Finding Your Sound (by Enamour)

Finding Your Sound, by Enamour

๐—™๐—œ๐—ก๐——๐—œ๐—ก๐—š ๐—ฌ๐—ข๐—จ๐—ฅ ๐—ฆ๐—ข๐—จ๐—ก๐——

There are a lot of similarities between the journey to creating good music and the discovery of "your sound". It boils down to repetition and thoughtfulness.

This brings to mind one of my favorite quotes from the book "Art & Fear": "You make good work by (among other things) making lots of work that isnโ€™t very good, and gradually weeding out the parts that arenโ€™t good, ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ฅ๐™–๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™–๐™ง๐™š๐™ฃโ€™๐™ฉ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง๐™จ. Itโ€™s called feedback, and itโ€™s the most direct route to learning about your own vision. Itโ€™s also calling doing your work. After all someone has to do your work, and youโ€™re the closest person around."

๐™๐™๐™š๐™ง๐™š ๐™ž๐™จ ๐™ฃ๐™ค ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™ช๐™š ๐™จ๐™๐™ค๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™˜๐™ช๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™œ๐™–๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™š๐™ญ๐™ฅ๐™š๐™ง๐™ž๐™š๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™š. ๐™๐™๐™š๐™ง๐™š ๐™–๐™ง๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ฎ๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™จ๐™ฅ๐™š๐™š๐™™ ๐™ž๐™ฉ ๐™ช๐™ฅ, ๐™—๐™ช๐™ฉ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช ๐™ข๐™ช๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™˜๐™ง๐™š๐™–๐™ฉ๐™š ๐™– ๐™ก๐™ค๐™ฉ ๐™ค๐™› ๐™ข๐™ช๐™จ๐™ž๐™˜.

For that reason, I believe finding your sound is directly related to your musical output. ๐—ฆ๐—ผ ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ต ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ธ๐˜€, ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ธ๐—น๐˜† ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ผ๐—ฝ ๐—ฎ ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ถ๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฑ?

โ€ข Lead a healthy lifestyle, eat well, exercise regularly, get enough sleep.
โ€ข Show up as much as possible without burning out.
โ€ข Seek inspiration everywhere. Listen to a lot of music outside of your genre and outside of electronic music.
โ€ข Develop good studio habits and treat the time as isolation: close your door, turn your WiFi and phone off, get locked in.
โ€ข Try to build a routine to encourage flow state. This is obviously harder if youโ€™ve got a day job or family running your schedule, but try to mix things up, keep a journal, and see what makes a big change in your output. Maybe wake up early and produce before going to work?
โ€ข Build good production habits so your workflow can become second nature. Understanding the fundamental tools and their use will eliminate second guessing.
โ€ข Create a starting template with your favorite synths, drum racks, processing chains, etc. Note: itโ€™s very easy to overdo this, resulting in limited creativityโ€”thereโ€™s definitely a balance thatโ€™ll help speed up creation when youโ€™re in the zone.
โ€ข Focus on the important things and donโ€™t be afraid to scrap ideas and start over. Struggling to fix mixdown problems on a poorly arranged track, or obsessing over the sound design of a bad melodic idea is probably not the most effective use of time.

๐—œ๐—ป๐—ท๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐˜ ๐—ฎ ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜† ๐—ฏ๐—ถ๐˜ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜€๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€, ๐—ฏ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฝ ๐—ณ๐˜‚๐—น๐—น ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—น:

The same way you might critically listen to a reference track (Iโ€™ll write a whole post on this), you should examine your own music. If one of your tracks got a lot of DJ support or gives you chills, maybe itโ€™s worth doing a quick analysis on it, ranging from broad concepts to super specific things.

For ex: What about the arrangement made it super playable? How often did you add a new percussion element? How did you transition between sections? Was song centered around one single motif? Was it (regardless of intention) written in a musical mode? Does it look like A minor but the bass root is in D?

The list of takeaways can be endless, and you shouldnโ€™t treat it as gospel or just write the same song again, but you can certainly leverage some ideas for the future. ๐—”๐˜€ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜‚๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ป ๐˜„๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ผ๐˜„๐—ป ๐—บ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ฐ ๐—ด๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ฑ, ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚โ€™๐—น๐—น ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ด๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ผ๐—ฝ ๐—ฎ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—ฏ๐—น๐˜‚๐—ฒ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐˜€๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฑ.

๐—™๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐˜†, ๐—ฎ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฝ๐˜€ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ผ๐—ฝ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐˜€๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฑ:

โ€ข Reuse parts from older projects whether they were released or not. In Ableton you can add your root folder to the sidebar and drag individual tracks from any project into your current project. I do this all the time when trying to quickly bring good drums into a new track, or if I want to reuse a certain synth patch/processing chain. Itโ€™ll speed up your process and encourage the repeat use of certain sounds.

โ€ข Save presets, audio effect racks, etc to be able to quickly reuse sounds and effects in new projects.

โ€ข If you create a cool patch or idea but it doesnโ€™t fit into your current track, bounce it to audio and save it in ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ผ๐˜„๐—ป ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ธ. Over time youโ€™ll build up a library of your own sounds that you can reuse. I do this a lot when Iโ€™m just jamming on my analog gear with no intention of writing a songโ€”itโ€™s basically a sample pack creative session. Some sounds Iโ€™ve made during these sessions have been used over and over again in many of my tracks (like a long mutating drone or a cool percussion hit).

Just like my last post, a big takeaway here is ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ. Show up, experiment, make some music, and gradually hone in on what feels the most "you" to you.

๐—œโ€™๐—ฑ ๐—น๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ ๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€ ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฐ. ๐——๐—ผ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ?

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