Sometimes we get stuck. We just hit a wall and need something to break us out. In those cases, I love to use randomization and generative music techniques. I like to think of it as using the machine as a collaborator.
I took a section of my Fast Songwriting course on Generative Music and posted it for free below. I wanted to share some of the ideas I use to speed up my production and come up with ideas.
Here is the introduction video:
What is Generative Music?
Generative music describes music that is ever-different and changing, and that is created by a system. In other words, it is using a machine with set parameters to generate new music instead of writing it from scratch. With Ableton Live I generally look at using randomization with MIDI and devices to generate new musical ideas.
Don’t get me wrong, articles and videos are great, but that is only one way of learning. Over the years I have picked up a lot from different books on music production. A well written book can let you take the information in at your speed and can unpack some big concepts. I believe these books will greatly help your music, creativity, and life.
The Daily Adventures of Mixerman
I started with this book because it is a hell fun read. I was just so captivated by this story and the characters. It also gives you a very interesting look at the life of a mixing engineer. The book is basically a diary of Mixerman, an engineer. I am not sure if it is 100% true to actual events, but it is definitely a fun read and has some great insights in the industry.
This book has some foundational wisdom for anyone that wants to have a good life. I have found that having these habits as a musician has greatly lowered my stress, made me more effective, and a better person. This is a highly suggested book.
There is our love of creativity and music, and then there is business. For years I have struggled with a deep desire to not want to worry about the business side of things. This year I have overcome that and a lot has shifted for the better. In this video I share how I have overcome some big hurdles around being a successful artist, and how I have more potential as an artist by equally working on the business side of things.
In the last 3 months I have had a lot of people approach me about collaboration. I have been processing what that might mean, how to respectfully tell them no, and understanding the subtleties of the interaction.
I was inspired to put together this video around my process. I hope to inspire a respectful and vibrant creative community, even by saying no.
If you have a story of saying no, or being slighted in a collaboration please feel free to share the story in the comments bellow. Love to hear the ideas and thoughts from the community on this.
I really enjoy discussing art, music, life, creativity, and personal experience. There is so much to talk about and be inspired by. I feel honored that I was able to share these thoughts on the Muse Podcast. Here is an excerpt from their site for the broadcast:
“We honor the value of giving full presence and 100% authenticity in creative work at all times. Continuing to move through the hurdles and challenges as we stay focused and in alignment with the frequency of inspiration. Maintaining a solution orientated way of thinking.”
You can stream the who broadcast below. My part of the broadcast starts at about 9 minutes in, after the astrology opening.
Check Out Motivation Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Muse Broadcast on BlogTalkRadio
Through the last decade of being an artist I have learned a lot around what it takes to succeed. For me the key is recognizing what my goals are, and being true to my aspirations. If I want to be a professional musician, then I need to dedicate myself to that path. Go big or go home has been my motto. Below is a video that shares my thoughts and how I have reframed this for myself.
Being a creative person has its hidden dangers. Being outward and public with it adds a whole new level of complexity. How do you present your music? What will people think of it? All that stuff bubbles up to the surface. Of late, I have been dealing with having “haters”. People that look down at me for one reason or another.
I wanted to share the story of how I perceived it and what I learned from it. I also found a way that I can personally change that story in myself.
This video is also the start of a new project. I created a new Youtube Channel to share my process as an artist. It’s about the creative process and the lessons I have learned on this path. I wanted to separate it from my more technique oriented videos at my Subaqueous Channel. If you want to see more videos like this, please subscribe.
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.
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.