Some Random Thoughts on Music Production

In this article I’m going to discuss some totally random, often rambling thoughts on the process of music production. Erm enjoy!

I first began music production about 3 years ago. When I say I began music production what I mean to say is I first installed a digital audio workstation. My first was Reason. On opening the program for the first time I was astonished at the depth and number of options, settings, windows and general cluster fuck of things I could do. It took me about a month of random clicking and pressing keys on my USB keyboard before I could make a sound that resembled something you would expect to hear in a piece of poorly produced music.

I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Thinking back on it now it was properly more sensible to spend that month reading guides and tutorials on how to work the incredibly complex piece of software I was experimenting with. However my approach was try and then ask questions later.

At first I began trying to write melodies with my mouse directly in the program, but with no music knowledge whatsoever, I couldn’t play any instrument, and my music theory knowledge comprised of knowing where C was on a piano. So I just entered random notes and of course I sounded awful.

My first big break came after learning the A minor scale. Which you should know is comprised of all the white keys. Easy enough to remember and learn. A B C D E F G A. I watched some tutorials online and began to attempt to produce trance. Which while not my favourite genre of music by any stretch did allow me to create simple melodies and add a 4×4 boom boom boom boom beat to the background to create something that resembled a song.

Progress. It was an infinitely small victory but did give me the push to continue on this journey I had set out on. After creating what seemed like a million trance “songs” I was ready to branch out and try my hand at some genres I actually enjoyed listening to. This led to attempts at dubstep just before dubstep exploded into the mainstream; before the likes of Skrillex and Flux Pavilion were a household name. These were the days of gritty dark dubstep produced primarily by London producers like Benga and Skream.

This led to more failed attempts, in fact many of them. I now understand that my failings were an unclear understanding of actual production. My earlier attempts were better characterised as very basic composition. Now I had to learn how to start actually modifying an audio signal. I began with the basics such as how to correctly use an equalizer and a compressor. This allowed me to create beats that sounded good and loud. I learned how to fill up the space in a mix. I was now more involved with learning rather than trying and failing. From here I only got better and better while my knowledge increased.

I know this isn’t a very helpful article to beginners just getting into production. However I wanted to write some things down, so yeah sue me if you don’t like it. Until next time!