I’m sure I probably do this every year, but, here we go, a new year, a new set of resolutions for my music-making, and I’m actually going to stick to them for more than four days this time. Although I’m sure I say that every year as well…
1. Keeping the studio tidy
Easier said than done, this one. It’s not as if we’ve got plenty of space to keep things, and there’s no way I can justify having the spare room exclusively dedicated to music (although I appreciate I do quite well with the share I get of the space we’ve got…). So, time for a clear out so it’s always a neat and creative place to be, and I can get from the door to my desk without tripping over yesterday’s shoes. Which neatly brings us to…
If I’m not using a piece of gear regularly, it needs to go on eBay. I can dearly do with the space back (see above) and a few extra pounds makes all the difference (and will probably bring in an order of magnitude more than any record sales and royalty payments). Keep an eye out for some bargains soon!
Cut them down! I don’t need one alias for house music from 118 – 123 bpm, and then another one from >123 – 130 for example. Slim them down, and keep them all busy.
4. Not working on too many things at once
Part of this fits in with the above, but, come on, hopping about between 13 active projects? That’ll be why I’ve hardly finished a track in the last couple of years. Now, it’s great when you’re working on a track, you try something and it sounds great, just not for that song, so you do a save as and start another project, but from now on, no more than 3 active songs – enough for a single – at a time. It gets finished, or it gets deleted. 2018 will be the year for making albums.
More of a guitar one than a production one this – and this is one I definitely say every year – but I need to practise, not just play. Even if it’s just 2 minutes of finger exercises each time I pick up a guitar, it all helps. I think I need to do a bit more than that now though, let’s make 2017 the year of two 15 minute sessions a week of working on some scales.
6. Buy more records – and listen to them!
It was listening to music that made we want to start making music, but I hardly seem to do that any more. Definitely more time for music listening this year. An hour in my armchair with my headphones on, my feet up, with a whisky and a six-pack of Bakewell tarts.
7. Not rushing to finish things…
Just because I find a couple of hours – usually 1 am to 3 am – to spend making music, that doesn’t mean I need to finish it there and then. Once the studio – such as it is – is tidy and inspiring (see above), I’m hopeful it will be easier to find half an hour a day or every second day to spend some time in there, so there goes the pressure to finish everything when you get the rare chance to make some music.
8. .. but also working through to completion
Having said that though, I also want to make sure that I actually get around to finishing the tracks I start. The ones that look like they might turn out respectably at least.
The hopeful result of points 3, 4, 7 and 8, I want to have a couple of singles released this year at the very minimum, although it would be nice to get an EP in there as well. Whatever comes out, and wherever it goes, I’d rather have two singles for free download on Soundcloud than 73 unfinished projects sitting in half a dozen various artist folders on my hard drive.
I collaborated with someone on an electronic project for the first time in ages last year, enjoyed the experience and learned a lot. More of that I think.
11. Get a proper chair
My back hurts. I want a proper chair. It’s so easy to justify buying gear, but being comfortable in the studio can make all the difference to your creativity and productivity. While I would love to grab me some Herman Miller action, I think a trip to Ikea for a Flintan in the not too distant future may be worthwhile.
12. Play and perform, don’t program
I’ve got a good few controllers, so why do I sit and program everything on the timeline with a mouse? Laziness probably. Time to get more things mapped and jam that automation out instead of drawing it in!
13. Play more acoustic guitar
I have a Faith Saturn Hi Gloss, which is lovely, but I really need to play it more. And more betterer (atrocious grammar used for emphasis). My rhododendrons should be flowering in March and the azeleas not long after. It would be nice to sit out in the garden and pick out a few Townes Van Zandt tunes on the patio.
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