I have no idea what to do

How to do this, that and the other. Share, learn, teach. How did X do that? How can I sound like Y?
35 posts since 13 Jul, 2019

Post Mon Oct 04, 2021 8:16 am

Hey guys, I'm a hobbyist enjoying music production. However, I feel sort of lost and don't know what to do. It feels even more terrible because I can't push myself to keep making stuff, and I don't even produce that often. I used to like this but I feel like I'm not improving and the thought of making better music pressures me. It's been 2 years and I still feel so lacking. I keep writing 4 bar loops, go back to listen, think it's bad, and abandon it. I play piano and know music theory; I have samples; I have decent plugins; but for some reason I'm just stuck and don't know what to make. What should I try to do? I do have soundcloud so maybe I'll stick it below if that helps. Thank you!


213 posts since 31 Aug, 2020

Post Mon Oct 04, 2021 8:33 am

A nice trick is to listen to your very old tracks and compare with what you do now. You can be shocked and realize you actually improve all the time, you just don't know it

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1136 posts since 8 Feb, 2013 from Switzerland

Post Mon Oct 04, 2021 8:45 am

Why do you avoid writing a melody to each of your songs? THE thing that's missing. Your backing tracks sound pretty good in my ears. :phones:

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7562 posts since 7 Sep, 2006 from Roseville, CA

Post Mon Oct 04, 2021 8:52 am

Well, first off, you have some very cool tracks - I really dig Midnight in the 80s, Moody, and Tropic!

Just about everybody who's got a creative passion with eventually go through creative ruts where you just lose inspiration. Sometimes the best thing to do is to just take that time to focus on something else until the creativity comes back. Trying to force it may or may not work, but probably requires some self-examination and figuring out how, why, and when you lost the inspiration and try to correct it. Maybe your musical influences changed, maybe it was your daily routine, other priorities, stress, fatigue, etc. Regardless, speaking from experience (I'm just coming out of the worst musical rut of my life), there's no easy fix, but it will usually come back at some point.

As for loop-itis, sometimes the best thing to do is to just finish it. One thing you can do is borrow an arrangement from another similar reference track. For example, 8 bars of intro with an atmospheric vibe on the tonic chord, 16 bars of the main theme with drum buildups and exotic percussion, 16 bars of a secondary theme, etc. Use your own musical ideas derived from your 4-bar loop, but use the reference track as a framework/road map and just make it work. Yes, it will probably feel a little formulaic, but hopefully the momentum you gain will be enough to finish it and you can always look for ways to switch up the arrangement along the way.

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addled muppet weed
88177 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Mon Oct 04, 2021 8:59 am

half the time i have no idea what im doing either.
the other half im sleeping

527 posts since 7 Oct, 2005

Post Mon Oct 04, 2021 9:02 am

I'll be honest with you. Your music isn't bad at all, it sounds good, there are beautiful melodies in it, good mood. It's just... ordinary. Nothing memorable. I don't know if I would want to listen to it again. But it isn't bad, absolutely. Nothing to feel ashamed. Very good work.

I think (and hope) you are searching for something new. This is very good. It takes time.

Don't you like what you are doing? Make it better. Why is it bad? Be as specific as you can: "This, that and that". In all what we do there is something good and something bad. Both. Even in 4 bar loops. In the reality we live in there aren't (almost?) abolutely bad and absolutely good things. Make good things stronger and keep them, try to get rid of bad things.

When you say "It's bad" you are wrong. "It's not bad but it's not good enough, it could be better. I want more".

But if you have nothing to say it's better to keep silence. Why to hurry up? You don't make money, there is no obligations to you. Listen, try, search...

funky lime
1345 posts since 17 Sep, 2002

Post Mon Oct 04, 2021 12:37 pm

After a brief listen through your SC... your music doesn't sound bad, just a bit "safe." Safe rhythms, safe sounds, safe samples, safe chords.

Maybe that box is too comfy. Some say you are what you eat; maybe you could adjust your musical diet?

1760 posts since 26 Aug, 2012

Post Mon Oct 04, 2021 10:51 pm

You gotsta have music goals otherwise there's no initiative. If you're goal is simply to make music cause its fun it'll be like playing a video game untill it becomes boring. If you have goals you'll figure out what skills you need and what to practice. If you dont, there's no obligation to get better.

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4053 posts since 8 Jul, 2008 from UK

Post Tue Oct 05, 2021 12:01 am

vurt wrote: ↑
Mon Oct 04, 2021 8:59 am
half the time i have no idea what im doing either.
the other half im sleeping
The only time I dont know what I am doing is when I am awake.
"T!ts McGee"

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907 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Tue Oct 05, 2021 12:22 am

My best way to try something different is simply starting in another time signature than 4/4. Try 6/8, 5/4 or 7/4 and you may find that the harmonies and melodies you use now get another life and may even inspire to new and different ones. You could also set divergent principles up for yourself as to instrumentation. We use percussion only and avoid the traditional BD, snare and hat to drive our rhythms. We do not use synths for leads either, but guitar and sample packs. Synths are restricted to bass, subtle pad and effects only. It does end up in a different sound than mainstream electro, whether people like it or not.
Tribe Of HÇ«fuĂ° https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154 "First rule: From one perfect consonance to another perfect consonance one must proceed in contrary or oblique motion." Johann Joseph Fux 1725.

2082 posts since 15 Apr, 2004 from Capital City, UK

Post Tue Oct 05, 2021 1:43 am

You know the rules (of key and time), so break them. eg, bass in one key, chords in another..
Write something deliberately bad.. (this is great game, because, what do _you_ consider 'bad')
Give yourself a time limit, eg 10 minutes to get the basic chord structures down. 10 more minutes to finish!
A lot of your songs are 2-4 mins, try writing something you know won't be a longer than, say 50 seconds. You'll force yourself to get rid of the chaff and should, ideally, be left with only things the music needs.
Introduce other kinds of limits, like, 'only one synth allowed' or 'everything has to be made from one sample', these will take you into a sound-design-ey space, and a lot of the most fun stuff in electronic music is making new noises (which sound like the expected noise..
Deconstruct songs you want to sound like, figure out the bass/chord/melodic space and how they relate to each other. Look at how the writer played-within or skirted-around the rules to keep it interesting.

Most importantly, treat the discovery/learning-how-to-write part like a game, and make your own games up based on where you want to get better.

Passing Bye
3000 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Tue Oct 05, 2021 2:12 am

Have listened to plenty of your tracks, you pretty much make music somebody will throw in their latest You Tube video and music that is offered in some videos with some hot chick thumbnail, few hours compilation or similar, pretty much most popular vanilla music, tropical house, synthwave, future bass, trap, lo-fi and all kind of variations of popular EDM sub genres that are mostly enjoyed by masses.

Music is good and you are good at it, but do you really have your soul wrapped in any of it, is this really what drives you?

Dunno, this is good exercise to become pro beat maker, make a song a day in given genre, be as versatile as possible and all that, but are you aiming at this at all?

What can make music making better, is experiencing it how most listeners will, you have advantage here because most of your music is straight out for You Tube videos, but if you want to broaden your horizons, maybe go out, attend some parties, especially if you like EDM, think Boris Brejcha or Pryda could have positive creative influence on you, change you perception from tropical house into something more driven and interestingly melodic, tropical kinda sounds cheesy a bit tbh, EDM without dance floor aspect is just pop music or background music for videos.

1954 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Post Tue Oct 05, 2021 2:34 am

What music are you listening to for pleasure? What do you like about it?

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2285 posts since 4 May, 2012

Post Tue Oct 05, 2021 4:23 am

Two years is a very short period of time.

50 posts since 27 Sep, 2021

Post Tue Oct 05, 2021 6:07 am

Been there. It's about taking that extra time with each track, concentrating on the textures and how well the individual elements of a beat mesh together, and getting your mix right! I used to have this idea in my head that I should be churning out 5 beats a day or more. Now it's more like 1, or 1 every 3 days, or a week! Basically as long as I need. Because I have a perfectionist's disposition. Don't pressure yourself. Take time. Enjoy each beat.

And don't seek outside validation, because no matter what people tell you, if you are unhappy with a beat, you will stay unhappy. Just do your best, and work hard at improving till you're at a satisfactory baseline from which you can work.

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