I did a lot of listening this month. I listened to the Beatport top 10. I listened to a Tomorrowland selection of 50 songs chosen by the Chainsmokers which was intended to exemplify the songs that will be played at Tomorrowland in Georgia next month. I went through the top picks of radio promoter sinternet from their new music page on sinternet.com. I also checked out new music from blogs Edm Sauce and Dancing Astronaut as well as numerous other blogs which you can find by visiting my Twitter page.
In my humble opinion you should listen to music for at least the same amount of time as you make music. That's because the intricacies of today's sound palate are a vast ever-changing world. Listening without intensity wastes a lot of time. As you listen to a piece of music there can be dozens of layers playing at one time. If you only listen to one particular part of the song, such as the vocal, you might have to listen to the record from start to finish several times. If, however, you listen to as many parts as possible while the track plays you can get more accomplished. Let’s imagine you start by logging the specific pattern and sound of a repetitive part such as the snare, you can then quickly move your attention to the next part such as the kick and so on. By doing that you cover a lot of ground on the first play through. I also deconstruct the melodies and score them so I may refer to them in the future. As I do that I can identify common patterns. When I first did this it was a game-changing moment for me. I discovered that there are families of rhythmical patterns that are commonly found in my genre. There are certain rhythms of melodies that sound good and are used repeatedly. Once I started deconstructing other people’s music, making my own music became so much easier for me.
Personally I like to listen intently to a record all the way through just once and move onto the next record because there is so much music out there. It also gives me more of an incentive to concentrate because if I miss something it's gone forever. I close my eyes. In fact I put my hands over my eyes and lean forward with my elbows on my desk. I find that to be the best way to maintain concentration. I remain aware of my level of concentration. When my concentration lags I get up to make tea or do something else. I can only listen to a few of records in a row before my concentration lags at which point I take a 5 to 10 minute break.
Once I have finished a record I mix it by listening to other commercial works. I find a commercial record which is more or less in the same genre and I listen intently to that entire record without stopping it, sometimes twice. I listen out for the detail of its arrangement and sound design as well as the big picture visceral effect and the overall sound/fullness of the master. Once that is done I go back to my record which I listen to with the same intensity. I ask myself whether it compares in every respect. I like to do this with a bounced copy of my work so I am not tempted to stop the record at any point to make an adjustments.
That’s my thought process when it comes to listening.
I'll be back soon and in the meantime feel free to check out new content on my website www.mackiemusic.com and subscribe to my blog! Enjoy! xo