I made a crapload of mistakes when I first got into recording. (And as I mentioned last week, I still make plenty of mistakes.)
Joe then goes on to describe eight different mistakes that he made when he started out recording.
Since the three of you reading this blog seem to make more electronic/dance music, and since my own beginner experience was mainly with synths and samplers, I thought I’d put a different spin on it:
Focussing too much on execution and not enough on expression
How much time do you spend thinking about gear or mixing techniques? How much time do you spend thinking about artistic expression and music? Exactly.
Chasing your tail
It’s all digital. You can always go back and change things if you don’t like it. Even after it is (or should be) finished. Doesn’t mean you should.
Not referencing commercial tracks
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve finished a mix thinking I had it in the bag, only to reference it later with commercial tracks and be sorely disappointed. It’s something I’ve become much better at with experience, but for beginner and intermediate producers I can’t stress enough how important it is to get a ‘real-world’ reference.
Not allocating enough time
Making music takes time. If you rush yourself, you’ll end up with a result that you’re not proud of. Of course. But what if you’re trying something new and you don’t know how long it’ll take? My simple rule of thumb: make as realistic an estimate as you can, then double it. If you finish early, you just scored yourself some free time!
Assuming collaborators want what you want
Be savvy. Tiny things that give you the weirds turn into giant monstrous ’creative differences’ that can sink projects and take whole relationships down with them. On the other hand, tiny things that make you feel good about a person stay tiny.
Also, don’t become jaded and cynical.
Working too late into night
Everyone’s different, but I find that after I work past a certain point (usually about midnight) my brain really slows down and things take me twice as long and end up half as good. Know your limits. Stick to them.
Not treating your room
It took me so long before I got serious about acoustic treatment. After years of ineffective cardboard and thin fabric, I finally got some professionally-designed acoustic foam. The difference was astounding – I could hear so much more clearly. Recordings, of course improved tremendously too. Don’t put it off.
Forgetting the feeling
This is the most important one.
Don’t ever fall out of love with music.
Fortunately, I’ve never come close to this, but I’ve seen it in others. They throw everything they’ve got into their music for a few years and then get burnt out from focussing too much on the business or the technicalities or the live shows or any number of other distractions. Don’t be that person. You’re reading this blog, so you probably Love music. That’s not with a little l. That’s the big L. Always remind yourself of why you’re doing this. Always remind yourself of the feeling it gives you. Because even if we’re making music with machines, don’t ever forget that it’s only the emotions that make it worthwhile.