OMG - this is so me, I have a little room in my soul with a sign on the door that says: “Here is your musical self-loathing place, because you can’t get anything close to finished musically”. I’ve got about a dozen or two songs that are in various stages of initial construction … going all the way back to VST5.x. Deep in my heart I am so happy with each of them musically. However,it seems that my lack of engineering/production skills just gets me bogged down in B.S. details of a song, then I crawl out a month later with nothing really usable to show for it.
I promised myself something a month or two ago, and I’ve kept my promise, and it has worked wonders for me: I was going to work in a parallel fashion on many songs, (what I think is the opposite of what you guys are saying here), and GET EACH COMPLETE SONG DOWN ON TAPE, bare bones skeleton, before moving on to later stages of engineering/mixing, etc. … I promised myself to NOT be tempted to work on any individual song more than that until they are ALL down on tape.
So, what I’m doing now is:
- Get every song written in complete fashion, words and music, start to finish. Completely. This usually involves singing to the wall, learning inflections, timing variations, etc.
- Put every song in MIDI form via keyboard, rough playing with errors is OK. Put the words in finished form in “notepad” (this is the stage I’m at).
- Render each song to audio.
- Put each song on youtube for family and friends. Lots of errors and no vox yet, but hey, it’s a product!
I plan for it to go linear from here, i.e., complete each song individually before moving on to the next:
- Go back to the MIDI, tighten up the playing till it’s just right for a backing track, re-render to audio.
- Put vox/harmony. Try reasonably hard to get it right, BUT DON’T GO FOR PERFECTION!!!
- Send off to one of those companies that will “play” your song with a live band, and send you the tracks.
- I’ll have a finished song then!!!
- Here’s a key step: LEARN how to record and mix and master by examining the product I get back.
Yes, it’s a long project, but as long as I am moving forward, that sense of frustration will be replace by a sense of accomplishment. Like I said, even having shown discipline to move forward and not get sidetracked by “this and that” in Cubase, or something like, “Hmm, let me spend 4 weeks choosing the best compressor for this background harmony” has made me feel so much better.
Sorry for the uber “me”-ism aspect of this post … what you guys wrote “hit a chord” with me, because it’s right where I am, and it kind of triggered an avalanche here. Maybe by putting it down in black and white it will give me the strength to stay disciplined when I want to tinker!!