In every part of your journey as a music producer, you may be told things that other producers or you may come to believe yourself, that are complete misconceptions. Here are some misconceptions, or lies, that you need to stop believing as fast as you can:
4 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. “You can fix a bad song with a good mix & master”. No, you can’t! Imagine the composition is worth 100 points, and mixing and mastering are worth 1.1 points, your music is the multiplication of both of these. For example, a bad song (0-20 points) with a perfect master (1.1 points) is worth at most 22 points. At the same time, the perfect song (100 points) with a lousy mix and master (0.3 points) is worth 30 points as well. Mix and master can indeed help your song become better and it is a really important step that can ruin a track if done poorly, but the core of your song is the composition, the arrangement, and the sound design. Therefore, before investing time in mixing and mastering, make sure people are also complimenting your songs for the structure, how it feels, and the vibe of the song, since that’s the stuff you can’t fix with a perfect mix and master.
2. “You need fancy plugins or gear to make good music”. The winner of my last remix competition, Merkie, used only stock and free plugins to make his song, mix and master it, and he donated all his prizes to other people in the competition. There are so many amazing plug ins, that either come with your DAW or are totally free, that are available for you to make great music, using only these tools. We tend to think that ‘if only I had that compressor’, or ‘if only I had studio monitor or acoustic treatment’, my song would be amazing, But that is mainly our programmed consumerism talking, and you should be listening more to the artist within, not the consumer. Paul Arcane, released on Anjunabeats, only used a pair of computer speakers when producing songs that were signed on Armada, Enhanced, and many other labels, and that didn’t stop him. Do they help? Of course, they do, but you don’t NEED them. Invest in knowledge, and courses that will make your music production better and you’ll go further than any plugin could make you go.
3. “You need to focus on making quantity over quality”. That sentence is true, but it’s not complete. You need to focus on quantity AND quality, period. When you’re developing as a producer, you need to focus on finishing music and finishing fast since every song will make you better and staying stuck on one song won’t do you any good. At this stage, the focus should be to get better and develop your skills. Then, as you develop, you need to keep the ‘finishing music’ focus, but also on developing quality music every time because competition is high and an ‘OK’ song just won’t cut on these days. Feeling the pressure? Well, that’s where the quantity comes in. It will be a lot harder for you if you finish 10 songs for 10 releases rather than if you finish 26 songs for 10 releases. With quantity, not only your quality will shine, but your pressure will lower, which makes you free to experiment and try new things on your songs, something that could actually make you finally stand out and develop your ‘own sound’.
4. “You need a lot of releases and a big following to be signed by major labels”. As mentioned by Anjunabeats A&R, Adrian Armendariz, it certainly helps to have releases and a following, but the music speaks for itself most of the time for you to be able to sign at Anjunabeats. For example, Ben Bohmer’s first release on Anjunadeep was on his fourth EP, when likely he didn’t have much of a following going. Another example, one student of mine has several songs being considered by Anjunadeep, and he has only had one release so far, and that didn’t stop Anjuna from considering him. For that to happen to you, first, you will need a killer song that will stand out from the crowd. Producing what others have already done or something too similar to a famous artist will not be the way to go. In addition to a killer song, networking will be another plus for you to be able to reach the labels A&Rs, something you can do (1) by networking with artists in the industry who could introduce you to labels A&Rs, (2) by going to events and networking with the label staff. Focus on making amazing music and meeting people in the industry and that’s what will get you eventually to major labels.
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
What are other lies in the industry that you need to forget?
1. Mastering will solve a bad mix. Most of the issues in a mix will only be intensified in the mastering process, not solved. Therefore, the central part of a good master is a good mix.
2. You need to learn music theory. While it also helps to learn music theory, Audien has stated he has a very limited understanding of musical theory, and he has 2.2 million monthly listeners. So, no, you don’t need music theory.
3. You should never boost an EQ, only cut. When doing a 2db cut at 1000hz and raising the volume in 2db, it could be said you’re boosting all other frequencies but 1000hz, right? Don’t be afraid of additive EQ! Subtractive EQ can cause you the same harm if you don’t have a purpose for what you’re doing.