Looking for production advice

Lorre

Active Member
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#1
Hey guys

I've been trying to produce on & off for 4 years now. Mostly in periods of 1-2 months before I give up. Although I've been DJ'ing for a steady 1,5y now, I still have the feeling I always want to be on the productive side. I love making sounds, and would love to be able to play some tunes out of my own, long term.

I've been using Reason 4, then upgraded to 5, and still use that. I love the workflow and I am starting to know Thor inside out. I'm also learning to use Reaper now to work with audio, but mostly for mixing & VST purposes. So make tracks in Reason, fine-tune 'em in Reaper.
I've read a bunch of stuff on EQ'ing, compressing, filling the box (reverb, stereo, etc) over the past years & still am. I've no musical background whatsoever (sadly), but am really tempted to pick up music theory throughout my next year of college (seems like I've been in college forever...).

The first problem I'm having issues with is the classic 'stuck in the loop'. I tend to make main parts/drops & then obsess over them to perfect them, to ruin it in the end. This is a phase I have to go through, I think, but it seems I'm stuck there.
Tying together intro's to drops is also pretty hard. I either manage to make one of them sound good, but not together. Usually I split up my project in 2 tracks which I end up not finishing yet again.

I've been thinking of finding a production partner to team up with, but this seems no easy feat. Although DnB is quite popular where I live, there aren't a lot of producers I know of. There's no real 'scene' either where DJ's/producers support eachother etc. Trying to get my more musical into production also didnt work out. 2 friends of mine wanted me to learn them, but they've not 'time' nor 'effort' for it, so I stopped teaching them as sadly it seemed to be a waste of precious production time.

I dont mind spending a few more years to learn the craft, not at all. I love that I'm trying to find my own unique sound. But it would also be pretty motivating to finally finish something. Or maybe 2 things.

Any general advice? Tips, tricks, read, views?

Cheers
 

DjCartel

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#2
The first problem I'm having issues with is the classic 'stuck in the loop'. I tend to make main parts/drops & then obsess over them to perfect them, to ruin it in the end. This is a phase I have to go through, I think, but it seems I'm stuck there.
Whatsup man. Youve kind of answered it yourself. thats your problem. if i were you, when your in a flow, work on getting the vibe going before perfecting individual parts. i often find it hard to make an intro fit a drop or visa versa if i spend too long on one bare for example. Keep it simiple at first, get a couple of sounds that can feature in the intro as well as the drop, play around with the arrangement and go from there. it sounds to me like your too focus too much on the details, get the skeleton first, then add the flesh as they say
 

sam the dnb man

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#3
I have countless projects where I have just an 8 bar loop that I haven't developed. Some are okay, some are shit. It's all about doing the sound design and drum layering before you start writing a tune. Build a library of your own sounds, processed to the best of your ability so that you can use them whenever inspiration strikes.
I need to do this more often tbh.
You'll progress with every project though. If something begins to sound stale because you've listened to it countless times, take a break. Start something fresh.

I often find myself opening old projects, which have gone nowhere that have sounds that work with what I'm currently working on.
 

chz

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#5
We all get stuck in the loop man. It's the nature of the beast. Ive spent countless days really into something then come back the next day and it sounds like wank. What ive learnt is that you should just stick through it and keep on investing time into learning your craft. Just keep on improving and then the tunes you like will get finished eventually.
 

DosLambos

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#6
One thing that helps for me is to limit the number of instruments I'm allowed to use - at least initially. Say, limit yourself to 4 tracks: kick, bass, synth 1, synth 2. I don't allow myself to move on unless I've got a great sound with just this basic combination. IMO, if your track doesn't sound good at its bare minimum, it won't improve with more instruments. Icing doesn't fix a shit cake. This also makes it easier for your intro to flow into your drop, since they share the same underlying synths.
 

Lorre

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#7
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#8
I would suggest you try and lay down the structure before you start writing the music even if it's just empty midi regions. Then write the parts as required starting with the ones you struggle with most. If you are good at writing basslines leave it til the end, it's easier than having to write the parts you struggle while ensuring that they them fit what you already have.

I would also recommend using similar tracks that you are trying to make as reference material for structure. Drag it into you DAW and mark out the sections, Intro, build, drop etc.. And note how the track transitions from what section to another. Then try to do something similar yourself.

Lick-a-pum-pum!
 
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