This is Part 1 of my Shitty Drop series - check out the first post here.
Long Overdue Post
Wow guys - remember when I was posting consistently? That seems like a lifetime ago. Luckily, it was only about five weeks prior, and I have had five posts since I committed myself to making Shitty Drops. That averages out to about one post a week. Not the worst.
I'm happy to present a few clips of music. There is only one BnD in here, but I think I can make up for the lack of content because I'm nearly done with my first track. Hard to power through and just finish a song when it's easy to be overly critical of your own work. First, I'll show you the clips. Then if I'm still in the mood to write, I'll talk about some of the struggles I've had with entering creative mindsets as well as maintaining burn out and fatigue.
First Build-up Ever
So this clip is the first build-up I've ever created! The actual build mainly has four elements - a tom, snare, riser, and the kick. Anyway, nothing too mind blowing, but 'tis something nonetheless. The drop is just me messing around with a future bass patch.
This clip has evolved to become the foundation of my first track, which is pretty close to being compositionally complete. It sounds very, very different. And I think a lot better. Next steps will be mixing and mastering. It's going to be about 3 minutes in length - kind of wish I had scoped it to be shorter, since it's been really daunting to arrange a full song right off the bat - but I think it's going to turn out okay!
Here's a super short clip of a dubstep drop that randomly popped out of nowhere during my production session late last night. I was trying to mess around with half-time for my second drop and use a few new sounds. It's a little bit too slow to fit with the rest of my track, but I started really liking how this felt as I added a few more layers. I have an interesting idea to mix acoustic guitar elements with this drop, either mixed into the clip below or in the verses. The dichotomy of guitar and screeching bass could be really fresh and unique. Or it could sound like a muddled piece of garbage. Who knows - that's part of the fun in producing... you never know when you're going to strike gold or strike out.
Here's an acoustic riff that turned into straight electro pop. It started out as another attempt to be super meta with my bass house drop, but again - things got completely out of hand, and I'm thinking that this is going to spin off into a new song. Sang the first melody with random lyrics that popped into my head while looping this bad boy, and here's what came out.
So they say doing anything as a full-time job will ruin the fun of it. Let me tell you right now - it ain't true. Doing this full-time has been awesome.
BUT - that doesn't mean it doesn't come with it's own problems.
Here are the challenges that I face.
- Managing my own time
- Breaking through creative slumps and writer's block
- Focusing on winning small battles
- Marketing & Monetizing (for discussion in a later post)
1. Managing Time
When you're self-employed, that means that you really need to be on top of your game. There is no punishment for waking up late (except intense self-loathing), or slacking off for the entire day. There's no one enforcing a structure to your day. That means if you're not disciplined about how you manage yourself, things can quickly spiral out of control. I find that I'm happiest when I'm able to wake up early, hit the gym, eat meals at regular times, and sleep relatively early. Ya - no shit sherlock - but it's actually REALLY freaking hard for me to maintain this cycle consistently for over two weeks.
Going forward, I think it's important for me to allocate specific blocks of time separate from producing to maintain structure for my days. Not that I don't already to this... I just need to stick to it.
2. Creative Slumps
Once my psyche gets derailed from Productive Mode to Scum Mode, it's difficult to get the wheels spinning again. Overcoming the inertia of Scum Mode has proven to be at least a two day ordeal. Once you enter The Zone, it's actually quite inspiring and exciting to create something out of nothing. But when you're on the outside looking wistfully into The Zone, it's pretty easy to get discouraged and annoyed.
My solution to this has just been to suck it up and keep going forward. I watch a lot of YouTube videos and read articles about finishing tracks and workflow tips. Also a lot of self-improvement books.
Man, I just love the feeling of getting hype about DOING WORK.
YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYIN'?
3. Winning Small Battles
Similarly to working on any project (building a web app is the first thing that comes to mind *cough* Ensemble.fm), it's easy to dream big and not deliver. The simplest idea can evolve into a grandiose scheme that can (and will) lead you down a rabbit hole, bringing you not only further from your objective, but also making it difficult to return to your original spot.
The key here is scoping out smaller goals and focusing on completing these tasks. The feeling of Achievement Unlocked is a huge psychological win that can snowball into a victory machine. Allegedly. Seems to make sense though, so I'ma try it out.
That's all for today. Thanks for reading!
The Shitty Drop Guy