Welcome to the second edition of Mind Over Music and this one will act as a follow up to the last weeks Producer’s Corner. If you haven’t checked out that yet, be sure to give it a read here. We went in detail on what sound design actually is, and how you can improve at the art of designing sounds. In today’s article we’ll talk about how you can develop your own sound, which is not totally aimed at sound design, but in general will help give tips about what you can do to leave your personal touch in your tracks.
Developing your own sound just won’t happen all of a sudden. It's not like you think of something and immediately it will translate in your next track. This might be debatable but getting anything right and exactly according to your vision takes time, patience a being true to yourself and your inner creative force. Just listen to the tracks by any artist(s) you admire and write down what you feel is staying cohesive in every single track. This, in layman terms is known as sound of the artist, which obviously they got after years of experimentation and practice.
When you’re starting out it’s really easy to get lost amongst the amount of ideas you get after hearing the amount of music that is coming out every single day. You might feel like, “damn, this stuff bangs, imma make somethin’ crazy af like this,” but you end up making something that sounds way too generic. Instead how you should approach this feeling like is, say to yourself “damn, I really dig the energy in this part of this song and how it continues for the rest of the track! I’ll make something that has my taste and will carry the energy like this song.”
By doing this you’ll feel way less lost and a lot more motivated and positive. Also, the end product will be true to your vision and artistic sense and would speak for what actually is going on in your head. Also to point out, if you have one single trick/sound, anyone can copy that eventually and that is bad for you and your career, so just know your production game inside out and keep on learning new things, combine different tricks etc to keep your sound and yourself evolving.
So with that being said let's talk about how you can develop your own sound. I’ll go over three points that I think are pretty straight forward and effective enough to help you properly reflect your artistic sense.
1. Save & Reuse Your Racks
It might sound real basic, but if you haven’t been doing it, I strongly recommend to do this. You spend so much time making a sound and doing some heavy post processing on it. Why don't just save the whole audio effect rack and maybe use the same setting on a different sound in another project? Keep on repeating this and you’ll start building up a sense of familiarity for your sounds which will help you way more than just that. Consider this as a preset for your post processing chain.
2. Try To Be Edgy
Current dance music scene is way too saturated and for anyone trying to come up, they have to bring something new to the table. It can be anything really, new sounds, new kind of arrangement etc. But you have to do it in a way that sounds original and organic instead of some gimmick trying to gain something for short period of time. This can be achieved by many ways, for example, you can draw inspiration from the top 10 tracks that you find have been really driving & inspiring you lately. Try molding ideas gained from those tracks in your own personal way to make something new. Sampling can also be a great way to add some old school stuff into current songs. Record foley’s and manipulate them totally to use them as percussions or layers for your drums. The possibilities are endless, you just have to put your mind to it.
3. Reverse Engineer With A Sprinkle Of Your Thought
Reverse engineering can do wonders for you if you can put the knowledge/tricks learned during the process in the right use. No one is a genius, people just keep on evolving constantly. When you reverse engineer a patch or even a preset bank, if you will, try writing down things that you learned. Then try to think of some counter for those things in terms of what if I don’t use that effect a something else instead or what if I totally change the values? There are million possible routes that you can take, just gotta make sure they speak in relation to your artistic sense and how you feel about that sound.
Well, these were some tips that I find can be useful on the road to finding and developing your sound. You have to be open minded and keep on learning new things and improving your mistakes constantly and with the amount of resources that are available, there is no possible way your can be stopped if you put the needed time, effort and hard work into it. Hope this helps you in some way or the other. Keep on producing & moving forward!!