole for this word): I’ve started learning ink painting a while ago and you cannot go back on strokes because the beauty comes from the confidence in them. So you learn to do many tries, embrace the repetition and the errors, and pick the good ones in the end (while improving your technical abilities in the process)
I’m super lazy and hate to micro manage… I realized that I just want to have fun… so I skipped going out of my way to get the best mix and all that…
What I basically do is to use Octatrack as a mixer… this leads me to having creative limitations. I have four inputs, work with it…
I use track 8 as master on Octatrack and with EQ and Comp I then record everything as a stereo Wav… one take, one file that’s it.
Has worked for one album and a EP (granted the album had a tad to much “lo-fi” textures)
I came to realize that the average listener doesn’t give a crap… a good song is a good song.
So my latest project is doing a set for this record label I’ve been working with in the past. There I use the Octatrack as a DJ mixer together with one OP-Z. I basically play a pattern muting and unmuting stuff. Record a loop on the Octatrack, change pattern on OP-Z, fiddle a bit with the loop and then fade in the OP-Z again. It’s super simple and highly effective and most of all fun!
I did this same reflection the other day. I get those Elektron boxes to get Daw-less, since you’re tired from all-day computer work. But the tools stimulate the same parts of my brain.
Lately I’ve enjoyed very much to jam with the Moog semis. It requires something else of me. More tactile than cerebral.