Just wanted to share with you some of my thoughts I had when remixing Tiesto's 'Work Hard Play Hard' tune, for Tiesto Remix Competition. Ok, I didn't win and some of you would probably say that it's another pop, Guetta, Avicii-like crap :) But still I wanted to create such crap and for the first time (when it comes to music) I actually felt like a winner. I managed to create the full track which for some reason is always a pretty tough task to me - about 99,9 % of my musical ideas are never finished.
Looks like I'm not as creative as I thought ;) My general advice is - if you have problem with finishing your own songs then it might be not a bad idea trying some remix competitions. I don't know why but strict deadline works for me. Also some ready to go remix stems help to quickly find some inspiration. For example in this remix competition I only required vocal to find some inspiration - the rest is a "total" remix.
I also learnt (seems obvious) that the more tracks I complete, the better I am when it comes to arrangement, optimizing my workflow, choosing "good" plugins and eventually creating some kind of a base template / framework.
So, what's the basic template of a guy who praise free, cheap plugins, samples on Vst Cafe ? :) Well, I think that there are some things we really need to pay for, and I believe that a good DAW is one of these things. Free DAW can just hurt our workflow too much. After all, it should be all about having some good time and fighting with GUI, bad workflow is not a good time ;) So, I use Ableton Live (second hand copy :) ).
As effects I mostly use Ableton effect plugins but there are some freebies too. ADT - Artifical Double Tracking plugin was used to quickly make the vocal stereo / wide and Sonic Faction Whoosh Machine (it's actually more like an instrument rather than FX) was used for rising noise effect (nice tool if you want to have rise and falls FX fast).
For the main lead part I used commercial plugins only. That piano flavour comes from second-hand Truepianos copy - it's not the most realistic souding piano plugin but for some reason it works nicely when using layered sounds. Then there is one instance of Cakewalk Z3TA+ which was available for quite a long time for 20 $ and two instances of Toxic Biohazard which was available, during some promotion, for 49 $. The bassline is 100 % Cakewalk Z3TA+ (two instances). Presets come from my own soundbanks available at www.designasound.com so it's a freebie ... for me ;) For you it's more like 2x 13 $.
Drum samples come from some commercial sample libraries (I don't remember names - it's like from time to time I try to buy some sample libraries and I'm slowly building my "drum resources library") and that's pretty much it.
So what's the point of this blog entry ? I don't know ;) Maybe it's: the more you compose, the more you learn. Or: while good DAW is really preferred, the other piece of software (plugins) can be free, cheap, expensive and it really doesn't affect you too much - we can live without the "expensive" option ;) Ok, I didn't use Synth1 for example but I can easily imagine doing it. But first I would need to scroll through 9000 presets to create my own, custom, favourite bank. It's a real time saver - when completed you won't need to scroll through 9000 presets, but through ie. 200-300 presets suited for your needs. I have such favourite banks in Z3TA+ 2, Toxic Biohazard, Novation V-Station and that's probably the reason why I use these synths the most.
So, just listen to the track - I'm curious how many views it will have. Not that I care too much but I do like experiments ;)