Time is of the essence....

So, I’ve definitely had a little lay off since my last post. Life for me right now is crazy busy as I have a tonne of things going: sports leagues (bball and soccer), biking, music (trying to finish up tracks for an album), trying to get ready for a gig on July 4th (I’d like to play live, but am not sure if I have the time to put it together), hanging out with my great wife, and taking care of the yard (cutting grass sucks!) along with keeping Samsquantch going. So between all this, I’m finding it real hard to get anything of value done – I seem to do a bit here and a bit there and it never really feels like I get anything done, so my frustration levels are rising a bit along with the heat here in South Western Ontario.

Remember I was talking about the dreaded loop monster a few posts back (not quite as bad as a Samsquantch, but bad never-the-less), I think I have been having more frequent run-ins with it over my last few sessions in the studio. Albeit, I did get the building blocks done for a track in about 2 hours a couple of weeks ago (the track is affectionately called “Stella” after my favourite type of beer!), but getting the track to a point where it is a track and not a bunch of loops is the tough part. So what do I do, instead of trying to focus and get the track to a point where is it almost complete, I start working on other tracks I have in the works - this doesn’t help my level of frustration, because, as I was telling you before, I feel like I get nothing done. It’s true, I may tweak some existing tracks to a point that I think they sound better, but getting anything of real value done seems like another life time right now (not a fun feeling when you are trying to accomplish a goal). Maybe I have a weird form of music A.D.D where I just can’t focus on one track for too long (no wonder I’ve loved DJ’ing for all these years, you bounce around tracks when playing like it’s nothing – maybe this has carried over to my production?!). To give you an idea of my level of frustration, I’ve been working on this track called “Music Talks To Me” for over 2 YEARS – yes, you read that right, 2 FRIGGIN YEARS. Granted, the overall sound of the track was muddy and needed some work (along with the sounds in the tracks and how they were used), but I mean come one, 2 years?! I’ve really only finished 1 track this year and have about 10-12 tracks in the working stages and about 4 done that I am somewhat happy with (although I’m finding I’m going back to these tracks to make more edits). I’ve been learning a lot about the art of mixing with respect to production, so I’ve been trying to apply what I’ve learned to my older tracks – and it has been helping, but I find myself being very critical of not only the overall sound of the track but the frequencies in which certain sounds sit (and how they play together) – almost to a point of obsession. This is the part of production that is not fun – and I think I need to get back to having fun and just going with my gut instead of constantly criticizing and rebuilding pieces of a track. Although when I think back to the various stages I have went through when learning how to produce, you notice lulls within the learning process where things level off for a while – this is usually followed by a period of inspiration and rapid growth where you can apply what you have learned along with your unique approach to get to a final destination. I’m hoping this stage is going to be following soon so I can follow up my goal of sending out an album to some record labels this year.

Phew. That feels better – LOL! As you can tell, I’m a bit frustrated at the moment and want to get a feeling of accomplishment soon so I can better manage everything that is going on in my life while moving forward with my goals. I told my wife over her 3 years of going back to school that hard work really does pay off (my wife was working full time and going to university full time for a degree) – her hard work paid off big time when she was one of only 75 people (out of 4000 applicants) who was accepted to a prestigious local teachers college!!! She just graduated last week on the Dean’s Honor role, so I’m super proud of her. Point being, sometimes you feel overwhelmed or like things are not going your way, but if you put in the work, you will eventually see the results. I’m using my wife as a motivator right now as it’s hard for me to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but seeing what she has done, and trying to follow my own advice, I should see something come of my countless hours spent in my basement dungeon trying to carve out my brand of music. For now, I have to get that loop monster off my back and get back to having fun in the studio. Wish me luck, and keep your browsers locked in as I’ll be posting some of my music with the next post (if you feel like commenting, PLEASE DO SO – I’m always looking for feedback whether positive or negative)!

Actually, why not post some links to some tracks now! I keep putting it off, but what the hell:

Free Speech
Early Days
Exit Wisdom

You'll notice the variation in volume for some of the mixes. Like I was saying earlier, I'm trying to teach myself the art of mixing, and all of these with the exception of Free Speech were made before I had learned a few things (and it shows in the mixes if you ask me - still some work to do there in terms of levels, EQ'ing and compression - stuff I'll get into later). Free Speech is almost there as well, I think it just needs some more EQ'ing to bring make it "pop" if you will. Anyway, this gives you a little insight into the sound I'm going for (these are all aimed at dance floors - I have some down tempo stuff I'll post later, but that is OLD and still needs a lot of work). Wow, seems I'm perpetually working - I'll leave that for now cuz I need to get that monster off my back and start having fun with the music again. Once I have my own approach to mixing, things should start to churn out (at least I keep telling myself that).

Alright, now back to having fun and getting things done….. Steer clear of the dreaded loop monster…..


Just Jaime said...

Aww thanks babe!! You've been my motivator for the past three years so I would be honoured to be yours. :) Like you said, put in the hard work and effort and it will pay off, your dreams WILL come true. Just don't be too hard on yourself - be patient - things have a funny way of working themselves out so long as you do your part (which you have and continue to do).

tanzi said...

Okay...so I just listened to "Breathe" and I'm hooked! It makes me wanna dance...and drink! I hope you realize that's a compliment. I am excited to read more of your posts as I've always been drawn to electronic music and want to learn more. Somehow, striking up a conversation while dancing with strangers at Starlite seems awkward...so this will be much better!

Lois said...

Hey Mike!
Great Blog!! :)
Sorry it has taken me so long to check it out. :(
I haven't listened to the tracks yet but will do so in the very near future.
Mike, remember that sometimes you need to get side tracked before you are really mentally ready to do what needs to be done.
So no worries man...it will happen.

Bridie said...

Great tracks. Great artists always get frustrated when working on their art/creations - so your frustration is merely a sign of your great genius :-) Looking forward to hearing more of your music!