Ask yourself Y THO

I’ve been trying to bang out more songs faster.

Here’s some of what’s helped so far:

Learn and map out a bunch of basic song structures. Drag your favorite song into your DAW and mark the sections.

Then, when writing, pick a structure and write to this. You can always get fancy later.

If the above feels too restrictive consider the alternative is the hard way. (Maybe you do not know your structures enough. I didn’t but thought I did.)

100% of the time it’s easier to break the rules when you know them in the first place.

Even if you just have 4-bars, stretch out the song idea over a whole structure immediately, no mater how pitifully thin some parts seem. If the spark is real and you actually have something, your seed/ idea will more than survive. In fact, there will more than likely be more to it than you initially thought.

Remember, it’s easier to take away then to add after your initial burst of inspiration.

The dark magic may be in your initial writing, but the money is in the re-writing. Anyone can come up with an idea, but hardly anyone produces finished work.

Set a time of day to re-write. An appointment.

When at a this writing appointment give yourself 2 options: write or do nothing; not internet nothing. Absolutely nothing; just sit there. (This is advice is from Neil Gaiman, and he knows.)

Always better to have too many words and verses.

Then, the more medieval you are about chopping words the better.

Keep it simple. Play to about 50% of your top-end ability.

-jd

the current mothership

The home, manual beat matching set-up.

Saturday I am opening for myself, or as I like to call it, playing myself in.

Here’s the pick-list: https://embed.music.apple.com/us/playlist/21-7-10-dj-crate/pl.u-Z6Wmjtq6KvN

My first steps from zero to hero:

  1. What’s Good? Favorite DJ resource on the Internet (a/k/a Youtube) is Digital DJ Tips. Honerable mention to DJ Tech Tools as well.
  2. Can I stream? No you cannot stream form Apple music or Spotify. You have to to sign up for Tidal, but I am not using streaming this time around.
  3. How to Setlist? Per Digital DJ Tips’ advice, I have twice as much music ready as I need packed neatly into a Serato, in order of BPM, which is probably how I will play it. Organization has been the best digital tip (of many). I’ve watched a ton of Phil’s content on repeat, and his patience is saintly.
  4. What’s your thing? Know what you’re after. I mix like a vinyl DJ, and that’s making the first outing easy: emphasis on vibe and mood, not non-stop dancing. Making this distinction–figuring out the what and how, will save heartache down the road.
  5. What’s been the best? The internet (Youtube) is filled with some really amazing feats of curation an dexterity from DJ’s all over. A lot of great Brazilian action out there right now. As a closeted sp-404 guy, I found LeMellotron in Paris, and their DJ sets are second to none. I love all of their programing.
  6. What about your original music? It’s all affecting the music I’m making now. This week’s track is a prime example.
    https://soundcloud.com/jdtorian/right-demo
  7. This guy

Next post: set building.

My early AM view

Hopefully you did not come here for advice, but I bet you may be looking for new ideas.

My Idea

Spend a week with a synth. (A month in my case.)

Which synth does not matter and is the wrong kind of detail! If you have an iPad you have acres to a world of them under $10.00, and you also have all YouTube to get you going in the right direction.

What did I find out, learn, or reinforce in a week/ in week one?

1. Make new sounds from existing ones. You do not have to start from a basic patch. (This is how you make a basic patch.) Think of presets as a springboard.

2. I am not the player I could be, but I’m not as bad as I thought. In fact, I may play a song live this weekend (typically only perform w/ guitar).

3. All synths sound the same to the general public.

4. In the context of a mix, effects may be more important than the synth patch/ tone.

5. I really do love my first true synth love, this Alpha Juno. (Yes my site and record label are named after the AJ series.)

6. I am a writer first player and player next, but I still need to be able to get my ideas across as fast, efficiently, and as accurately as I possibly can. A/K/A I need a practice routine. [Austin Kleon has already said how succinctly.]

Random Thoughts

Patches matter less I thought they did, but they still matter a lot. Better general keyboarding will speed up the demo process for me. Committing to the journey and work of #programertoplayer will pay-up huge. I have a much better ear than I used to.

The AJ2 in almost-action

Uno Mas

Knowing this synth well will also save me real money. I think we all know that going out and buying a synth or spending time researching/ SHOPPING for new models—for the “sound in your head”—is wasting energy as compared to practical application, never minding that “sound in your head” is probably just lazy journalist writing that we’ve all come to accept as true.

Imagine not shopping as much. Or imagine the habit of going to your synth when you have something in mind.

For me, my key here and to my writing is this: the process is my reward.

The end-of-the-line song is fine, but if you do not love the journey and keep faith that it will end somewhat victoriously, you may need to rethink things. Out of everything, reenforcement of these is the true one synth lesson for me.

Epilogue

So do you sell everything else?

(Gear is the worst! *and the best)

Why am I writing all of this?

READ THIS! Disclaimer

To find my audience/ spread the music.

Listen here.

Please sign up for the email list here.

Here’s a live compilation of especially early mrtorian works.

Using it as bait to tune-up the Bandcamp page, it’s the first step in a move away from larger streaming services. We’ll see how well this strategy does, but with 55k songs added to Spotify in a day (yikes) 2 sold gets us WAY ahead of the game for ’21!

_jd

For anyone still thinking streaming is worthless, catalogs are semi-quietly being snapped up by all sorts of equity. No longer a one time purchase, if your song catches on, it keeps paying and paying, even if there are no ads associated with it.

Live?

In what seems to be an emerging fact, the long game is putting it out there to stream. Not playing live, but 9-to-5’ing it at your desk. Sat in front of the computer to get eyes and ears on it. Trade the glory of the stage for the glory of ‘likes’ and a lot of small but growing checks.

What if people, now off the road, put the effort into listens? This is happening, and I can tell you from my own experience, it works.

Bob Dylan Sells His Songwriting Catalog in Blockbuster Deal