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Thread: What's your process?

  1. #1

    What's your process?

    How do you create?

    For instance most of my tracks I often describe as painting with sound. I have an image or images in my head and try to convey those images thru sound. Not always successfully and not always quite the way I had imagined. Since everyone is different they all tend to get slightly different or sometimes Wildly different images of their own. But that is okay. I will say however that I feel most successful when the images are at least in the same ballpark as what I had seen in my own head. I consider that a fairly good sound painting.

    I will admit also to sometimes tracks going places I did not envision. I have a sound in mind I am looking for but in the process of creating/composing that image will morph to something completely different.

    Do you use a base template in your DAW or start fresh each time? I have a template but often I will not use it.

  2. #2
    Oh, a fun question. As for me, I tend to make "story tracks" - I develop a simple "plot" for the song, and idea or motif that I try to represent using sounds. But doing that I never reveal what was on my mind while creating it (and the sounds more often than not are really ambiguous and not a direct reference to the idea), only to leave an open interpretation to the listener.

    As for the template... No, never really used one. I tried to do that once, as my last project had a very well rounded setup that I was very proud of. After I realized that I have to tweak almost every effect and channel to suit them up for new sounds I gave up and reset everything to zero. I think if you know what your doing and know how to do it from a technical point of view, it's more efficient.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Serengeti11's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    New Jersey
    I have several different methods.

    Themes: I'll pick a topic of interest (nature, water and undersea life are main themes of my music). And base movements and melodies on how I associate with those themes. Especially if Im working on something cinematic or soundtrack-y. I've even based a few on a certain essence of someone I know personally like a girlfriend or somebody.

    Titles: I like word play. How some words work together even if they don't make sense (like Cocteau Twins song titles and lyrics). Or sometimes just a cool sentence, phrase or exclamation will give me musical ideas. I've used movie titles as working titles to help give me ideas.

    Muse & Inspiration: When I get true and pure musical ideas, I try to work on them immediately and create a blueprint to build on. When Im at my day job with no access to musical instruments, I use the audio recorder on my cell and try to sing the parts one after another. Then when I get home, if I remember, I'll play them back and flesh them out on Garageband or Logic. I also either say the name of the sound or possible sounds Im hearing into the recorder or I write it down. If I don't do this, I'll totally forget all of it. I've lost a lot of great music that way.

    Monkey & Typewriter: I might hit the record button and tinker away on a synth and play with a few sounds, trying to catch a spark of something. Or I'll pull out my bass and run it through some effects to see what happens. I try not to do that too often as it can be a little contrived but it often yields some interesting results and can lead to more inspiration.

    Outright Theft: OK. I'll admit I've been known to pinch a riff or two from outside and unrelated sources (never from other ambient/new age/electronica artists) from time to time. I once made an avant garde piece using a piece of a melody from a Boyz II Men song. It came out very good and no one really knew because I altered it with dissonant interval harmonies.

    I don't bother with templates either. I usually end up changing them anyway. They're good for a head start sometimes though if you're having trouble getting it off the ground. And often my music also ends up going in a different direction from my initial concept. I change my mind a lot. Or I just make remixes.
    Last edited by Serengeti11; 07-23-2013 at 07:24 AM.

  4. #4
    Glenn Kingsley Mortimer
    I have 3 or 4 completely different workflow methods.

    The best process I've found is the one that gets the track finished!

  5. #5
    I started with a very odd workflow, but one that works for me. I use Absynth a lot - since version 2, and the standalone recorder is a great tool. I put down a base sound for a couple of minutes, go back, find another sound that fits in well, and the overlay in an improvised fashion. In fact most of the tracks coming out on my new EP were all improvised in this way.

    I've since upgraded to using a DAW to capture each time through, so I can go back and edit mistakes, but I really like to capture the human element of being in that moment when I feel the music (if that makes sense)

  6. #6
    I always always find that no matter what idea I have in my head, the minute I try to lay it down in a DAW (Logic 9 mainly) it changes and develops into something completely different from the original thought.

    I always find that bits most naturally come to me by starting with a melody or lead element. Its then much more natural for me to build in other aspects. Conversely, I find if I start with a beat its difficult for me to progress beyond it.

    It usually takes ages for me to finish anything. I always end up doing something ione day and wake up the next morning and hate it! So so detrimental as it almost feels like im going round in circles, all the while diverging completely from the original idea haha.

  7. #7
    nebula nova
    I try to vary as much as possible, to keep things fresh- I might start with a rythm, a bassline, a melody or just- lets see what I can get out of this particular Instrument; or something I could not fit into the previous track.

  8. #8
    I generally have an idea of a feel I want for a track. I'll start off with the kick and bassline; get them sounding reasonable. Get a few bars of percussion going; all rough sketches - so to speak.

    Once I've the energy of the drums & bass I'll add in a few pad ideas, extend it all a few bars. I usually end up sculpting the percussion energy of the track (or half of it) before filling it out.

    Sometimes though I'll just have little synth jams, or have a nifty sound or riff that I want to work with and things just flow. As Mr Mortimer says... The one that gets the track finished.

    Find it very hard to stay satisfied with what I'm doing; but it's just pushing through I guess.

  9. #9
    De Terramar
    I like the idea of "painting with sound". But for me it doesn't work as an image in my head to be pulled out, it is more like making a palette of sounds. I do a lot of field recording and then go home, mess with the instruments above it, and record some loops. At that point, it doesn't have a structure but it becomes the fundation of a track. Its like a solid ground where to improvise.

    I also work a lot with loops. Lots of my tracks are actually one idea repeating it self with little aditions that come and go-

  10. #10
    Junior Member yy28's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    I think of my recording process in terms of a collage. I gather a huge selection of found sounds, field recordings and instrument recordings. These are dubbed onto audio cassette and then fed through pedals into a mixer. Sometimes things are recorded quite randomly, other times in a more considered fashion.

    Inspiration comes from many different sources: movies, books, photographs, dreams, memories...

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