Producers Blog

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Free 808 Style Tom Instrument Rack

I’ve been loving music that uses 808 style toms. You see this in hip hop, electronic music, which house, and all sorts of music. The 808 style tom sound can be used as a bassline, or an added percussion element.  On of the best examples of this is the track Hazey by Glass Animals:

In my own music production I have been using this instrument. To make things easier I created an instrument rack in live to get the exact sound I am looking for. This video walks through the instrument rack and how I use it. Below the video you can download the instrument. It is by donation / free on gumroad.


Download

By |May 22nd, 2015|Ableton, Free Music Tools, Producers Blog|0 Comments

Building Instrument Racks – Note Release

I absolutely love making instruments in Ableton Live. I love the challenge of coming up with an idea, or turning a sample into a new instrument. There are a few techniques that can help you make a really realistic and dynamic instrument. One of these is playing a sample on Note Release. In other words, if you want to play a different sample when you let go of the note, then you can use Note Release.

Here is a video showing off the technique and why it can be useful in making an instrument.

Steps for creating a Sample that plays on Note Release:

1. Add a new chain for a new instrument that will play on note release. (called Release Chain)
2. Add any sampler, vst, or instrument to that Release Chain.
3. Add a Note Length Midi Device to the Release Chain.
4. Set the Note Length MIDI device to Note Off. (more…)

By |May 12th, 2015|Ableton, Producers Blog|2 Comments

Nepal Instruments – Musicians Helping Nepal

The news of what is happening in Nepal really hit my heart. My thoughts are with the Nepalese people and everyone affected.  As a musician and music producer I wanted to help in the way that I could.

Years back, I was working with Tibetan music for some ambient albums I was working on. On the way I got a lot of recordings from instruments traditionally found in Nepal.  I have now gone back to these recordings and turned them into Ableton Live Instruments. These instruments will be available for By Donation. I set up a new Gumroad account just for this, so all donations will go directly to relief funds to help the people of Nepal.

Donations will go to UUSC organization as well as some organizations on the ground doing direct food and rebuilding projects.  I am working directly with organizations that work to help the people of Nepal.


Download the Pack

I wanted to put this pack togeather to both share the beautiful culture of Nepal, but also give resources to musicians making compilation albums or tracks for sale to help the Nepalese people (like I am working on).
Learn More about the Instruments: (more…)

Creating Tension and Resolution in Music

Getting a good chord progression is one of the foundations of a good track. Understanding the movement in the Circle of Fifths can help you get a really good chord progression. I have written a few articles on the Circle of fifths, but invited Umang Bhat to share his knowledge of some advance techniques.

Enjoy the article on how to spice up your chords and music with the Circle of Fifths. Also make sure you check out Umang’s blog at Guitar Cover.

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Lets Bring Respect to Gigs

We are more than just musicians, we are people. During my last few gigs I had a few instances of the co headliner being rude. This is not the first time this has happened. I wanted to share my insights on how being present, and kind to everyone involved will lead to more success and a better gig.

It’s so easy to say something simple and respectful. Have you ever run into an issue like that? Love to hear any stories you might have of a headliner being rude, or how you changed the situation. Comment below.
By |May 5th, 2015|Creative Process, Producers Blog|1 Comment

Why Teach Ableton Live?

Teaching Ableton Live can be a really rewarding experience. It can not only let you distill your knowledge, but it can help propel your career in a whole new way.

isaac Cotec teaching ableton Live

Here is a list of benefits of teaching Ableton Live:

1. Better Learning Through Teaching

As any teacher will tell you, when you have to teach somebody something you become way more proficient at it.  You have to know the in and outs of the subject so it opens up whole new avenues you might not ever have known about.  Also, because your students ask questions it opens up new learning opportunities for you.

2. Added Income

Teaching has definitely helped me as a musician. It’s helped me turn to a full time musician a lot faster than if I was 100% depending on the gigs. It gives a nice side income to help support any level of musician.

3. Deeper Connections in the Industry

Being a teacher will open a lot of opportunities.  You might find your local community college asking you to teach. There you could run into professors that do art grants, or students that are going to be the next Skrillex or other connections. In the last 7 years I have connected with MIDI controller companies, software developers, schools, festivals, and you name it.

4. Added Bonus to your Booking

Getting booked can be quite hard these days. There is a lot of competition. Anything you can do to stand out will help. I have found offering a workshop has been something that tipped the scale. In some cases it was mine in on a festival that wouldn’t have me to begin with, but after they have me as a teacher they booked me as an act.

Don’t get me wrong, teaching takes a lot of effort, but I think it’s worth it.  There are over 2 million Ablation Live Users out there and new users every day looking to pick it up.

If you are interested in connecting with other Ableton Live Teachers and learning about the industry, then check out the new Facebook group I put together: Teaching Ableton Live and Music Technology

Join the group and share you experience or questions around Teaching Ableton Live.

The Creative Process and Depression

Finding a balance in your creative drive, your friendships, and your life can be quite a task. We can easily get trapped in a spiral of self doubt, overworking ourselves, and can have a hard time breaking out.

This subject has been on my mind a lot of late. I had a friend and fellow producer decided to end his life recently. It really shook me into thinking about how hard the creative process can be sometimes. Especially if we are looking externally for validation of our art. Music has the power of bringing us so much closer to each other, but in the digital age our striving to be heard can also make us feel more distant.

I made this video to help express some of these ideas.

I want to keep a community discussion about this.  If you have ever experienced depression as a musician and struggled with this, please comment below. Even if you have not, I  would love to hear your thoughts.
By |April 20th, 2015|Creative Process, Producers Blog|1 Comment

Join the Club with AfroDJMac

I’ve been a long time fan of AfroDJMac. For years he has been pumping out amazing videos on Ableton Live. He has hundreds of free articles and devices up on his site. I really love his creations. I was fortunate to meet him at the Ableton Live Certification Event we were both at. Really awesome guy that is full of integrity and Ableton genius.

Just the other day AfroDJMac stepped it up another notch. He released a membership side of things for his website. This way you can sign up and get his packs sent to your inbox. When you sign up you also get some amazing packs to start. I am always looking for cool new sounds, so I went ahead and joined the club.

Check out his site and read more about it.  Thanks for continually pushing the boundaries AfroDJMac.

Ableton Live Producer Club

The Gap From Bad to Good Music

There are many instances where a musician will come up to me and be done and out of themselves over their production. They feel it’s just no good they have been working on it for a year or so.  Well, my word of advice is to just stick through with it, and here is why.

A long time ago my friend Joshua Penman, aka Akara, once told me a very wise statement about making music. He said it’s important to know the music always sounds bad until it’s finished. You have to be ok and know that it will never sound as good as anything out there until it’s done. No one writes the best and already the track blows your mind. It takes a while to develop it and go through the process of making it better.

Your creative mastery works in the same way. It is a process of practicing your skills and getting better and better at it. No one is born with super hero music making skills. There is no luck to it, just dedication.

Don’t let your music get you down at first. Don’t let your inner critic tell you, it’s not as good as everyone else’s music. That is a totally normal part of the process. This short video from Ira Glass explains this idea really well.

 

An amazing point that Ira brings up is that when we first get started our taste is more developed than our skills. This is why you think your music might not be very good. You’re just ahead of yourselves. Given time your taste and skills will align and what you want to create, will be at your fingertips.

Remember, it’s a process. The more fun and adventure you can make the process of learning and developing the quicker this part of the process will pass.

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