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.

-ed

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.

-ed

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.

-ed

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

If you’ve been following along at all, and for personal ego purposes I’ll pretend you have, I’ve been dealing with the problem of how to get a number of back-logged songs recorded and out efficiently and as cleverly as possible.

Had you ever told me there would be problem of too many songs, I would have maybe believed it but could not have envisioned it. Believed it? Yes. Couldn’t have envisioned the path.

Maybe you don’t know how to get-doing it either, in need a spark or a push. This series will be for you.

So, as much for me as it is for anyone else, we’re going to go back and map it all out. And, hopefully, continue to document the process in blog (not video) form.

We’re really going to go into into the why rather than review gear, which seems to be what everything turns in to these days. So this is basically a long, ongoing story. Incredibly boring to some, enlightening to others, and interesting and affirming to a small, specific crowd. Not for everybody, but really for somebody. Smallest possible audience theory at work here!

And speaking of, my why of doing all of this to identify my small, specific crowd. You are out there. I know you are! I want you to listen to the music I make.

The Beginning:
The real spark came with a special purpose combined with some divine timing, which was a random camp reunion lunch of all things. Put simply: I met a former camper who was in a song writing group at the same time I was going deep into Ableton Live 9.

A lucky perfect storm, yes, but I was paying enough attention to life at the time to know it was kind of now or never. Some direction with perfect timing.

You may be thinking to yourself that mid 40’s is well past now-or-never, but I do not think it’s ever too late. If you’ve got it you’ll always have it. Doesn’t mean you can’t lose your way, but if it’s in there, menage to come out, it’ll be there waiting for you. I feel like I have science to back this up.

Series entry #2 is the Why of Ableton over the other DAW’s.

PS:
There has to be some gear! Early, primary tools were from Roland, Moog, M-Audio, Arturia, Ableton Live, Sound On Sound magazine, and a lot-lot of YouTube. [system1, various boutiques, oxygen-25, minituar, Analog Lab]