After a particularly productive time musically i’m feeling that i’ve found a formula that works well for me. Often students ask about work methodologies and the truth is that there is no guaranteed way that works for everybody; each person needs to find their own ‘way’ To be honest I have found in the past that i would ‘sign off’ a track at too early a stage, possibly due to laziness or more likely down to a lack of enthusiasm after the initial burst of creative energy. This ultimately means that the end result has sometimes not been as good as it should be, a mistake that in these times is something that someone like myself shouldn’t be making! the competition is just too hot out there. Sure there are going to be those rare times when a killer track is knocked out in 4 hours and is all it needs to be but this is RARE indeed. And talking of 4 hours I always find that when i sit down to a new production or remix it’s that initial time that is the most productive for me, when the vibe is there, the excitement of a new track carries things forward but it’s after that when the drop off occurs..
Capturing that initial burst in a WAV file and the reflectiing on it over a number of days is a way that seems to be working for me. Taking the track away from the environment it is made in can help too – I have a small set of PC multimedia speakers that I can plug the ipod into and listen from a totally different perspective. It’s often then that the track will feel like a ‘proper track’ – not just something that I have made. I know that might sound like a mad statement but i’m pretty sure most people who make music still feel too attached to what they make to have an external objective opinion. Taking the track away from the studio and living with it for a few days can work nicely.
I tend to put the track on loop whilst i’m walking, cycling, travelling on a train, whatever, so long as it’s away from the room that it was made in. It’s during these listening sessions that the things that need to be added will appear in my head and i’ll make a strong mental note about what is necessary and then add it the next time I work on the track. When you work on your own motivation is something you have to deal with yourself and pays to manage this well. Do things to help yourself like marking the parts of the sequence where additional work is required in a different colour or use a marker track with instructions to help remind you next time you boot up the sequence.
I’m sure there are other ways of working that are great and if any of you have a way that works well please take some time out and let others know about it here.