Lockjaw .. Pro-Tips

RUSSLA

Technique
VIP Junglist
Joined
May 23, 2008
Location
BH1
If haven't liked Lockjaw's Facebook page yet I'd highly recommend it! He regularly posts sick tips aimed at all levels of producer.

https://www.facebook.com/lockjawdnb/

Here's his latest few posts:
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Finishing projects is one of the most important things you can do. If you don't finish it, delete it.

It doesn't even matter if you've fallen out of love or dislike the project any more or if it torments you at night; in fact, this might be even more reason to finish those projects you've started but haven't finished.

Finishing a project and seeing it through to completion rewards you in a few ways. It enforces discipline, it forces you to develop a methodology and personal techniques for producing that you repeat and allows you to close the book on (and thus, learn more effectively from) a troublesome project or a project where you tried something new. Not to mention, the clutter of unfinished projects does nothing to help your mental state and organisation.

Many people bemoan the process of finishing tunes; they can't find the ways to do it or they're unsure if a piece is worth finishing or they're unsure of when a piece is done. Well, here's a definition that you can aim to fulfill that signifies a tune is "done".

1. A tune/project is done (ie. requires no more work) when it is fully arranged and functional from a compositional view. If it were written by someone else you would not, at this point question any points of its arrangement or composition; it sounds like a finished piece of music.

2. You are physically incapable of and unable to know how to improve any part of it (bar deleting and re-writing the whole thing, which I don't usually recommend) given a reasonable time-frame (ie. not a decade). You have gone through the project with a fine-tooth comb and have reached the boundaries of your current production knowledge (at this point in time) in bettering it.

I believe these two points, in a nutshell, give you a good idea of when something is done. For me, I know a tune is done when I've put in a satisfactory amount of effort and I also cannot think of how to improve it. If you've reached this point, you should know inside that you've done all you can and the project's final task is to be finalised. Render it out, upload it somewhere, show a friend, whatever, but after this, you shouldn't feel the need to re-open it. Start something new and repeat the process. A few months or years from now, you'll listen to it again and I can guarantee you'll be at least mildly surprised at the effort you put in that you can hear in the tune. You'll hear the flaws, primitive production value and maybe even cringe at it but you'll be proud that you started something, finished it, and moved on with the increased knowledge and skill you gained from the process of finishing the tune. It's the process of finishing which is as, if not more important than the tune itself.

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Producing a tune is like carving a statue.

I don't know how other people go about producing music from square 0 to square 100 but the way I do it is like this...

Imagine you are Michelangelo about to carve David from a huge block of stone. You start off with a huge pillar of blank stone. This is like your blank project.

First, you chisel away big chunks of the stone and get a rough shape of David going. This is you at your PC coming up with big, simple ideas and basic arrangements for your tune.

Next, you start chipping off smaller bits of stone and making David look more and more like a human. In our producing analogy, this is you fleshing out your arrangement, designing sounds with more depth and bringing some personality and vibe to your tune.

Now, after a chipping away at David for a few weeks or months, he looks basically like a normal person from afar but up close, there are some annoying imperfections and things to be cleaned up. In music, your tune is now done; it would work in a club but upon closer inspection, there are details missing and it still sounds a touch copy-paste.

Finally, you bust out the fine sandpaper and start working on David, smoothing a touch here and sanding down a little there to bring his level of realism to full. You come back every day and repeat this process until all the creases are ironed out. At your PC, you come back each day and listen to your tune and EQ a dB out here, raise this track volume a little there and day by day, the creases in the tune get smoothed out to perfection.

Now, after months and months of detailing and re-analysing and painstaking attention to detail, David is unveiled as a marvel of human creative endeavor to the world. Back in the modern day, after weeks and months of careful EQing, your tune is unveiled to the internet, receives a grand total of 183 SoundCloud plays and you delete the folder and start a new project.

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Take care of your transients or they'll take care of you.

When you're layering drum hits and constructing your beats, make sure to pay attention to the transients of your hits.

Sometimes, hi hats or other percussion that lands on the kick and snare can obscure or screw up the transients so make sure to prioritise the transients you need the most.

Additionally, you can use the track delay function of your DAW to nudge tracks forward or back by milliseconds. This relates to the previous point because if you have a cowbell or something landing on your snare and ruining the punchiness of your snare, you can shift the cowbell by a couple milliseconds back or forth to let the snare come through properly.

You get the idea; use your ears to make sure all your drum hits sound good and shift them a little if you need to.



Hope this helps someone :)
 

Polymer

Active Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2016
Location
London
Cheers for the link, very useful :2thumbs:

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Neural Tech

Nuskool
VIP Junglist
Joined
Jul 31, 2009
Great post from Lockjaw. This isn't news to me, as I've been at this for quite some time, but he laid it out in an extremely well written post. I'm sure this will help a lot of Noob Producers. I have the same advice for folks, but unfortunately I don't follow my own advice, and thusly, have tons of old unfinished Projects.

Sage post!
 

RUSSLA

Technique
VIP Junglist
Joined
May 23, 2008
Location
BH1
Pro-tip: Here's some tips for getting out of "8-bar loop syndrome" since y'all asked me about it the other day...

- Come up with at least a good kick, snare, hats and main bass or synth riff before declaring that you have a good 8-bar loop.

- Try to develop a "B section" to your loop. Take the same stuff in your loop but change the riff around, change the pattern, make a similar but different loop. This can now be a different section of your tune, like a call and response bit.

- Work on an intro. Use elements from your loop that are hinted at in the intro. Use the vibe of the drop loop to come up with a contrary or compatible vibe for the intro. Making an intro will often change your ideas about your first loop/drop.

- Listen to the loop outside of the studio. Bounce it out to 16 or 32 bars, spend 30 seconds making a small variation in the second 16 bars (add a hi hat or shaker or slightly modify the bass) and then go for a walk or a drive and listen to it, there's nothing better for getting a different perspective for it than listening to it out of the studio.

- Rip off or attempt to copy something you like. Obviously don't go and spend 6 weeks re-creating Diplodocus but try take a sound or rhythm or idea you like from another tune, try and replicate it in a synth of your own and soon enough you'll be on your way to something totally unique and vibey.

- Just fucking grind it out, quit your moaning and sit there and force yourself by pure willpower to keep fiddling and turning knobs until you come up with some shit that sounds cool and that you can expand on.

Ok.
 

Helical

New Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2018
@logikz New to this website yeah, been in production a while but was in a rough spot in my life so was unable to do anything for a few years, but now diving head first back into it.
 

Splinterdnb

Splinter
Joined
Aug 25, 2018
Location
Ashford
'Brute' is the vocative case where 'Brutus' is the nominative, so to answer your question, yes.
(Plural would be 'Bruti', even)
Doesn't take away the fact Julius was being shanked like a rabid dog at the time so he could have been talking gibberish?
Rumours have it he was even saying this in Greek..

Regardless, you okay man? Been a while :)
 

logikz

I Am Not The King
Joined
Feb 8, 2002
Location
www.easternpromiseaudio.com
'Brute' is the vocative case where 'Brutus' is the nominative, so to answer your question, yes.
(Plural would be 'Bruti', even)
Doesn't take away the fact Julius was being shanked like a rabid dog at the time so he could have been talking gibberish?
Rumours have it he was even saying this in Greek..

Regardless, you okay man? Been a while :)

Billy? I thought I recognised the name. My soundcard is busted, it's the damndest thing. How are you? And since when do you speak ancient Greek? That's rather unusual, normally you are fluent in noob
 

Splinterdnb

Splinter
Joined
Aug 25, 2018
Location
Ashford
I'm fluent in noob as I am forced to descend to the commoner's level on a daily basis.
Ancient Greek and Latin is mandatory in a Dutch gymnasium (and no, I don't mean a school for naked exercise)
I'm good man, moved to the UK 3.5 yrs ago. Job and everything! Who would've guessed.
Been full time producing again since start this year as well.
Back in the game!
Where abouts are you then? Did I hear that correct?
 

logikz

I Am Not The King
Joined
Feb 8, 2002
Location
www.easternpromiseaudio.com
I'm fluent in noob as I am forced to descend to the commoner's level on a daily basis.
Ancient Greek and Latin is mandatory in a Dutch gymnasium (and no, I don't mean a school for naked exercise)
I'm good man, moved to the UK 3.5 yrs ago. Job and everything! Who would've guessed.
Been full time producing again since start this year as well.
Back in the game!
Where abouts are you then? Did I hear that correct?

Are you the only one of the guys who went to that level of schooling? Why are you the only one who speaks ancient Greek? Phuture-T barely speaks Dutch but that's a bad example.

Think I don't know a noob when I see one.
You're a born noob. Born and bred. Dad was a noob, mom was a noob, guess what you are. Also you're in a naked exercise school, don't deny it.

Good stuff buddy, getting back into producing again. I'm working on it too, but my soundcard just died. We're having an intelligent dnb compo, deadline at the end of the month, you should check it out, it's good with a challenge to get back into it, but the soundcard thing could have came at a better time.
It's fked up man.
Intelligent dnb is difficult enough to write as it is, so far I've managed to get the strings and pads up, and tried my hand at a tambourine but I wouldn't claim to have managed much else. It's slow man, I am so rusty.
How's work man? Also, link me some new tunes, I'd like to hear it.
 

Helical

New Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2018
Alright, cool. I'm doing the same, feels good to be back in the studio, finally. It's slow, I'm rusty as hell, but it feels good.
Yeah coming back is the best but the wrost. Feel like I've missed a lot, but with enough passion I'll jump back into it, am looking forward to the challenge
 
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