So, I’m starting a weekly blog (Saturday or Sunday) entitled “This Week.” At the very least, it will be fun for me to look back on my journey. And anyone who’s interested is welcome to come along for the ride. 🙂

What I’m Working On

I ordered a Keith McMillan K-Board a few weeks ago on eBay for $50. It finally arrived this week! One of the reasons I bought it was so that I could have something really small to use to play around with all the MIDI instruments I have. So that I did, and it was fun! I have a lot of synths and sample libraries that I have barely scratched the surface of, and I’d like to explore them over time and figure out which sounds I like the most and would want to use in future productions.

Let me point out what my “studio” looks like right now. So, long story short, it is kind of like this:

And also this:

So… yeah. Not ideal. You can see why having something more compact would help for the time being. I had hoped that the velocity sensitivity of the pads would be a little more accurate, so that I could “play” my MIDI drum parts rather than program them, but I think I’ll still have to program them to get the velocities I want. Other than that I love it.

I also spent some time trying to finish up my new original song called Moment of Weakness. I ended up rewriting the pre-chrorus melody and also adding one of the synth patches I discovered in Reaktor Prism to add excitement to the second verse, which it really needed. Still struggling with the transition into the bridge, but I’m about ready to just call it done and move onto something else. I recorded all the final vocals yesterday. I’m trying more vocal stacking than ever before, because I’ve been watching music production videos by Ill Factor in his Beat Academy. I did that thing where I signed up for the free month and then forgot to cancel, haha, but the content has actually been very useful. I really like his YouTube videos as well. I feel like…not everything he says is technically accurate, but the way he describes things tends to be relatable and useful. He also did a video where his example was literally Sia’s vocals. So whatever, what he’s saying obviously works  well enough for him!

So yeah check out how much freaking stuff is in this project. That’s a lot of layers, for me anyway. But I get the feeling that’s how people do it! I’ll have to color code and organize this better before I start mixing. I kind of mix as I go, but once everything is done I’ll probably make a copy of the project, bounce most of the MIDI to audio, and at least revisit all of the EQ.

What I’m Listening To

I discovered Brandi Carlile a little while ago, and have been listening to more of her music. I think her song The Story might be her most popular one, and it’s the first one I heard. It made me cry so I wanted to hear more. She has an incredible voice–a ton of raw power which sometimes results in her voice breaking up as if it were a guitar amp, but also this beautiful vibrato. And she’s a lesbian, which makes her more relatable (for me anyway!)

Instead of a song, I’m going to recommend this cool documentary. It’s still got music in it.

Next Week

Next week I hope to completely finish up with Moment of Weakness so that I can start on something else. Ideally I don’t want to spend more than 2 weeks on a song because it starts to feel stale, and I’m even prone to ruining it. I think I want to continue on this “music production” path. Keep playing with sample libraries, make cool tracks and just stick melodies and lyrics into them. It’s completely different than what I normally do, and I think it’s a direction that I want to go in for now because it’s not fun for me to mic up instruments with my current setup. So MIDI it is!

See you next time!