Get Epic Songwriting Ideas Fast

Sometimes a track just spills out of you and other times it is an epic battle equaled to the fight on the mountains of Mordor.  Through the years I have figured out some techniques to get me out of those ruts. Once and a while you just need a  little creative nudge to finish that idea or come up with a new one.

One technique that has helped me a lot, I call the title question. The idea is you start with a title and start exploring questions and answers that it envokes. I know… seems cheesy. Well, it is but it works.

1. Start with the track title.  Usually, when I start a track the title is the last thing on my mind. I usually don’t even have the name until I send it out for mastering. But when I am lost on ideas to get a track started, this technique is a lifesaver. One of the best ways to come up with an idea is to start with an action. Like running, fighting, breaking, and so on. Then add something else to give it context, and you have an evocative name.

2. Start to question the title.  Now that you have a title, start asking yourself what it might mean. Make a list of questions you might ask to unlock the meaning of the title. Things like: When did this happen? Who was there? How does it make me feel? What will happen next? Try to get at least 3 questions, but 4-5 is better.

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Song Structure in Electronic Music and Dubstep

Developing a song is more than just the pieces placed together. It’s about creating a fluid story. In this article, I am going to go over how to arrange your track and getting a solid song structure for your music.

The Building Blocks of an Arrangement:

To start, let’s go over the parts that make up an arrangement. There are many different terms, depending on the style of music. For our purposes, we will be looking at these basic terms and then applying them to the electronic music arrangement:

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By |2019-01-05T12:59:59+00:00December 26th, 2018|Music Theory, Producers Blog|40 Comments

Making Meditation Music and Binaural Beats

Binaural beats have greatly affected my life. Not only that, but they were the reason I became an electronic musician.In a Meta full circle, I am excited to release this online course on Binaural Beats. It dives deep into Binarual Beats, Isochronic Tones, Frequencies, and more. Been years in the making, and honored to finally release it.

Fifteen years ago I got into being a psychonaut. It was a strange and wild point of my life. I was doing dream experiments, binaural beats, and exploring consciousness.

That time greatly shaped who I am today. In a strange full circle, I have been revisiting those experiments the last few years. I have been drawn back into my love of Binaural Beats and how to dial in your consciousness.

After a lot of discovery and work, I have created this online course on how to make your own binaural beats and using sound to affect consciousness. It feels pretty amazing to have this thread through my life and find a new way to help others on their own journey. Here is a trailer video for the course:

If you are interested in learning more on how you can affect consciousness with sound, then check out my online course on making binaural beats. 

 

Learn More About The Course

Making a track from Loops – Fast Future Bass

Using loops isn’t cheating! It is a great way to come up with new ideas, especially if you are feeling stuck.  I think the key is to quickly start changing the sounds and use it as a springboard to create a whole new sound. Making a track from Loops can speed up your production and give you ideas to work with quicky.

I made this video to check out Loopcloud by Loopmasters and how you can use it in your production. I walk you through using Future Bass loops with Loopcloud to speed up making a sketch and composition ideas in Ableton Live.

Coupon code to get 50% off Samples and Loops: SUBAQUEOUS50 https://www.loopmasters.com/ Use at Checkout

 

By |2019-01-05T13:45:26+00:00March 26th, 2018|Ableton, Music Theory, Producers Blog|1 Comment

Understanding LUFS Standards for Mastering

OK… this is going to be heady.

I tell musicians this all the time. Mastering is not music. Mastering is more of a technical science then it is a musical expression. Yes, there is an art to it, but you have to understand a lot of basics on how we perceive sound and different loudness standards.  If you want to be a musician, you might skip this and get a mastering engineer. (Shameful plug… I do Mastering) If you are interested in learning the art of mastering, continue on my brave friends.

Back in the wild days of the internet (Are they done? Bitcoin anyone?), many streaming services arose. At the same time, there were loudness wars ramping up on Tv and video streaming. Along the way, we had a massive range of loudness per platform. If you had your headphones in and listened to a song on iTunes, and then flipped to Youtube you might hear a huge difference. Or worse, TV and commercials. So… some really smart people made a standard of tracking loudness. There are two main ones LUFS and LKFS.  Now… I know some nerd out there will give me a talking to, but LUFS and LKFS are in practice the same thing.

(Read more on the Loudness War with this Guest Article)

This standard helped make volumes of songs or video be pretty close to each other. It has helped a lot in ending the loudness wars. But… The different streaming services have different loudness standards and algorithms to take measurements and apply the normalization.  When mastering our songs we want to keep the LUFS range to about the final range by that particular streaming service. Otherwise, if we go over then the service might lower the volume to get the LUFS they have decided to keep as a standard.

 

Below is a graph of the different streaming services and the LUFS standard they use.

 

Note: There isn’t anything on Soundcloud? That is because as of now (Jan. 2018) there is no loudness standard for Soundcloud. That means the loudness wars are alive and well there.

 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME?

Well, this means a few important things.

  1. If you are thinking of self-mastering and don’t understand LUFS, consider learning it or getting a Mastering Engineer.
  2. You might want to have a different master sent to the different services. At the very least a different master for YouTube than for iTunes.

I also like to remind engineers of the art of mastering as well.  The rule of thumb has been the same since the 90s, make it as loud as possible as long as it still sounds good. You want to make it loud, but not distort the sound.

Having said this, it makes sense to know the LUFS standard of the platform you are releasing on. There is no reason to push the sound louder and degrade the sound further if the platform you are releasing on is going to lower it anyways, resulting in the same volume and worse quality. You want to balance the art of making it sound good with the science of the standard of each platform.

KNOWING IS HALF THE BATTLE

There you go… Keep this in mind the next time you are mastering tracks and wonder what LUFS to set the track at.  If you’re interested in learning more about mastering, I teach 1-on-1 classes and we can dive into the subject. Or if you just looking for a mastering / mixing engineer, hit me up.  

Mixing Electronic Music? Don’t Make These 2 Vital Compression Mistakes

I was chatting with Rob Mayzes the other day about compression. Rob is a freelance mixer, musician, and educator. He has helped thousands of home studio owners produce better music and mixes through his website Musician on a Mission. After chatting a while I asked him to write a guest article on Compression techniques for Electronic Music. Here is his article. Love some of the ideas and reframing he shares:


If you find yourself applying compression because you feel you should, stop what you are doing. It took me a long time to truly understand compression. At first, I didn’t quite understand how it worked. But it didn’t take long to get to grips with the various parameters… Yet once I understood how compression worked, a new question came up.

Why do I need compression, and when should I use it?

I have spent 12 years mastering the use of compression and taught over half a million people about mixing in the process. Along the way, I have noticed one vital mistake pop up time and time again…

The assumption that the use of compression is the same in all genres.

It simply isn’t.

You’re about to learn why compression can make your electronic music sound far worse if used incorrectly… and what you should be doing instead.

Using Compression in Electronic Music

For most genres, compression is vital. After the volume fader and EQ, it’s one of your most useful tools.But most genres doesn’t mean ALL genres. In electronic music, this isn’t the case. You may have been misled by mixing tutorials that refer to genres with more acoustic elements, like rock music. In genres that contain a lot of acoustic instrument, compression is an absolute necessity. (more…)

By |2019-01-05T13:00:21+00:00September 14th, 2017|Music Theory, Producers Blog|1 Comment