So 2018 then, another year that came and went too soon. If you’re anything like us, you’ll no doubt have numerous abandoned projects, half-finished mixes and sparks of ideas that still sit on that metaphorical shelf, gathering a fine coating of dust as we enter 2019. At MusicTech we strive to encourage and nurture your music-making process, but we also completely understand the hardship involved in developing your skills and career in this industry.
Here, we collect the most vital and motivational advice, tips and general insight from the assortment of people we interviewed this year, as well as a handful of previous tip-givers from previous years who have even more gems to share.
We’ve also got a plethora of tips from our insightful readership, plucked from our monthly studio-based interviews. Your perspective, as with that of our main interviewees, has been grouped according to topic. So sit back and enjoy this inspiring collection of the finest, shiniest pearls of music, studio and production wisdom…
Benn Jordan says “When you’re playing an instrument, you’re doing it in real time and that’s the value of it. If you bring Ableton into a jazz trio and improvise, you can only have it play what you’ve told it to play. So it’s still driven by emotion to an extent, but it’s not live emotion. You have to plan everything, which I have no problem with – that’s a whole other side that’s very important, but acoustic instruments enable you to explore stuff melodically in real time.”
Read more composing tips from Jazzy Jeff, Beatie Wolfe and more here.
Matt Wiggins says “Be prepared for anything that could happen, ever, in the studio! For example, always have a vocal mic up even if you are coming in just for mix tweaks, because you can guarantee someone will just want to drop in a vocal.”
Read more recording tips from Rhiannon Mair, Lauren Deakin Davies and more here.
Mandy Parnell says “We have this thing that art needs to stand on its own, for the artist. But it needs to fit into the world as well, contextually. If it’s going into playlists, then you don’t want it to sound weaker than what’s around it in the music landscape. So do your homework before you master.”
Read more mastering tips from Miles Showell, Jerome Schmitt and more here.
Catherine Marks says “Alan Moulder said: ‘For me, you’re just going to be a mixer’… I’d never been involved in the mixing process to that level before. It made me understand how something would end up, which informed me as a producer. So when I’m recording, I’m recording how I want things to sound at the end – the recording process becomes part of the mixing process.”
Read more mastering tips from James Davidson, Rudimental and more here.
Charlie Andrew says “My studio is quite chaotic, but I like that, as I think it puts artists at ease. There are little toys lying around they can just pick up and play and hopefully, that could ignite a new idea – you never know.”
Read more recording studio tips from Jonas Rathsman, Mad Zach and more here.
Hans Zimmer says “It’s not my job to tell the audience what to do or feel… Really, it’s the storytelling that’s driving the process at all times. A director will phone me up and say: ‘I want to tell you a story’. As they’re telling me the story, I’ll start to get ideas and the main one will usually be, ‘What’s the sonic world that we’re going to go and drop the audience into?’ So it’s not just instruments… if you just drop an orchestra on top of the sound effects, then they’re too separate. What I try to do is figure out how to bleed into the picture, bleed into the frame and bleed into the story.”
Read more soundtracking tips from Junkie XL, Neil Davidge and more here.
Heather Bright says “I’d say, just don’t stop. If people tell you your sound is garbage or ‘not good enough’, then just keep going. If you’re making records that you really love but can’t figure out how to market, then just keep going. You never know where your break is going to come from.”
Read more career development tips from Friction, Emre Ramazanoglu and more here.
For more tips and tricks check out our Guides page.