Hi, I’d like to have a discussion where we can share experiences of what has worked well for us in terms of combinations and setups of gear used and with workflows for creating and performing music.
I love music tech, hardware and software, and over the past few years I’ve had fun trying out a bit of everything, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent to me that when it comes to fullfillment, enjoyment and actually producing music, once you get past a certain point, unless you have a very specific goal in mind, more gear and more options actually equals more headaches and less musical output.
I’d like to tick a few boxes:
- I’m looking to maximise the enjoyment and satisfaction of making music.
- I want it to be straightforward to create finished tracks that I’m proud of and which sound unique to me.
- A setup which can be dipped into with a minimum of startup time as and when free time crops up.
- A significant part of the process should be portable and able to be done anywhere, ideally in a way that can be performed either live or recorded as a video.
I feel like I’ve constantly chopped and changed both gear and workflows over the past few years and that’s good cos I don’t get stuck in any ruts and am constantly in investigative exploration mode, but it’s bad because I don’t get to learn anything deeply and the techy work of researching, updating, linking, syncing and rearranging can be really significant, especially so with something like modular where there can be so many individual components and relationships to consider.
It strikes me that there’s a sweet spot of a few pieces of gear that really gel together, and if you try to progress and improve on that and add more functionality and more possibilities, things get more complicated and actually less enjoyable and productive. It’s impressive to see huge studios chock-full of gear all wired in and ready for action, but in a way I’m more admiring of those producing music on very sparse or basic setups with just 1 or 2 pieces of kit that they obviously know inside out.
Or maybe a workflow process can be the key? I’ve seen people break the process into sections and treat exploration and sound design as a totally separate process to that of producing a finished track. That sounds sensible, but I can’t work out how you can then play and perform a track, unless you’re essentially just triggering samples?
So what has worked well for you?
Is it the more gear the merrier? Or did you actually have most fun with just a phone app? Can you produce finished tracks in 1 go or do you mostly enjoy making a load of funky noises to use later?