Making any sort of impact through music requires an insane amount of work, as well as dedication, commitment, and inward-looking. From learning an instrument and writing songs to recording albums, booking shows, and embarking on tours, nothing good in music ever happens without a work ethic. Sure, there are times when inspiration for a song appears out of nowhere without effort or planning, but most momentum in music is generated by tedious non-musical work: writing emails, sticking to a regular rehearsal schedule, setting time aside each day to write music and play your instrument.
Obviously, you always hope to just show up and the magic will take over, and before you know it, you’re going platinum. Sure, spontaneous magic can definitely happen in the recording studio — but in my experience, it’s almost always facilitated by being above-and-beyond prepared for what you’re going to do.
As for listening, I love heavy grooves, but I also love music with a huge sound and epic quality, which could be anything from a John Williams film score to Ella Fitzgerald singing with a bombastic big band, to massive EDM and other electronic tracks—I think they have more in common aurally than most might realize.
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Try to be creative with your promotions. The perfect solution or combination of marketing strategies to get fans out to a show doesn’t exist, so don’t be afraid to try out innovative ideas, even if they might fail. You’ll learn from what goes wrong and increase your understanding of what it takes to put on a successful show in your music market.
So, just embrace what makes you unique as a guitar player. Follow your ear in the studio. If you have a preference for darker tones when playing the riffs or a solo you wrote, follow through on that. Experiment with your tone by trying pedals and amps that are unique to you, rather than using all the signature equipment of your favorite guitarists.
+ Learn the ins and outs of pro songwriting with Soundfly’s variety of mentored online courses, such as The New Songwriter’s Workshop, Songwriting for Producers, and Unlocking the Emotional Power of Chords.
The theremin is an instrument invented by Léon Theremin (Lev Sergeyevich Termen in Russian) in 1919. It has two metal antennae, and you play it not by touching it, but by moving your hands in the air between the antennae to control both the pitch and volume of the sound produced. We’ve written about the instrument in a past article, so head here to learn a bit more if you’re interested.
Secondly, be careful not to over-compress any of your tracks and, in particular, not to add heavy compression, limiting, or maximizing plug-ins on your master output channel. Leave the master compression adjustments for your mastering engineer, just like Joe Lambert says in the above video. Make sure to set all your volume faders to keep everything “under the red” so you avoid any clipping distortion.
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+ Learn the nuances of producing beats, arranging tracks, and creative sampling, drawing on the rich history and influence of hip-hop in Soundfly’s popular mentored online course, The Art of Hip-Hop Production.
To isolate and mix Electronic Drum Kit percussion parts, you’ll need to select kits listed under the Drum Machine section. To isolate and mix organic Drum Kit percussion parts, choose from any of the kits listed under the Producer Kits section. In theory, you could build drum parts individually, one track at a time, using the combined kit instruments, but this method will take far more time and will be much harder to compose intuitively through.
It’s been a crazy journey, and the indie touring scene can be both amazing and awful. Stressing out about your next meal, tank of gas, or whether you’re gonna get kicked out of that Walmart parking lot is not always fun. But we’ve had some good times too, so here are a few ways to have more fun on tour (even if your livelihood doesn’t depend on it!).
Instructed by multi-instrumentalist, engineer, and educator Will Marshall, this mentored online course will also help you develop workflow strategies and time (and space) management skills so you’re not wasting valuable time and resources working in your home studio.
“At the end of the day, being able to throw your hands up and laugh when a project goes horribly awry, or bringing an attitude of openness and humor onstage, can make space for very magical things to happen out of the blue, and that’s what I love most of all.