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Judas Jetski
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Post by Judas Jetski » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:21 am

Lack of allies is HUGE.

On a technical level, my biggest obstacle is recording drums and/or vocals. Because I've got no good way to tell what my mic setup sounds like in real time. It can take me hours to do alone what would take minutes with another drummer or vocalist. And the way I work, there's no starting a project without drum tracks--and no finishing it without vocals.

On a personal level, my biggest obstacle is switching hats. It takes a lot of energy to be artist, engineer, and producer--and often the skills required are somewhat mutually exclusive. It's a blast when it works, but it's frustrating when it doesn't. For me, the first place things fall down is performance. If I'm thinking about technical stuff, my brain is not doing what it needs to do to sound good. But if I don't think about the technical stuff, I don't like the results. Having a dedicated amp closet has really helped with this, because I can just set up the mic and leave it. For weeks if need be.

Having various "go-to" mic setups helps, too. For me, too many options is far worse than not enough.

Having a mastering engineer to work with has also been a big help. He keeps telling me, "you could do this stuff yourself, you know," but it's much easier for me to work knowing that someone else's ears will be on the project before it hits the mainstream (such as it is). It's pretty hard for me to make myself hit the gas, if I don't know the brakes are gonna work, whether I need them or not.
Check out the newest Andy Smash release, Black Light / Black Death! http://andysmash.bandcamp.com !


"Avoid trends and clich?s/don't try to be up to date/and when the sunlight hits the olive oil, don't hesitate"

www.AndySmash.com

Judas Jetski
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Post by Judas Jetski » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:07 am

Hmmm...

And on an even more personal level, sustaining morale is incredibly difficult for me. It's hard for me to want to make music if I haven't addressed the vast armada of crises arrayed against me. But I don't have the energy to or ability to adequately address these ongoing crises without the confidence and sense of accomplishment which comes from a completed product. And I can't complete the product due to the interference from these ongoing crises.

And yet if I allow this to stop me from making music, I wind up with a headful of new musical ideas that torment me and bog things down even more.

It's fortunate for me that there's a band... but even with the band my creative output is maybe 10% of my personal capacity. And I'm not much use for anything else at the moment. End result--total bog. I can't get enough go-juice for day-to-day operation, but if I try to go full-tilt the system is quickly immediately overwhelmed.

This would all be a lot easier if there were money at the end of the process. But the economic gods of our age have decreed that music is by and large not something that one pays for. If I could focus on only my own needs and desires, it might be a bit easier--but it's hard for me to imagine that it would be good for me to be more isolated.

OK, so that's what's all up in my own head. I guess the bigger concept here is that it may be necessary to become so specialized in what you're doing, that you wind up with more work than you can possibly do, and no one qualified or able to help you. Not sure how to fix that one.
Check out the newest Andy Smash release, Black Light / Black Death! http://andysmash.bandcamp.com !


"Avoid trends and clich?s/don't try to be up to date/and when the sunlight hits the olive oil, don't hesitate"

www.AndySmash.com

Judas Jetski
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Post by Judas Jetski » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:10 am

Or to sum it up even more succinctly: "Punk rockers can do anything. If punk rockers were in charge, we'd be living in cities on the moon," as Steve Albini has been quoted as saying. But punk rockers aren't in charge, and the moon's a lonely place.
Check out the newest Andy Smash release, Black Light / Black Death! http://andysmash.bandcamp.com !


"Avoid trends and clich?s/don't try to be up to date/and when the sunlight hits the olive oil, don't hesitate"

www.AndySmash.com

dino
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Post by dino » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:59 am

A lot of my dilemma over the years I think has to do with just bad timing. All of my creative efforts in the past were in helping others with their projects. My personal ambitions were always put aside so that I could help people whom I considered real talent. By the time I finally decided it was time for me to do my thing musically, the folks who I worked with weren?t around any more. I had gone from a cooperative environment to a solo endeavor and didn?t have the skills, time, and sadly talent to do it on my own. I found that once disconnected from the music community, it has been difficult to reconnect. Being an old fart now certainly hasn?t helped as places like Craigslist are populated almost exclusively by young folks. The irony in it all is that over the many years I was actively involved in recording, I had collected a moderately impressive, at least to me, array of gear and instruments with the expectation that those I had helped would be there to assist me, and now unfortunately have virtually no one to share it with. Hence the solo effort, and the interest in this thread?.d
I'd gladly trade everything I have now for a nice sounding room and a bucket of 57's

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ubertar
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Post by ubertar » Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:19 am

My two biggest obstacles are:
1. lack of time
2. lack of energy

Between running a business and watching my daughter, time and energy are in short supply. When business is good, there's a lot to do, and it's been good for some time now. When it's slow, I have to work hard to get it to pick up.

There's no lack of ideas, or gear. Since the stuff I do doesn't fit in an established genre or style, there's a lot of latitude as far as the sound. For most instruments I use my B&K, which generally sounds like how it actually sounds live, so if I can get it to sound how I want in the room, then I don't have to mess with things too much. But I haven't had much time to record lately, or even pick up an instrument. Hopefully soon.
get a hammered sound from guitar or bass! http://www.stringhammer.com
hand-made version to raise money for manufacturing... kind of like kickstarter, but you get a fully functional item now

Album!
https://paulrubenstein.bandcamp.com/album/one-eye-awake

Bro Shark
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Post by Bro Shark » Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:11 pm

The thing I love about being in a band is setting a weekly schedule, even if it's once a week. All you have to do is show up at your practice space, and you're there, and you shut the outside world out. It's just you and your bandmates, and a couple hours to kill, and what do you know, there are instruments in your hands. All of a sudden creativity becomes very possible. You don't feel as tired after work as you thought. Your fight with your girlfriend goes away for a while. It's almost hard to fail at that point.

When I sit down by myself I find it really tough to tune everything out and stay focused. It's too easy to remain in my normal, day-to-day world and head space. Distractions abound, and failure to create can be totally discouraging.

Judas Jetski
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Post by Judas Jetski » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:13 am

Bro Shark wrote:The thing I love about being in a band is setting a weekly schedule, even if it's once a week.
YES YES YES
Check out the newest Andy Smash release, Black Light / Black Death! http://andysmash.bandcamp.com !


"Avoid trends and clich?s/don't try to be up to date/and when the sunlight hits the olive oil, don't hesitate"

www.AndySmash.com

Judas Jetski
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Post by Judas Jetski » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:24 am

dino wrote:A lot of my dilemma over the years I think has to do with just bad timing. All of my creative efforts in the past were in helping others with their projects. My personal ambitions were always put aside so that I could help people whom I considered real talent. By the time I finally decided it was time for me to do my thing musically, the folks who I worked with weren?t around any more. I had gone from a cooperative environment to a solo endeavor and didn?t have the skills, time, and sadly talent to do it on my own. I found that once disconnected from the music community, it has been difficult to reconnect. Being an old fart now certainly hasn?t helped as places like Craigslist are populated almost exclusively by young folks. The irony in it all is that over the many years I was actively involved in recording, I had collected a moderately impressive, at least to me, array of gear and instruments with the expectation that those I had helped would be there to assist me, and now unfortunately have virtually no one to share it with. Hence the solo effort, and the interest in this thread?.d
One thing I have definitely encountered in recent years is that many younger musicians are often willing and eager to interact on some level with ... uh ... people like me, who are maybe not so young. Of course, young musicians are people who are struggling to learn their own voice, and we don't want to overwhelm them, which means some degree of compromise on our part. But my experience (at least here in Rochester, which is developing a pretty vibrant underground music scene) has been that if I'm willing to bring it, they're willing to hear it. It may mean playing more than a few basement-style shows, but I've got no problem with that.

One factor that works against being established is the ease with which one can make a mediocre recording without any outboard gear. I do most everything analog--or do everything outside the box, how you prefer to say it--which makes things worse as far as cross-compatibility goes, but probably makes things a lot more interesting to the people who are sick of looking at a glowing screen.
Check out the newest Andy Smash release, Black Light / Black Death! http://andysmash.bandcamp.com !


"Avoid trends and clich?s/don't try to be up to date/and when the sunlight hits the olive oil, don't hesitate"

www.AndySmash.com

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banana brains
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Post by banana brains » Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:44 pm

I never make any real progress on my own. well, there's some progress but not enough and not consistently enough. Actually, I take that back. there's no real progress.

I go into a proper studio and I walk away with a rough mix.

Scheduling a session forces me to get serious and commit to the song form, arrangement, and lyrics (for the most part).

Then again, I have the rough mix and wish I could edit it and try some different things. More money...schedule another session.

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Post by donny » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:58 am

http://www.trounrecords.com

your life is beautiful / a seed becomes a tree / a mountain into a sky / this life is meant to be

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banana brains
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Post by banana brains » Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:24 pm

Snarl 12/8 wrote:For me, the big challenge used to be being able to hold the finished sound in my head while I did all the tracking. That way I could play the drums to the bass part (even though it wasn't there) etc.

I've pretty much stopped making solo recorded music about 5 years ago, and I came to realize, after watching this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se8kcnU-uZw <-- or perhaps a non-TED talk version of it, I can't remember exactly) that my biggest obstacle is that I can't imagine a venue for my music any more. I simply can't imagine anyone other than myself listening to it, so I have no idea what needs to be created to fill the void that exists without my music there. The void is in a void, rendering my music null and void.

What certifies me as insane is that I can't seem to "put it down." I keep planning to build a room, buying TapeOp, buying gear, practicing, etc., etc. Just not much "hitting record" going on. I've been planning to record a series of covers to see if I can get my mojo/groove back, but I'm completely self taught on everything except drums. (And mostly self-taught there.) I don't know a single "real" chord on guitar, or scale on bass, etc. So, that makes it really, really slow going trying to cop other people's shit if it has the least bit of musicianship or compositional integrity to it.
Hilarious and so true!

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Post by mangoose » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:33 am

As a "one man act" I try and play live as much as possible, both at home an in other cities. That keeps the music fresh and forces you to find ways to fill up a large amount of space with the tools at your disposal. Playing live means things need to be rock-solid from a technical standpoint. That stability breeds musical creativity. I find it too easy to lose perspective in the studio environment, if that is where the music I am working on is living exclusively, it's especially bad.

so starting from a place that I know is effective (i play shows and people like what i'm doing etc) means i have the confidence to take that material to my studio and flesh it out into something even better.

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Jitters
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Post by Jitters » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:12 am

I?ve learned to wear all the hats pretty well except for one. The one where you crack the whip and get the artist off the couch. And it?s not exactly like I get a ton of fan mail asking when the new record is going to drop. That?s not me feeling sorry for myself either, that?s just the way things are these days, the whole world is drowning in records they can choose to listen to or ignore. Even a vibrant community like this one?everyone is willing to help everyone out, but ?Listen To My Music? is apparently a bridge too far. You work your ass off and it just goes into the void. Do it for myself? Eh?it sounds better in my head anyway.

Plus, I love to have recorded, but to record? Not so much.

Judas Jetski
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Post by Judas Jetski » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:59 pm

Snarl 12/8 wrote:I've been planning to record a series of covers to see if I can get my mojo/groove back, but I'm completely self taught on everything except drums. (And mostly self-taught there.) I don't know a single "real" chord on guitar, or scale on bass, etc. So, that makes it really, really slow going trying to cop other people's shit if it has the least bit of musicianship or compositional integrity to it.
Of course, that's an awesome recipe for creativity. You'll either come up with what people think is "a fresh new approach to old material" or something so unrecognizable that it becomes an entirely different song. Low-hanging fruit can be just as sweet as the stuff at the top of the tree...
Check out the newest Andy Smash release, Black Light / Black Death! http://andysmash.bandcamp.com !


"Avoid trends and clich?s/don't try to be up to date/and when the sunlight hits the olive oil, don't hesitate"

www.AndySmash.com

Judas Jetski
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Post by Judas Jetski » Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:09 pm

Also, that David Byrne Ted Talk is nothing short of awesome.
Check out the newest Andy Smash release, Black Light / Black Death! http://andysmash.bandcamp.com !


"Avoid trends and clich?s/don't try to be up to date/and when the sunlight hits the olive oil, don't hesitate"

www.AndySmash.com

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