We scour our mailbox for the most deserving recipient of the Attack readership’s collective advice in the first experiment in crowdsourced answers to all kinds of production and creative problems. No query is too small, no question too personal…

blank ableton

This month’s problem is one that comes up time and again: how to finish a track. Let’s nip it in the bud!

Dear Attack.

Please help me. I’ve been producing for about five years. I’m generally proud of my output and I’ve had a few tracks signed. But one thing is holding me back: I’m finding it increasingly hard to finish tracks. Bizarrely, when my own standards were lower, I found it much easier. But now I find myself abandoning projects on an almost daily basis. The consequence? A hard drive full of 16-bar ideas that I’m unable or unwilling to work into full arrangements. I’ve all but abandoned my Soundcloud account as I only want to upload tracks I’ve finished. I can’t work out whether this is an inevitable side effect of higher standards or whether it’s part of a deeper malaise. I should say I’m a really good ‘finisher’ of projects in my work life – I just wish i could take the same approach to my music. 

Mark, Coventry.


Submit your questions through the contact page.

20th May, 2014


  • Is there an answer to this reader question?

  • we need article on this, cause that’s my BIGGEST [rpblem and i’m assuming a lot of people will agree with me or this guy.

  • OK Mark, here’s my advice:

    1. Let your mood dictate what you do. Sometimes you have super-creative days. On these days, work up as many 16-bar phrases as you like. Go mad. Experiment, Have fun. On other days, when you feel less inspired, it may be better to work on arrangement. It may feel harder work, but everyone enjoys some bits of creative process more than others.

    2. One thing that has really helped me is to analyse structures of tracks I love – or that work really well in club environment – and replicate these to a greater or lesser extent. I even use chart paper and different colours to map out what’s happening in the different parts and then try and follow that through on my own tracks.

    3. But overall I think this is about having the confidence to abandon tracks. If you aim for perfection you ain’t gonna finish a track ever. No great artist was ever totally happy with what they did; that’s why they carried on creating! So I would say don’t worry about 100% right. Get it to 90%. Allow yourself to come back to it for that final 5%. But don’t kick yourself about it. I bet you there are parts of the arrangement and mix that the writers think suck on even the biggest dance hits ever made.

  • Feel your pain Mark! Been there a million times. Fatboy Slim said he reckoned he finished one in 10 of his tracks. I reckon I’m around 1 in 12 or something but that’s the way it is; if you finish every track you start guaranteed you’re churning out crap. For me it’s about discipline. It may feel like eating the 50th Hot Dog in a fast food competition but I just keep going, mustard squirting out, feeling nauseous as I put a little hi-hat in here, tweaking the EQ there and finally I get to somewhere close to where I think the song needs to be. Then I abandon it and never go back. Coz there are a million and one more songs to be sung!

  • Maybe you’re focussing too much on ‘perfect’ and not enough on ‘soul / vibe / energy’. Get back to basics – the way you felt about your productions when you started out. If the world’s not hearing your music they’re missing out!

  • Discipline. Give yourself a goal and stick to it. You’ve got a good germ of an idea. Say to yourself ‘tonight and tomorrow night I have to finish’. Do that and don’t let yourself be side tracked in another production. If you fail no more beer for you.

  • Gotta say I think ^^^ is right. Even if it’s the bit you struggle with most / like least you’ve just got to get your head down. Or get yourself a ghost writer 😉

  • Nothing wrong with posting WIPs to SoundCloud. Pro account allows you to update later. It’s useful – get advice from others that you can use to *really* finish the track. Also I find it helps to have trusted circle of fellow producers who’ll give honest feedback so that you can use that too to *finish*. (But not mates – they’ll always tell you it’s awesome – or it stinks 😉 )

  • Yep, Definitely relate. Can’t say I’ve found a way through this one but seems to me that the tracks which deserve to be finished eventually *get* finished. Hwoever long that takes.

  • you have to finish all your tracks, even if its bad…..so you learn how to finish a track and not just begin….

  • What Alli wrote

  • I get stuck in the same rut when my ego is in control. If im trying to project an identity into my music I never enjoy it enough to finish it as im always comparing my unfinished work to the stuff I listen to. Chill out, pick some different genres to make, write a track for a friend that sums up their personality, buy some old groovebox and tweak it out. Anything to put a new perspective on workflow. If you cant go forward – go sideways!

  • This could be useful?? 🙂

  • audiu.net is a good place to get creative & technical advice from people who know what they’re talking about. Good for the last 20%, if you’re stuck

  • i find that if i listen to the track on fresh ears with a pen and paper, i get all the ideas i need to get me to the finish,
    now the hard part is to go through the list and do all the stuff thats on it,
    sometimes i need to put in ‘placeholders’ that are just kind of doing the thing i want, but not necessarily exactly the perfect execution of the idea.
    but at least i know that something needs to go there, and it still needs to be tweaked.

  • There are a few things you can do. Some music related some not.

    First i will help lead you through the music related helpers.

    1) Take every project you have not finished and bounce out all the audio as loops, So drums, bass, etc etc. . And save all the presets you make. And while your at it save all the channel strips and racks you make.
    This will allow you to quickly add them to a new project that they might fit perfectly into. Make sure when naming the loops to add the Key and tempo (this will really help your work flow).

    2) This is a bit of a add on from the above helper. Remix your own track. Take the loops you have bounced from a track and remix the hell out of them. Loop, process and really just let loose on the audio. You can find already having a limit resource for sound that can allow you to think very differently and can in turn create new sonics ideas that otherwise would never of came to you.

    3) Use a reference track. Dont try and remake the track just use it as a reference. So analysis where the tracks arrangement changes. When does the bass come in. In the main section how many elements are there. Do this for each section, intro, main, break etc (any time a new element is introduced). This way you already have a template to work from. In ableton you colour code them, then save the track as a channel strip for future use.

    Now down to some non music related stuff.

    1) Get away from music. It sounds like your starting to become frustrated and that is never good for the creative mind. Even just going a small walk can work wonders.

    2) Try changing your work environment. Add mood lighting. Move equipment so its easy to reach, candles anything that can help you set a mood

    3) dont plan to write a track when you know you have to be going somewhere in a hour use this time instead to make some preset or loops for later when you have more time to make music.
    So i would say its best to plan set days to finish your tracks when you know you have some un interrupted time.

    4) Try making music in new places. Take your laptop to the beach, the park where every. The rhythm of natural life may spark some idea. Who knows…

    Well i hope some of these ideas can help


  • Report
  • Listen with pencil and paper ready and write yourself production notes, things to fix or change… don’t turn it into a chore by requiring yourself to labor on a piece whether or not there’s creative flow in motion..

    Not every idea can be completed, sometimes music has its own mind… the music that wants to be made WILL be, through you, now or later or through someone else

  • Google Mike Monday Start Now Finish Fast. He has a short course packed with psychological techniques geared to help you achieve your exact objective (overcoming procrastination, developing focus, overcoming perfectionism, using habitual behaviour to get into a roll of completing music etc etc).

  • Well, I can see this is turning into a publicity thread!!! Guys, please just write your opinions and if you share videos or information form other sources, please make it USEFULL information, not some publicity stunt to push online courses!!

  • I had the same problem and we ALL have more or less the same problem. It is a habit. The key is to start creating another habit, the habit of FINiSHED WORK. So, if you want to change anything just do it step by step. In the beginning it doesn’t matter how many tracks you finish but it is important to create a new way of working. When you finish your work you have to have the feeling of something finished….then you get used to it. That’s all.

  • Be honest, that’s the best way to finish a track! A good idea will more often than not finish itself if you’ve got the technical chops to do it. I find gearing my studio to my own particular musical skills (live playing, fx routing etc.) also stops me from being bored of myself and putting the punctuation mark on stuff.

  • @AKA -. I have no direct affiliation with Mike Monday, other than I did the course, got a lot from it and saw a direct correlation in the increase in work rate. The information is offered in the spirit of helping out Mark with the question being asked . It is no way a publicity stunt, there is nothing in it for me. Its a genuine recommendation based on direct experience and entirely relevant to the question being asked.

  • @ Nick – Thanks for making this clear, my apologies!

  • – Art is always abandoned – never finished… There’s always something more you can add in. Another synth line. Another hi-hat. Learn when to stop.

    – Deadlines are incredible useful to force you to abandon something. I work 9-5 Mon-Fri. After Sun Eve/Monday morning I don’t change anything. That’s it. The thing exists at it is. Deadline has gone. No more twiddling. Move on forget about it, maybe give it a few random listens on iTunes during the week.

    – Turn off your internet connection.

    – Don’t be afraid to throw things away – synth lines, drum loops or entire tracks. Or even sell some of your gear.

    – Don’t beat yourself up about not finishing anything recently. In the end, whatever you’re doing is just practice for that time when everything comes together and just works. If you’re trying to force it to happen, generally I find, it won’t.

    – have an iTunes playlist of EVERYTHING you’ve created. 16 bar loops. Ditty synth lines. White noise. Failed tracks. Completed tracks. Stick thyme on when you’re doing the cleaning for background noise, I guarantee that you ears will pick up on something you like. Use that in your next project.

    – rg wrote a good reply above. check that one out.

    – when writing HAVE AN IDEA. not just “I want to use these samples do this”. Have a very abstract idea in the back of your mind that you want to convey, be it about a broken heart, your mother, a cereal packet.

    – have an idea of how you want to convey that idea too – so say to yourself, BoC – Sick Times type synths with loose techie rhythms or something. Having an idea AND thinking about how to convey that idea can help kickstart you.

    – completely change your workflow. Eno’s discussions on “limits” are a great example of this. Tell yourself to only do things in pairs. Or only create things by deleting. Or everything must be purple. Turn your laptop upside down. Move your studio outside. Experiment until you find a rhythm of workflow that works. This is probably the tip I find most useful.

    – Think about what will sound good – not what you think should be there. I do the opposite all the time and it holds me back. Don;t worry about what you’re supposed to do – do what you think will sound good regardless of anything else.

    – Finally, and probably the best bit of advice, have your heart broken. works fucking wonders!

  • Well that is exactly what I’m facing these days…hard drive full of 16-bars…

  • @TruthSayer haha very true

  • @AKA – no worries, on reflection I could have made that first post sound less like a marketing campaign 🙂 One of the biggest things that helped was learning basic meditation/mindfulness. Even basic meditation (lots of free online resources for this) will bring a increased level of self control and ability to focus and persist past the desire to stop creating the track before it is complete

  • Shameless plug? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiWIoAJhIcE

    It’s getting hard because it’s getting boring. Nothing is new to you anymore. Same sounds that were once exciting are not interesting. It’s becoming work to expand the idea. You can try to do the exact opposite. Try new things, and find ways to make it not like work. Go to festivals or concerts to find inspiration. Play a new instrument. If it still feels like work, you need a process…like a checklist. Just some ideas there.

  • While it’s still an issue for me (drives full of 4, 8, 16 bars long tracks), it became a bit less so after I discovered this guy/site: edmprod.com (one of my favorites besides askaudiomag.com and, of course, attackmagazine.com)- don’t know or work for him (them?), but some good stuff on there that deals with ways to attack this issue.

    One, for example, he/they call Subtractive Production – can explain it better than me – http://edmprod.com/subtractive-music-production/

    Anyway, after some reading through, I managed to bang out a whole track in a day – https://soundcloud.com/tekmonki/major-lazer-aerosol-can-tekmonkis-outside-mix – something I hadn’t done in ages!

  • PUT YOUR EGO TO ONE SIDE AND STOP WORRYING ABOUT PEOPLE JUDGING YOUR TRACKS YOU PUSSY!! after all it’s about the song not the way you spend 4 days tuning your kick and bass. The less tunes you finish the worse you’ll get at writing and finishing. Finishing is an art in itself. You’ve concentrated too long on technical so it’s made you think you should be putting out number ones every day. Guess what “WRONG’ someone shitter than u is finishing and pushing forward, makes u feel like giving up even though your production skills could probably piss on theirs. Your scared that the song you finish won’t live upto the length of time you been tweecky tweecky tweeking. Man up decide the goal and purpose of your music and push on or stop whinging. “I got writers block” boo hoo welcome to the real world. Just copy some shit for a while eg arrangements etc no one will notice and probably the average punter doesn’t give a shit. Your probably not as good as you think u are anyway if I’m wrong prove it!!!! Hang on is this about me??

  • Deadlines are awesome, and not just pretend ones that you make up in your head (i.e by next week I will finish this yadda yadda yadda).

    I have taken to entering lots of remix comps to give myself an actual real life deadline and it has really pushed me to finish tracks. Unfortunately as far as my own productions go, I abandon tracks too easily when they start to deviate from the original idea / sound I was going for! Any other ideas on how I can stick to the plan!?!

    P.S So much good advice here, keep it up guys 🙂

  • Get someone else involved who is more about finishing tracks than writing them! Teamwork is the key 🙂

  • A great way to create and finish your tracks is to “jam” them out. Layer your track with all your gear live. Have a knob and button associated with every element you want to control throughout your track. Once you’ve got your drums, synths, samples, fx, and whatever else you’ve got playing in real time, then you record the track from beginning to end! Jam it out – make it longer than normal. If you record it into a DAW like Ableton, you can chop out the boring bits, mix it down, and then you’ve got yourself a banging track.

    Nothing commits yourself more to creating a track than recording it in real time. You can’t second-guess yourself. You’re forced to create the track whether you like it or not. If the first take sucks, do it again. If the layers in the track are good and you know how tracks develop, then you shouldn’t have a problem nailing it on the first or second try. That’s how Homework and many other fantastic records were made. I encourage you to do the same.

    Live recording also lets you produce faster, which prevents you from labouring over a single track for weeks. This way you can bang out tons of tracks and pick your top 3 to send to labels.

    To get an idea of how to set up a live recording, have a look at these Fact TV against the clocks: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLg5ScSqSDXsvXVvNqW42AjfOmPjIupYZH

    A lot of these artists have gear and midi controllers linked to Ableton. They build a loop and then record live takes.

    Finally, it’s a lot easier to edit material that’s messy or boring versus creating something entirely from scratch.

  • Here is an article i wrote a couple of weeks before hope that will help some people.
    How many times do you feel lazy or maybe not in the mood for music and you really are not from the ones that “just naturally always work, never sleep, never stop?”, many people asked me about this and it can apply in anything you do either music, drawing,writing and so on.

    I often feel like this even for days, the length of the “creativity block” depends exclusively on me.So the simplest thing i do is my daily “music challenge routine” like many other producers do a lot well known or not;so if i am not in the mood i just sit down on my “maschine – mpc – ableton – (you name it)”and i decide to create and finish a track as best as i can within 30-60 minutes, and then publish it somewhere online either public or private or if you like just send it to some friends.

    And what about it? i am already feeling happier, more productive and creative and when the result is really good i feel proud and i also have a half completed track in my “backpack” to work on later, what if it sounds silly or crap, proud is the word again cause i was able to create and publish some music with no doubts, any restrictions, guilts or shame and i realise that it can’t hurt me it can only feel good accomplishing something you are committed to do and when you publish it you begin to overcome any fear related to music making.

    So if you believe less is more then this is actually the very less you can do and after a while all this will create more and more positive feelings-fillings inside of you, you only became stronger.

  • Me too…. i think its my ADD.
    So I forge on but limit my self to a worthy few projects and bounce around between those. I eventually do a full circle get back to a project that i happen to click with…i walk away if i ain’t feeling it. no sense in beating my self.

    I empower myself…..I learned to be patient with my self. When I’m churning sounds at that point in time….it may sound/ feel totally different when i listen to it at a later point in time.

    motivation…. I constantly experiment, that helps with the creative juices…find a creative pattern and just go with it. When I burn out i walk away.
    This all works for me. SO i guess i learned my work patterns and become patients with myself.
    Also, life gets busy, I find time to listen to other tracks or mixes as loud as i possibly can. Theres a lot of great tunes out there to appreciate.

    Find your work pattern and change it up. might work for you.
    Try to have a good time.

  • Start with the intro, then build forwards your break/drop. New ideas come up and you lose Some on the road. Of your track becomes boring, just take a step back and find something new. Finisch 8 bars bevorderen you go further.

    Sorry for the poot english

  • @ Matty

    Personally I love it when I completely deviate from the original plan! Music needs to be a fluid thing. What you’re actually doing is evolving the idea and the track as you go along and making it yours. Embrace it rather than fight it.

    As a case in point, I wrote an album worth of good tracks last summer. The majority of them started off with 1) what I wanted it to be about and 2) what kind of sound I was going for. The beatiful thing is that most of them ended up being different to what I was aiming for. I took an idea and developed it til it didn’t really sound like the original idea. By doing so, I placed my own character into the tracks.

    So yea embrace it! Keep the original idea in mind, but don’t stick to it as an absolute!

  • Try by Drawing your song on a piece of paper and make a list of thing you want or not and put this paper somewhere close of the screen

  • Give yourself a deadline. I started doing a “finish one track a week no matter what” deadline. It works. It doesn’t have to be the most awesome tune you’ve ever done. Just finish it. At least get the composition from beginning to end.

    Getting yourself in the PRACTICE of finishing is critical, and even if you end up doing nothing with the finished product, I guarantee you will have learned something with every finished composition.

  • There is no rush to get tracks finished. This is the biggest thing I’ve learned. It is better to produce less music of higher quality. Take your time. Keep searching. Keep trying different things out, and eventually you’ll finish the track. You’ll know when it is finished. Some times you will hit a purple patch where everything you do you finish, and other times it will be a bit slower, months, maybe even a year. Avoid saturating your Soundcloud with substandard tracks that your not happy with. That way you’ll only have your best work to choose from for public consumption. Leave them on the hard drive, revisit them in a few months, you’ll be surprised by what you hear. Also, I look through stuff i’ve recorded for other tracks, consolidated/cropped/recorded/frozen clips and i’ll find things i’ve discarded for one track work perfectly for another, and it gets the flow going again for you to finish the track.

  • Pedro`s reply did it for me and therefore I will repeat it: Pedro Wrote:
    you have to finish all your tracks, even if its bad…..so you learn how to finish a track and not just begin….

  • i was having this problem too , and then i got ableton push … this has really helped me in the building of a track using scenes rather then the arrangement view where i would find myself running a 8 bar loop for 3 hours and then the boredom would set in , i have found now I’m finishing tracks in a few days and not getting bored of them . i think that is the problem here, if you repetitivly listen to the same part of a track or just the track in general you will get bored of it and start doubting yourself . I had to change the way i worked to snap out this . mapping out all your tracks individual parts helps a lot EG- create a blank midi track and colour code all the parts (Intro- breakdown-fills-drop , etc) and then just move thru it without getting distracted by millions of presets, once all the parts are down ..then experiment . this is just what i found helped me and I’m sure everyone has their own flow . good luck and be confident , i have only just found my way out of this corner 😉

  • Buy yourself a re-writable CD… (The best thing I’ve eve done) and play your tracks in the car. Hearing your music in different environments has helped me so much.

    Open your projects and click global record and start triggering clips. Bounce them onto CD and you’ll find you’ll start to get ideas… Also, your car speakers are the best monitors you’ll ever have.

  • For me, I go from a bunch of loops to a finished track when I can force myself to start collecting ableton clips into scenes. I get loops playing that would sound good for an intro / verse / chorus, then use “capture and insert scene” (right click on scenes pane of session view). I’ll track those out into a super basic intro/verse/chorus/verse/chorusX2 pattern, then go back over it and add all the little spices: drop out the drums before a section change, move sections around, add a bridge, add synth fx, add filter sweeps, etc.

    By the time I’ve got the clips in the shape of a track, I’m way more likely to say ‘f–k it’ and hit “render audio” at some point. I always feel like it’s not finished, but often a wise person (usually my gf) will tell me I need to stop trying to add stuff bc I’m making it too busy, haha

  • The Problem I find is that in dealing with an art form you are trying to carve out an individual expression and identity out of an infinite pallet of in our case sounds, vibrations and emotional moods.

    For a painter that would be hue’s forms and light.

    Discipline, objectivity and careful thought about your goals with your music has to be the key thing in finishing music and developing a unique signature sound.

    If you know where you want to go, it’s a heck of a lot easier to learn how to get there if you don’t you could spend ages experimenting to no avail at which point one fruitlessly decides to just ‘GIVE UP’

    You must conceptualize a clearly defined goal for your art and stick to it!.

    That does not mean the concept cannot change but you must develop integrity in what you believe is right for you.

    Technically as others have suggested subtractive sequencing is the easiest way to start finishing tracks so try that.

    You could build a song from beginning to end from a 4 bar loop in about 30 mins then just remove the bit’s to make build up’s etc..

    You must like every one have many 4 bar loops take one and fill 5 mins of a sequencer window and subtract from there.

    easy peasy lemon squeezy.


  • Ouch. My stuff sounds extremely boring after a day or two

  • I really appreciate everyone’s input here. I just found this blog and it is making a huge difference because in that i am finding myself with plenty of time and no distractions to devote to production, but that came with the price of being a bit remote from the city life Im used to, and also having moved, being detached from old friends, network, and people to talk to on a daily basis in person… Reading all this really boosted my mood. Im a live electronic pa (no laptop in the end performance) and I’ve gotten tired of my old set and saddled myself with creating my new live set, like so many others, and I also want as much as possible to be sourced from analog and recorded live. Its a situation of trying to put the cart before the horse all the time and second guessing the processes. So finishing tracks can take a ton of rehearsal, which as a solo act, can turn into a therapy session of just being creative, and so ive really made myself go back to the basics from my first early days in bands….guitar players in bands often write standing up, and eventually they are in the rhythm/cycle of getting tired and sitting down after a set number of songs. So try to think like that, if you cant play guitar, then stand up at the keyboard stand, with with ableton using the stuff youve bounced out of logic, instead of sitting at the chair for hours… Think about pc gamers! they can stay soooo long sitting in the comfy pc chair. SO i have made sure that writing and production time is also spent in the mode I use to execute, standing up at he keyboard stand with samplers next to ableton, and then the rhythm of knowing when a song is moving through its life cycle becomes easier to hack through the idea. then i can go pick it apart for sound design and arrangement, but i continue to try the new take while standing up., not sitting down until the track has moved through the feeling of a cycle on the dance floor.

  • 1. Start 50 projects in one day (what you’re tempted to do).

    2. Find the discipline to delete most of them. You can play around with them for a while but make sure you are left with the ones that you can envision with the most potential.

    3. Throw yourself completely at what you’re left with and don’t dare create anything new outside of what you’re working on. It can feel like once-in-a-lifetime inspiration that you don’t want to waste, but trust me when I say you’ll have better ideas when you need to.

  • render any new element to audio as quickly as possible. that means making decisions. and making decisions is your job as a productive creative.
    rendering to audio has these effects on you:
    you force yourself to make those decisions now, instead of postponing them (forever).
    as a result, you have to more focused and give your best, because going back means many mouse clicks. more focus -> your best possible work.
    each time you render a part to audio, you reming yourself, that you are not just playing around, but that you are actually working toward finishing a track that you can upload at sound cloud at least.
    this again, should (hopefully) help you focus and give your best.

    a road block to doing this is self confidence and how much you identify with your work.
    if you identify with your performance in any area of life, that means that failure would mean that you view yourself of being worth less.
    if you can give this up, then you can focus more on the process and thereby get better results. what`s more, until you give up the idea that a not great piece of work diminishes your value as a human vein, until then you will have fear of finishing anything –because you could be confronted with something that is not up to your standards.
    this is not a problem for everybody but i think it`s a problem for many.
    and it`s a potent road block because –i think– it is the norm, that most of anyone`s creative work is not so great. most stuff has to be trashed.
    a strategy to enhance this would be to only judge a melody or chord progression until you make the decision and then render it to audio. after that focus on finishing and choose to only judge it again after it`s finished.
    it has been a killer for me personally to listen to midi-sequences i made for hours and hours, changing it marginally, also asking “is this *really* good enough to continue or should i start something new?”. this way, no matter how good an idea is, you will hate it after listening to it for too long.
    finish it as quickly as possible.
    it may not be your taste, but i think this trying too much can be seen in all the studio sessions of Deadmau5 at youtube. he has something worthwhile but then tries different synth patches and eventually gets bored and does something else.
    apparently Joel Z. (DM5) got enough stuff done to build a career.
    The way he apparently works (most of the time) however is how not to do it –that`s my estimation. he could be much more productive.

    i decided to see it like this: i try seriously to develop my ideas as best as i can at that moment. i allow myself making the decision that some part is now done, although i am aware that i cannot be sure that i will like the end result in the future. maybe the current project will be trashed. once i accept that i cannot be sure, then i can move forward.
    so my philosophy is: “i do it as best as i can. i will judge it later. if it will not be up to my standards, the work is not lost, because i will learn while making this: i will learn about EQing, arranging, how to choose sounds that work together, i will get faster using my DAW, will get to know my plug-ins better etc.” all this will help me make my next project be better.

  • Take a look at 5 of your favorite tracks (ones that you are proud of) and see what you did to “finish” those. Did you just fade everything into oblivion? Or do they finish. Take a look at some of your favorite artists and see what they did with some of your favorite music. Is there a pattern?

    Don’t be so self critical about your work. Does Madonna always crank out Ray of Light? Does Janet Jackson always give us Runaway? Of course not. But you should be having fun creating. Stressing out about creating art will get in the way of any process.

  • I’ve had this issue since the first day i tried creating and song production. It has gotten to the point where i am almost disappointed in myself looking at a 1 terabyte hard drive almost maxed out because i start a project, get a progression…and BAM a sound comes up that does not fit with this project, BUT it would be a great base to a new track…so i open up a new track, copy and paste or whtever..close out. Im back to the first track. I get to the point where i just want to get all the good sounds and ideas out so i open up the track i created on the side. This side track then becomes my main project, leading to an unfinished last production. Its a cycle that i REALLY want to get under control, it sounds like a damn drug problem lol but it really is an issue. I do have a MASSIVE amount of finished productions, but compared to the “started” tracks…its not even a fraction. If anyone has had this issue, and really found a guideline or a template or a mental break through id love to hear opinions and ideas.

  • Any advice for when your 98% done but keep tinkering!? Its driving me crazy :/

  • ^^^^^^^^^^^ ——– learn how to master properly via k metering/leveling/ make certain your monitoring the signal correctly , know your monitors ! to be attempting a 2% increase in satisfaction is a heavy task for even highly skilled mastering engineers, bottom line unless you know specifically and have a large amount of certainty that you can complete this task based on your skills/experience/knowhow id focus on being able to know when your unsure about something where to look for the answer, books/internet/other engineers. and always use a reference track.

    or pay a studio engineer to perform the tasks precisely the way you want them and then listen to it.. the key is to LISTEN or ask for help if the extra 2% is worth the money or not.. sometimes it is sometimes it isn’t but don’t put a price on the outcome of your work.

  • I can totally empathise Mark. Im going through exactly the same thing & like yourself, i had quite a few releases when i knew much less musically & production wise than i do now. I think the fact that there are so many plugins now means one never manages to master certain ones as we always think the next one will revolutionise our work. I also get torn between styles when producing. Im probably not the best person to advise you because I’m in the same situation. I agree with one of the replies above regarding working as a team. Do your bit & pass it on. I think you should arrange your vocal/melody across the arrange page & work from that so its no longer 16 bars. The problem is that we all strive for perfection & nothings good enough, that is until you accidentally play your own track that you once scrapped & then realise how good it is. I’m sure we’ve all done that. You can’t set out to write an anthem, it doesn’t work that way as I’m sure you know. I wish you luck. Take the cycle off & i will do the same.

  • What I have been doing is taking all my little 16 bar phrases, 8 bar phrases etc. and then transposing them to the same key, finding ones which fit together nicely and stick it all into one big end production. From there you just have to work a bit with the transitions & give it a suitable finish, (I recommend a rise in tension, then a big ending cadence) and you have a track! Fear not, at least 100 people have replied to this forum, and I must say you’re in safe hands. Good luck!

  • Yes, this is how i mostly set up my live sets. Using lots of old material, tracks i also finished but never liked as a full project, but containing a nice stab or kick.

  • I really needed to hear this amongst chaos of production. Its a curse n blessing, but hopefullill get over myself n just finish but know there was much to gain for a much better produced track in the future. Appreciate you sharing your experiences Peter! Take care!


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