I set myself a deadline to finish three tracks in three months. In the mental hype of finishing my first track I figured I can easily pull it off. Unfortunately I had forgotten that ”one track” consists of a shitload of smaller processes that have to be taken into account.
Overlooking these smaller processes meant I was doing kind of everything at the same time and eventually lost my focus. It became too easy to enter procrastination mode and say ”OK, I’ll just polish and finalize everything later”. Eventually doubt and boredom took over crippled the project timeline.
This won’t do! If I ever want to finish a project like this I have to set myself multiple smaller goals that, when all done in the right order, build into one final goal – finishing a track. It took some time to analyze what went wrong, but here are some observations.
Especially the composition part requires focus and organization because it’s easy to get inspired by million things at the same time when composing. In the heat of the moment, a great new melody might inspire a world of new ideas what to do next. As I was tweaking this and adding that I got frustated of not really finding quite what I was looking for and lost the inspiration. Even though I was doing a lot exploration I wasn’t making progress.
Solution: To stay in schedule and organized when composing new stuff, set a deadline for finishing different track parts. For example: Monday, finish the A section, Tuesday, finish the breakdown etc. This is inspired by what the producer Decap talks about in this webinar about getting into the habit of finishing tracks by setting clear deadlines.
Rehearsing & recording
When I was setting my three-track goal, I was apparently suffering from a sudden dementia, because I had totally forgotten how complicated the actual playing part of the first track was. Controlling different knobs, keyboards and drums takes some orientating and rehearsing. It’s vital to do this if I ever want to pull off a mistake-free live recording of my tracks.
Solution: Rehearsing a track with full setup should be a weekly routine. Knowing my way around the controls and pads will save time in recording sessions and improve my performance.
The madness that they call mixing
If I had passed the trials of composition and rehearsing, mixing was the part that took the juice out from me. Finding a good balance between my audio tracks was taking a lot longer than I was prepared for. Also, analyzing the mixes seems takes a few more days, because it’s refreshing for the ears to take longer breaks from listening to regain perspective. Then there’s also mastering phase, which is yet another artform of its own.
Solution: Instead of mixing after the final recording, pay attention to mixing already in the composition phase. This will save the project a lot of time because I will constantly listen to how different tracks and sounds fit together. I don’t have to wait for previous phases to finish first before getting into the madness that is called mixing.
Time to recalibrate
So in the end, things ended up half completed with which I am not happy about. But I ain’t giving up. I’m glad that I took the time to analyze these kind of difficulties because now I know the pitfalls in bigger projects like this, and not just in music but in any kind of work I might do later.
This week I’m going to record the first of the three tracks. With these new goal-setting parameters, I will be able to put the tracks out one at a time in the near future. Every time a new track comes out, I will set deadlines for the next.
Stay tuned, new stuff is coming your way real soon!