Making a hit

The title of this article might be misleading: if you came here in hopes of learning how to make a hit step-by-step, you're going to be disappointed. The good news though is, I can shed some light on how – based my experience – a track becomes a hit. I frequently...

Self-Sabotaging Your Music Career

"I was working on a track and it was going so well; people were leaving me a lot of great comments. I continued working on it for a while but started hating it. I deleted it and blew myself up...I often do." In many past posts I've mentioned that many people...

More tips about working with samples in Ableton

Recently I was doing some mixing and I came across multiple projects in a row that had some major issues with regards to working with samples in Ableton. One of them is a personal issue: taking a loop from a sample bank and using it as is, but there's no...

Creating organic sounding music with mixing

I'm always a bit reluctant to discuss mixing on this blog. The biggest mistake people make in mixing is to apply all the advice they can find online to their own work. This approach might not work, mostly because there are so many factors that can change how you approach...

Becoming a professional musician

Back in 2002, I received a government grant for a European tour. For me, this was the beginning of the process of becoming a professional musician. A lot of Canadian arts and music are funded by the government; if you're organized and a resourceful, you can get funding. I was...

Music experiments: creating your own inspiration

In this post, I discuss using music experiments in your workflow and inspiration in general. I don't know if it's just me, but lately I've noticed how software companies have been using "inspiration" as the key work to sell anything and everything. I'm seeing this in other fields too, not...

Design Thinking for Music Production

If you work in a field concerned with visual design, you probably have been reading a lot about Design Thinking. In this post, I will describe how I use design thinking for music. If you haven't heard about design thinking before, here's a definition: "Design Thinking is a design methodology that...

Finding a record label: is it worth it anymore?

Over the last 6 months, in talking with many people I work with and based on my own personal experience, I'm starting to notice that many of us (us, being musicians) feel that we haven't "made it" if we haven't signed something to a label. 20 years ago this may...

Avoid setting music goals and work on your system instead

Early each year, I hear about people setting music goals. We tend to see the action of setting goals as something that keeps us driving towards a precise destination. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I've done goal-setting for years, but I realize now that years where I was the...

Reverb tips and tricks

In this post, I'll cover a variety of reverb tips and tricks. If you've been following this blog or know me, you'll know that reverb is one of my favorite effects and that I use it a lot. Quite a lot. As an early lover of dub techno – where...

Tips for getting your music heard

After the reactions to my compilation of tips for music production, I've been asked to provide some advice on getting your music heard, and potentially getting it signed to a label. When you make music, one of the first things you crave is for the whole world to hear your...

Production tips to wrap the year

This year is almost over and I wanted to thank everyone I worked with for trusting my services to give their music an added edge. I think it's the first year I can feel that I'm finally surfing the waves that took a while to get together, but now things...

Setting up your mix bus

In this post I'll offer some tips on setting up a mix bus for use in your projects; but first we should clarify what a mix bus actually does. I often see confusion about the definition of a mix bus (not to be confused with the amazing DAW Mixbus by...

Is sampling wrong?

Sampling in electronic music involves two main types: using another person's idea (e.g. using a harpist's melody for your deep techno song, or sampling electronic music that isn't yours) and using prefabricated samples for making your song. As time goes on, I read and hear about more and more debates regarding...

Getting feedback on your music

This is a more a personal, editorial blog post about music feedback which I've been wanting to write for a while now. All year – mainly through our community we are building on Facebook – people have been posting their tracks to receive feedback and validation about their work. It can...

Tips to add movement and life to your songs

One of the most popular topics in music production is with regards to making music feel "alive" by creating movement in music. While I already covered this topic in a past article, I'll focus today on tools you can use and some techniques you can also apply to create movement. First, let's...