multiple samplers = cross training. different processes en route the same end goal helps you learn yer sh*t.

Sampling makes you a better listener, and better listeners make better music.

Great sounds in isolation don’t always work in the mix or in a track. Picking things apart deconstructs and demystifies the puzzle.

Would you be more efficient and faster if you create or pick sounds with the mix in mind?

Sampling helps with this. It’s not just your ears either. Typically you can see the waveform when using or editing samples, so you learn what a great sound looks like. Really helpful.

What’s a transient? Look at a bunch, and you’ll figure it out. Move and place them on the grid. You’ll hear and associate what’s what almost immediately.

Do you need to make all your sounds? No.

Do you need to make any? Probably.

Don’t be a purist. You don’t have to do everything. Dave Van Ronk says purists become dentists! **Read his book–amazing!**

You’re probably your own band. Great purchased samples are cooperative collaborators. Make it easy. Easy isn’t lazy. It’s efficient. (Try F9 Audio. Great sample pack here.)

What if this all sped up the writing process? Would your tracks be better quicker because these sounds work in finished tracks?

Better tracks = better music. Learn sampling.


Artists know what it takes to ideally get from point A to point B. There is always going to be trouble along the way. We need help because we are sad. Artists are also can be needy, but it’s a DIY world.

Distributor CD Baby, besides making getting music out easy, is ever-present with the help, consonant encouragement, and useful advice. All of these extras coalesce in it’s mostly-annual DIY Music Conference with Kevin and Chris, whom I once again did not get to meet.

I saw Chris in the dunnie at one point. (This is not the time, people.)

Events like this are carry-your-own-bag in that you get what you give (or attend). Attendance doesn’t cut it. **You have to know what you want in life and art. All the rules, work, and solutions continue to basically be the same, but the processes are forever evolving.

Maybe you know what to do, but do you know how to do it? This is where the conference is most helpful.

What follows is a bit of journal entry/ collection of links for what we took from the festival.

Standouts were the Austin Kleon keynote, product: Laylo, the hilarious lady from Amazon (wish I had a pic), Spotify info session, voice coach, and YouTube info session.

Austin Kelon’s book(S) is/are required reading for artists. It’s good to know you have company is the sometimes-awful process of creativity. Every artist needs to pin this diagram (he stole from Maureen McHugh) to their wall/ cornea –or make it yer lock screen.

via Austin Kleon

Laylo is the email list/ messaging product we’ve all been waiting for. Look forward to rebuilding our list. The cross platform integration and fan-facing no-hassle interface is great. Bonus points: VP Stephanie was hilarious.

Amazon has a lot training and info, and it seems very worth the time to dig into their Artist tools. Making it up a bit here, but if you are doing anything that appeals to bit of an older demo, this may be a good way into a world and audience that’s not totally overworked. The team seems pretty small and very helpful.

Also honorable mention to Mike Warner who is one of the good guys. Need to read his book again.

Reminder to self and everyone else: you need to read, digest, and own everything Spotify has to offer artists.

And You Tube’s new organized artist site is much improved and easy to understand. Everybody on earth uses YouTube daily, so time spent here is worth every minute you can give it. Like, maybe instead of over-planning your crappy tour …

IN CONCLUSION, old rules apply. It does not exist if it’s not on your calendar.



As a writer, Sting says you need to give him something every 8 bars, all while staying in a pretty typical song form.

And I can confirm, after 100’s of songs written, thousands of very slow hours logged @ various recording equipments/ DAWs, and A LOT of listening, all agreed.

Make life easy; start with a completely standard, run-of-the-mill song form, and go from there.

Many youthful Instagram influencers with a course or membership to sell will tell you that up-front hooks that are Tik Tok-able are the thing.

But theirs has always been the thing. Also known as intros. This is corporate America enlisting the masses to no longer sell songs but portions of songs. Nothing new to see here.

Exploiting a different part of the song or part of it instead of the whole. Again nothing new to see here. This is the way things have always been. Unleash songs out to the world at your peril. But the alternative is keeping them, which never does you too much good. Art in a vacuum is just—I’m not sure what.

These are the rules: Do your thing. Keep it interesting. Learn from the best. Be very careful who you listen too. All of everything is an influence. Stay away from garbage.


A lot of musicians are now out pushing non-music almost-services, many thru some sort of subscription. A lot more of them are making way less music. Maybe touring is the worst and like to work from home too.

YouTube and Instagram is ready-to-go with jr Svengali’s ready teach you how they got to where there are, this destination-place is never really identified or explained. I think they are mostly professional googlers.

Come on, who among us has not tried with some desperation to rationalize or legitimize time on screens?

I’ve signed up. I’ve taken classes with the masters. It all just got in the way of making music; of writing, and rewriting, and editing, and all the other horrible things I simultaneously love and hate to do.

Today I read an email from and artist who was selling future “content.” Seriously.

Join now for “content.”

Try harder!

Next he’ll be interviewing YouTubers. Let his low be a lesson. Don’t watch. Get back to creating your own content (Good grief.).

Neil Gaiman said it best when it comes to writing (sub your thing here). When it’s time to write he gives himself 2 options: write or do nothing. Like “not anything.”

So, quit shopping and make something.

And don’t be boring.


More improvisation with the Elektron Model machines and terrible iMovie filters.

Made for Cuckoo’s Jamuary contests. Basically he throws out an idea and you have a day to come up with a track. So, you get what you get and cross your fingers.

It’s been a long time since I’ve made instrumentals that were non-ambient, and I’ve been enjoying it.

The Kidd is almost back. Give me 5 or 6 more songs…

Look at those creepy hands!