When you can't stand your own music

When you can't stand your own music
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#21

Why not?
I’ve worked with drummers that will just come in and track and all you need to do is pull up faders. Some of the producers/engineers I’ve worked with actually tracked exactly how they wanted to hear the finished product so in essence by the time all the overdubs were done the song was mixed as they wanted to hear it.
I can go on giving examples…


#22

You are not in a position to make an apparently factual statement about what happens when working with most professionals because you don’t have that experience.

The experience I have is that every person I have ever recorded - pro, amateur, or in between has needed EQ to improve the quality of the recording, so I think it’s highly unlikely that process will be different simply on the basis of you declaring it to be so.


#23

Oh, so we’re talking now who’s more pro? I concede - I’ve moved to better paying jobs about 10 years ago, so I am strictly amateur hobbyist at this point and you can’t drag me to work full time in a commercial studio even if my life depended on it.

I am not saying that you don’t need simple massaging on a few things, but if you know what you’re doing while you’re producing you should be able to mix as you go. Like I said, there were producers I’ve worked with that tracked as they wanted it mixed, printed to tape. Sure, there were little things that were massaged here and there, but mostly what got tracked was all.

Since you don’t believe me, I’ll give an example of engineer/producer Quorthon (Bathory).
He basically just pushed faders until he got the levels right. To me, his work sounds like dogs*it but he sold a ton of it and even managed to start 2 genres in the process.


#24

No, we’re talking about the difference between fact and fantasy. Have you worked with most pros? If not, then your statement is not valid, because you have no way of knowing what happens when you work with most pros.


#25

Most pros? I need a list as I am not sure what you mean?


#26

Retracted. I misinterpreted your original statement. Sorry about that.


#27

Lol agreed that 7-8 years is nuts, but you must have missed the part about us getting together once a week to write and produce every aspect of the album. We weren’t being tedious, there’s just only so much you can get done from 8-11 and then there were weeks we didn’t get together at all…so thinking that way, 8 years can fly right on by.

Getting back to what you said about “immediacy”, in certain situations, I couldn’t agree more with you. Sometimes you just get that magical thing where less is more and you put it to bed. That’s how my writing partners always felt.

But, sometimes with a few listens you CAN actually make things better and I really feel it’s worth it to give it a shot on any song just to see what comes out. Worst case scenario, you grab the ideas and use them for something else, ya know?

We have two songs out of the 15 that just sounded good right from the initial idea. But, I felt the melodies could be better and since I’m the guy singing them, I have to live it and believe in it to make others believe as well. I left the songs alone but the new melodies took them to an entirely new level that my writing partners loved as well.

So I think the thing here is, knowing when to say when while at least throwing a few things on the table just in case you happen to bring things to another level. By all means if something is good and you hear and feel the magic, you’re probably done. But if you are the creator and own the studio, it only costs a few bits of time to explore a few new things. There is no right or wrong as long as you get something accomplished that makes you happy. :+1:


#28

I just listened to some of the music being described above, and I am extremely impressed with the performance and recording, but the songs themselves, not always so much. @Cristina, your songs are always so heartfelt, intimate, serious? I do not hear Danny’s virtuoso guitar or anything, I hear a well crafted lyrical song idea set to a catchy lovely melody. Danny, for example, and not to pick on you by any means, spends years focusing meticulously on one nuance fix at a time until he gets something sounding exactly the way he wants it in his mind, which is cool, but to the fan it is not always obvious what the improvements were, especially after a point.

And Cristina, that is the same with your songs, too. Once one has incorporated all the key elements into the song, including the ending, you could cut it off and declare it done as no one is going to easily notice whatever more you think it needs. They are not going to like or dislike it any more to any significant degree.

That’s what is done here! There is plenty of room for all styles of musicians and music, and I am convinced everyone is benefiting from the exposure. I’m not going to make music that sounds like you or vice versa because we have different sets of skills, musical and engineering. And different sets of equipment and software. And different collaborators. So I’d say don’t be afraid to talk to anybody, but understand who you’re talking to.

But the bottom line on songs is the focus on the next one. What could it possibly be after that last one? Often at that time it is unimaginable, unless you’ve been replaying or humming some riff in your mind. So for me, the creation of a new song is fun, even though I burn through bad song ideas like everybody else, so I guess the specifically enjoyable part is discovering a good song part, a sound/hook/vibe/lyric thing, and then assembling those parts into a potentially cohesive song. I rely a lot on happenstance, fiddling around and liking things. And it is when those parts start to become this new song, this song that never existed before, even if it might sound like other songs to a great degree. And I keep having fun until I have a listenable, uniquely identifiable song, as polished as I can get it at that point.

And most of the time I have to let it loose before it is everything it could be because I do not have the ability to do what I can imagine the song doing (like a Danny guitar solo!). However, when I collaborate, such as with @ingolee and @Stan_Halen as the Interstellar Fur Traders, we get to take the song development quite a lot further. It trades total control and responsibility to the song for a better and possible unforeseen song, and I find I enjoy that a lot also, maybe because I learn so much in the process. But the price you pay is you have to be patient while the creative juices ebb and flow of not just oneself.

But I do the same as you all, listening a thousand times to a new track. And that does burn me out on the song. It tells me it’s time to move on into the unknown once again. And it takes those next new songs to make it easy to fairly listen to that older one.


#29

Hey Cristina,
You being one of the smartest gals on the planet (in my experience) I’m surprised you haven’t seen the solution…
… Cristina’s punk period begins…

S


#30

I think I’ve been misunderstood again. Lol! I didn’t take it as picking on me at all. I absolutely understand what you are saying and agree with you. In my own defense, I really didn’t do anything meticulously to be honest. My hurdle was, I actually play every instrument on my album in real time (no programming or sequencers) and had huge shoes to fill on drums and bass.

I tracked all guitars including solos in 2 weeks, vocals and back ups in a month and mixed all 15 songs this month. I’m crazy with with undo/record though. My hand is in a permanent ctrl/X or Z and I can punch in about 25 takes of anything in a one minute span. Sometimes more. In an hour it could be 400 punch ins. But I look at it this way, which was my meaning of my initial post…

If you are an artist and seem to get the eyes wrong in a picture you are drawing or painting, it will ALWAYS bother you unless you fix it. Case in point, my first world wide released album makes me cringe due to the production being horrendous.

Granted, I recorded it in 96 using tape and was clueless as an engineer at the time and didn’t even own my business yet, but each time I hear that album, it bothers me so bad, Steban. So much so that in 2008, I started to rerecord it. I lost so much production time from the label wanting to release it so bad, it simply wasn’t ready. Instead of me putting up a bit of an argument, I went with it as it was and have a major regret. I love the songs and how I played on some things, but on others I could have done a way better job. And the production…man, not very good at all by today’s standards. But it helped me to where I am today so not all was lost.

I too think being too meticulous can ruin things just like you said. Sometimes it can mess up the natural flow of how a song presents itself. If anything with my new album, I’ve stayed away from that. I only really worked things that I felt really needed to be worked. I tried to add a little of the cool “take you on a journey” things we heard on albums of the 70s with a more.current sound. In the past with me it was more keeping the song at 4 minutes and thinking with a pop mentality.

And you’re right…most people will not even notice we worked on something tirelessly. I remember a friend of mine watching me do a solo for an instrumental I was working on for Fractal Audio (I’m endorsed by them and put out videos from time to time) and he said “you sat here for an hour doing this. I can’t tell the difference from take 1 to take 265!?”

I think the thing there is, artistic vision. Others don’t need to see or hear the differences, but we can. If a certain nuance bothers you, it will always bother you until you fix it. I sang a vocal track to a song on the new album that was really good by my standards. I went back and listened to the pre-production version, and the little first take pre-production was better than my 50 takes of the good one.

The flow was there, the vibe was there, the delivery was there and my voice was there. The differences were astonishing as well as one being done as a smoker (the pre-production) and the other nearly 7 years smoke free. It’s been quite a mountain to climb simulating my old smokers rasp in my new clean voice. But after some work, the new album version destroys the pre-production. So, though it was hard and I did good, it wasn’t good enough and I bettered it.

My father had two really good quotes he used to use that I always apply musically:

  1. Some days you eat the bear, other days the bear eats you. Lol!

  2. Throw crap against the wall enough times, sooner or later it’s gonna stick to that wall. :slight_smile:


#31

Yeah, as an artist the hardest thing is to let them go. I’ve done some things in the past where a part of my solo, or vocal line or something else makes me cringe, but the general public, 99% of the time glazes over that, they don’t notice it.
I’ve also been guilty of kicking things around - took 7 years for my last band to finish off and record songs that were written in 2013. They finally saw the light of day in 2013. We had to fire our drummer at the time as he was dragging the completion and couldn’t play them properly and get a session drummer to pull it off but we did it. I won’t do it again! Now, I am giving things 2 year span, tops.
@Danny_Danzi I think you just need to partner with someone of a “producer” capacity or a “panel” to call things done sooner, even with meeting once a week, 7 years is a lot of time. I am surprised you remembered how to play these songs towards the end :slight_smile: For the most part I’ve forgotten most of the things I did 3 years ago and have to relearn them.
I am just kidding, but seriously, work on letting them go sooner, we all need to.


#32

The problem. Is, you can’t let go of what isn’t done. I’m not overworking or hanging onto anything. The little artistic things I do don’t take long. The hardest thing was first finishing the album writing, then actually recording. My actual recording and mix time has been relatively short. I’ve learned to let go of songs long ago. But in my particular situation THIS time, the writing took forever because we DIDN’T always get together once per week. Sometimes we missed a whole month.

From there, I had to condition myself to play bass and drums like the guys that were no longer with me. That was one of the biggest challenges of my life. So, this time, it was more finishing everything and being able to perform to the best of my ability more than not letting go. But I agree with you completely. :slight_smile:


#33

Im just sliding by on this one with only a passing interest, but as my browser randomly started playing “Surrender by Scrollkeeper” when I clicked on this thread… and I dont want to critique peoples stuff or anything, but this quote is pretty much RIGHT on the money. :wink:

well put, Danny :beerbanger:


#34

And that just scared the crap out of me. LOL! I don’t usually visit here on a computer. For some reason, the video didn’t auto play through my phone, but it played here. Haha!

Yeah, I’ve always been a believer that, if you can’t sell the song with your performance, belief in yourself, the melody and the actual execution, no one else will buy into it either. Ever see a real crappy band live that put on such a good show/presentation, the crowd bought into it and actually excused their poor playing? I’m not saying to DO that, but, a show is the other part of the performance, which is why this is “the entertainment business.” It all walks hand in hand really. :slight_smile: :beerbanger:


#35

I can really speak to this subject, because I experienced a lot of ups and downs before just recently finally completing my first full length album:

I found the secret was simply to be patient - patient with myself and with the process. If I found myself overdoing a song and getting tired of it and feeling uninspired, I’d just leave it and do something else for a while. Then, when I was feeling more motivated, I’d come back to it with fresh ears.

The break would help me to re-evaluate what I had done, and more often than not, the minutia that had bugged me previously would come back into perspective.

TBH, the hardest bit was the final push to release…Feeling that all the hard work had been done, then realising there was a pretty intense flurry needed to get it across the finish line… That had nothing to do with performing, recording or mixing, though.

It’s a tall order to do all of these processes that would usually be farmed out to specialists on your own. Given that I had access to the funds to get assistance with all the various stages of making an album, I wouldn’t hesitate to do so, now that I have the long-term view of the whole process.

In the end, I’m really glad I persevered, because I learned so much, and improved in so many different areas. In the end, I’m pretty happy with it.


#36

It’s not usually a problem for me. I’m always listening to and focusing on the individual parts. I don’t really start to ‘hear’ the song until the end when I take my producer’s hat off.


#37

Bitter sounds great, dude! I’m going to check more tracks out later. It has an Americana Eagles/Bryan Adams/Bottle Rockets vibe so far, sounds radio ready for mainstream consumption. But no matter what kind of music one makes, it is nigh impossible to do it all as well as by “farmed out” specialists, nor as fast, nor as expert, but you might get some editorial control that you like whilst learning quite a lot. Your patience paid off!


#38

My problem is related to yours, it’s not that I hate it before it’s finished - I usually get it to a place where I really love it. Then a little time goes by and I listen to it again and it sounds painfully bad. The issue is, as I learn more and more about recording, I hear everything I did wrong in the first place. It puts me in a place where I’m only ever briefly satisfied and then I want to re-record the whole thing start to finish. So, it’s a slightly different issue but it seems we end up in a similar place. One day, either my recording chops, playing chops, ears and brains are all going to live on one harmonious plane… or maybe I’ll just eventually be able to afford one of you fine pros to finally capture what I’ve been chasing :slight_smile:


#39

That is my experience almost every time.


#40

It’s super frustrating! How many times can I redo my work?! It creates a secondary problem where I lose time writing new stuff too.