10 essential tips… 20 mistakes… 30 production secrets and so on, such lists seem to be really popular these days. Although many of them are just full of crap. Especially forget about the longer checklists – even if you could find some good advices there, most tips are just nonsense, like “don’t mix bass with headphones”.
Anyway, to you aspiring producer, here’s a few things I think you should care about:
Limiting yourself can help drive creativity. Don’t use all of your instrumental arsenal at once, don’t try to cover all music styles in one track.
Listen to different styles of music and try to identify what you like and what you dislike.
Analyze your favorite artists’ work in great detail. Theorize with both feet on the ground.
Go ahead and copy other artists, but don’t settle there – tweak and add your own style and flavor.
Cover, remix and remake your favorite tracks, it’s a good and fun way to learn about music.
Use reference tracks, compare your shit to others, but don’t get paralyzed when your track doesn’t bang as loud as them.
Learn about synthesis and learn how to sound design different kind of instruments, e.g. strings, plucks, percussion (make synthetic drums using waveforms, a noise generator, filters, envelopes and such).
Check your music productions on several systems; from high-end studio monitor speakers to iPhone earbuds.
Sleep on it. Let your track mature over night and return to it with fresh ears.
Go hardware, get tactile if you are growing tired of a software-based environment. To actually play an instrument or to turn a real knob is really something else.
Get inspiration from collaborations with other artists. Just reach out to people you admire – this is globalization, this is the time of teh internetz.
Try to keep passionate about creating music, but don’t be afraid to make some demands of yourself, just to push things forward.