10 Aug

Master your tools

As a music producer, it is often very tempting to buy every plug-in or affordable bit of hardware that comes out: You read the reviews in Future Music Magazine on that synthesiser or see Universal Audio have just released a new plug and you must have it. 

Having all of the tools is not the same as having mastery over a few, the difference this can have on your overall output and production is massive.

Too much choice kills creativity

Overchoice is a real thing; when you have so much to choose from, making a decision becomes overwhelming due to the endless potential outcomes. It’s mentally draining to compare similar options and to choose one over the other, using mental energy that you could spend creating the next progressive house banger! Less choice = more brain power = more creativity.

No one can hear the difference

If you play two sine waves side by side, no one can tell which was made with Sylenth and which was made with Massive. So why waste time, money and brain power on new tools when you can make what you have sound great?

Stop distracting yourself

Downloading, tinkering with and testing out each and every plug-in is Olympic level procrastinating. When creativity is waning and you’re stuck trying to figure out the drop, fiddling with plug-ins and hardware can give you a false sense of achievement. What you want is a short cut to sounding great but what you really need to is to hone your skills, learn patience and train your ears.

Stop wasting time

To get the most out of a particular plug-in or tool, you need to master it. And mastery takes a long time. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out hundreds of plug-ins, instead invest your time learning the ins and outs a few. Pick the best basic tools that create the biggest impact and spend the rest of your time actually making music.

Mastery breeds innovation

Only once you’ve really mastered a tool can you use it to be truly creative and innovative. Hendrix knew his guitar, amps and pedals inside out and upside down. Because of that he could create sounds and effects no one had ever heard before. So as you can see, investing your time and energy into gaining mastery over a few of your tools is time well spent.

Craft your signature sound

Everyone can recognise a Deadmau5 track. He has his own particular sound, he uses the same setup and processing chains on many of his tracks. Having a signature sound doesn’t mean every single track sounds the same, it’s what makes you stand out above the rest, a signature sound lets a fan know that it’s a Deadmau5, Axwell or Chris Lake track.

More things won’t make you sound better

When it comes down to it, the more stuff you have will not make your music sound better. There isn’t that one, elusive compressor that is going to take your music to the next level. That bright, shiny piece of hardware isn’t the key to sending your career on an upward trajectory. As frustrating as it might be, the only way to sound better is to become better.

There is no short cut to greatness, greatness requires hard work, dedication and practice, practice, practice. So instead of downloading the newest piece of software ask yourself, “Am I really looking for more gear, or better performance?”

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