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What I learned in 1 year of making music

Andrew Milner

Campfire Attention Holder
  • Nov 11, 2019
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    So this is going to be a long thread but bear with me, it's at least going to be a fun read if nothing more :)).

    So at the beginning of 2021, I decided to fully focus on making music. And a year or so later, I figured it's a good checkpoint to share some of the things I've learned as I make somewhat of a comeback here:
    • There are no shortcuts to sounding good - in the beginning, I was kinda lazy and focused on the results instead of the process; as a result, I used a lot of MIDI in places I shouldn't have, and while it sounded...good, it didn't sound natural; the only way to truly sound good is to record those damn guitars and only use MIDI in places where it could still work nicely (piano, strings, bass, drums); but you gotta make sure you humanize those notes; I learned that the hard way
    • What you want to write and sing may be wildly different than what you CAN write and sing - like many around here, I like Avenged Sevenfold, a lot; probably wouldn't be here if I didn't; and as much as I want to sing like M Shadows, at least at this moment in time, I can't; my voice is that of a baritone, which tends to sound better in the lower register (think Bono of U2, Robbie Williams, Ed Sheeran, Ghost, sort of anyway, etc. ); and while I can reach high notes through training, it's a bit difficult to make my voice sound as full without recording takes at lower octaves to add fullness to those damn lyrics :))
    • You cannot work around double-tracking your rhythm guitars - this is non-negotiable; I tried everything imaginable; you can't skip this step if you want your guitars to sound good
    • Music production is probably more important than what you write - this one's self-explanatory, but if your song sounds like a turd, no one's going to listen to it; not even you; music production is also a separate job on its own; and you gotta learn how to do it
    • The process is more important than the result - I hate that I have to agree with this one, I really do, but if you don't enjoy the process of recording your songs and producing them, it's going to make things a lot harder; it becomes easier to manage because, if you keep going and improving, you will start seeing amazing results from one song to the next
    • You need people to collab with - I hereby NOT summon someone from this lovely school that has managed to transform me from a wannabe musician to someone that can make actual full-fledged songs sound decent and figure out where they need improving; that student is mine, I'm keeping him :)) ; I mean, if he sees this and replies, that's on him, but I'm still keeping him \s; seriously though, another set of ears will help immensely;
    • Keep your ego in check - being proud of what you do is crucial, but don't let ego get in the way of allowing outside feedback that would help improve your craft; everybody deals with this one, me included, and it's a lot of work to keep it in check
    • People will judge the shit out of you - people will say you should get a real job and won't support you until it's cool to do so; never forget those who were at your side when you were no one (I hereby NOT summon another member from this community);
    • Social media is a cesspool that you must use in some form or another - I hate social media a lot, but it's honestly one of the few ways I can actually get people I don't know to listen to my stuff so...yeah
    • Last but not least, you will inevitably sound like other bands - another non negotiable one, sorry; you can use that as help to figure out which fans you could target in your social media stuff though
     

    Lindsey

    Local Dive Bar Favorite
  • Nov 16, 2019
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    ''There are no shortcuts to sounding good'' Shite

    That was a nice read, I'm glad you shared it.

    Especially that last one ''Last but not least, you will inevitably sound like other bands ''
    I used to hate it when I played something I thought was my own thing just to find out it was already an existing song. But now I've been playing for longer I can hear similarities in the style. The more you learn the more you'll be inspired by the songs you play. At first you may ''copy'' things, eventually it will be your own.
     

    Andrew Milner

    Campfire Attention Holder
  • Nov 11, 2019
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    ''There are no shortcuts to sounding good'' Shite

    That was a nice read, I'm glad you shared it.

    Especially that last one ''Last but not least, you will inevitably sound like other bands ''
    I used to hate it when I played something I thought was my own thing just to find out it was already an existing song. But now I've been playing for longer I can hear similarities in the style. The more you learn the more you'll be inspired by the songs you play. At first you may ''copy'' things, eventually it will be your own.

    Sorry about the first one...better to remove the bandaid fast rather than slow :LOL:.

    And yeah, you nailed it...it's inspiration. I mean, you may end up accidentally almost rewriting certain songs, but so long as they're just that little smidge different, you're good to go. One of the hardest things though is figuring out who you are as a musician. My music ends up having elements from Beethoven, Mozart, Queen, U2, Blink-182, Bon Jovi, Metallica, A7X, etc. ... I honestly just write whatever comes to mind and go from there :LOL:.
     
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    Radu-Cristian Perde

    Sold-out Crowd Surfer
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  • Nov 11, 2019
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    Last but not least, you will inevitably sound like other bands - another non negotiable one, sorry; you can use that as help to figure out which fans you could target in your social media stuff though
    While I agree on your post overall, this part stuck out to me the most because this is so true. And it's not even limited to just rock or metal music but music as a general whole. My favorite example is John Williams. Everyone agrees that he's a genius writer and wrote some of the best soundtracks EVER. But damn it, it really shows that he's influenced a lot by Tchaikovsky. And I'm not saying that trying to reduce his work, on the contrary. He let that influence be a part of him and his approach to music and then proceeded to add his own touch.

    In the end, I think it's perfectly fine to sound like your inspirations or whatnot. Just don't forget to add that little extra touch that makes it ''you'' and then proceed from there!

    Great post my dude, thanks for sharing!
     
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