Although the digital age has provided the modern music-maker with an ever-expanding toolset to craft music, there are certain elements of the creative process that cannot be so easily replicated.
“What starts as a creative endeavour can soon start to feel like hard slog”
There’s been a growing consensus over the last few years that, somehow, making music has become as easy as a quick tap and a swipe of an iPad. While it’s certainly true that the growth and popularity of mobile and app-based music-making has increased the musical landscape tenfold, developing as a songwriter is still a long and erratic road with very few (if any!) shortcuts.
I’ve been songwriting for ten years, and when faced with a creative mountain I often seek solace in the workflow environment I am familiar with, unwilling to adopt new methods, upgrade my DAW or utilise anything that might take me out of my comfort zone and make the process longer than it already is. In fact, for the first few years I stuck with my Tascam DP-01, before slowly embracing desktop-based DAWs and kicking myself for not having dipped my toe in the digital waters before.
The Tascam DP-01 Central hub for my early productions.
No Pain, No Gain
I tend to write in albums, which is a curious kind of self-flagellation. It’s rare that I knock off a few songs for their own sake – it’s all or nothing. Making an album is still an overwhelming experience, from the sudden ‘I’m going to make an album!’ epiphany to the laborious process of fine-tuning the mix, and then (in my case) awaiting the final masters to be returned all buffed and shiny.
The process is generally long, often quite tedious and as we’re talking in 2013 terms, exceedingly computer screen-heavy. What often begins as an optimistic creative endeavour can soon start to feel like a hard slog, although those feelings are soon supplanted by pure joy when the final album is signed, sealed and delivered. And as the months go by you start to appraise what you’ve done: the minor mistakes, production errors and off-key moments become major flaws and you vow that the next one will be a perfect masterpiece. And so the cycle goes on…
The digital age may grant more power and sonic dexterity to the modern music-maker but the route to becoming a successful songwriter is something that still has to be carved into your being through pure graft. As I said, the cycle goes on and my next album is currently in preparation. Join me here MusicTech.net as I update this fortnightly blog on the ups and downs of making an album from scratch…
The final album will be posted on my Soundcloud Channel – keep checking it as I upload demos and early mixes