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Does making music stress you out?


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Guest Chesney

 

I have been sending demos to labels for 20 years, and I'm 35 now.  Do I still want to release an album I can be proud of?  YES.  Do I still have the confidence that it's possible?  YES.  How much am I willing to bet that I will succeed?  My life.  Because that is what it takes to get ANYTHING done.  Fucking anything, you give your life, and never hold yourself back from getting what you want.  So if it took over 20 years JUST to release one album on Planet Mu, would that make me happy?  Fuck, yeah.  20 years is totally worth it.  The time will pass regardless of what I do- might as well spend the time putting effort towards realizing my dreams.

Explain to me why to release on a label? I never understood this, maybe you can help me with this. Isn't releasing just "making something accessible" in a cool format? Why does anyone need a label in times of bandcamp / soundcloud. The prefiltering mechanisms that labels had, do not work anymore from my point of view. Finding really inspiring dedicated artists is hard work, building a name is even harder.

 

 

because the audience needs music to be confirmed by a higher source. Not nescessarrily a label but a namedrop, an artical, just some sort of mention or break. Otherwise the music is just lumped in with the millions of other amateurs that you don't have time to listen to. If you are amazing then something should happen but if you are just good you can get overlooked. Getting something released by a label gives you a stamp of approval so people interested in that labels output sit up and take something seriously (most of the time) at least to the point of listening to it. For normal people, it's hard enough to get people that would potentially love it because they love the same music as you listen to it.

 

But you're right, music does not need labels in a practical sense if the artist is savvy enough to do some hard promo for themselves. Trouble is promo is not IDM ha.

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This is the most alpha Chad shit I have ever read on this forum. This post is utterly potent and powerful. 10/10 would read again. 

Well.....  true IDM is NEVER EVER making boring or shit tracks.  The "shit/boring" determination is something that is settled upon, so one must just never settle there.  Craft everything until it's aw

I had a huge motivational problem of getting to the point where I turn my gear on and start on something, sometimes I excused myself because I was too tired, had no time etc etc. In the end what

But you're right, music does not need labels in a practical sense if the artist is savvy enough to do some hard promo for themselves. Trouble is promo is not IDM ha.

Just an opinion:

I do not care what label name is stamped onto something out of bleep.com. I just listen to the previews and buy it the stuff i like. So is bleep.com the new form of label stamp? I really do not care if it has rephlex, planet mu or warp on it. That was interesting in times we had no previews.

 

So why not make a good release yourself and send some copies to bleep to sell them, as label name use a random string base64 encoded?

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I have been sending demos to labels for 20 years, and I'm 35 now.  Do I still want to release an album I can be proud of?  YES.  Do I still have the confidence that it's possible?  YES.  How much am I willing to bet that I will succeed?  My life.  Because that is what it takes to get ANYTHING done.  Fucking anything, you give your life, and never hold yourself back from getting what you want.  So if it took over 20 years JUST to release one album on Planet Mu, would that make me happy?  Fuck, yeah.  20 years is totally worth it.  The time will pass regardless of what I do- might as well spend the time putting effort towards realizing my dreams.

Explain to me why to release on a label? I never understood this, maybe you can help me with this. Isn't releasing just "making something accessible" in a cool format? Why does anyone need a label in times of bandcamp / soundcloud. The prefiltering mechanisms that labels had, do not work anymore from my point of view. Finding really inspiring dedicated artists is hard work, building a name is even harder.

 

From a negative side, I think it's a little about a quality certificate - to get your music released by a famous label sort of means that it's supposedly really good. It also gives your music a common thing with the other releases on the label, which means that all the people who like the label's other releases are much more likely to find your music and enjoy it too. But for me that's kind of bullshit because I'd like my music to stand on it's own, I'd like listeners to listen and enjoy it as it is, not because it has been released by a label.

From a positive side, I think labels are still a good thing for spreading and promoting the music. I think what I expect from a label is that through them my music would reach the people who would like it way better than if I did the promoting myself. I don't care so much about album sale profits or things like that, at least at this point. A label should be like a bunch of like-minded and similar artists who can then organize concerts and deal with merch etc., instead of artists doing everything by themselves like jacks-of-all-trades.

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I have been sending demos to labels for 20 years, and I'm 35 now.  Do I still want to release an album I can be proud of?  YES.  Do I still have the confidence that it's possible?  YES.  How much am I willing to bet that I will succeed?  My life.  Because that is what it takes to get ANYTHING done.  Fucking anything, you give your life, and never hold yourself back from getting what you want.  So if it took over 20 years JUST to release one album on Planet Mu, would that make me happy?  Fuck, yeah.  20 years is totally worth it.  The time will pass regardless of what I do- might as well spend the time putting effort towards realizing my dreams.

Explain to me why to release on a label? I never understood this, maybe you can help me with this. Isn't releasing just "making something accessible" in a cool format? Why does anyone need a label in times of bandcamp / soundcloud. The prefiltering mechanisms that labels had, do not work anymore from my point of view. Finding really inspiring dedicated artists is hard work, building a name is even harder.

 

 

Most of the best music I've discovered in the past 10 years has been from people just posting their music on the internet, so definitely, labels are not a defining factor when it comes to quality.  However- personally- if I am going to put energy towards something that is meant for other people (the process of making music is definitely personal and for me only, but actually finishing tracks/albums is for me-in-third-person and others to listen to, else I would just keep ideas in my head), I would want it to reach the most people as possible, and labels with international distribution & promotional outlets are able to spread vibez much more effectively than me spamming my tracks wherever.

 

When people like your music, it is an indication that you are spreading good vibez through sonics; improving peoples' lives if just for a few minutes.  So if one puts their heart into their music and they know it helps people, then it makes sense to find methods to spread such positive energy to as many people as possible.

 

It's important to know that when you create any art and share it, you are doing it to affect others, and ideally, you improve their lives (again, if even just for a second).  A lot of people think artists are merely saying, "Look at me, look at me!", but if you really look at what's going on, artists are actually saying: "I did this for you."

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Guest Chesney

There are people like you psycho that are just out to try out new music which is a dream for artists, there are lots on here. I do it when I have time but it's rare because i'm busy making my music. Many are in the same situ and most others just are not interested in clicking around possibly wasting time finding gems. They would rather stick to what they know, which is obviously fine too. We are all different.

It's really daunting for an artist with aspirations.

I don't want to keep references myself in here because it's promo and I don't want to come off as "woe is me" but, i'm in this situ, releasing an album I am proud of last year to a tumbleweed response is heartbreaking but it's real and of course it's not the end of the world. And what was I expecting really? I am a realist so I knew it wasn't going light fires especially as I don't know what i'm doing and who to send it to and promote. Promoting is degrading to me.

I have had great feedback from the few who have cared to listen which makes me happy and I won't stop or change what I do for anything.

:( hahaha

Edited by Chesney
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I don't want to keep references myself in here because it's promo and I don't want to come off as "woe is me" but,

good promo, made me buy your album

one kebab for you

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Guest Chesney

Haha, I feel dirty now, i'm so sorry for blatant underhand promo.

 

regardless, stoked that you took the punt man, hope you enjoy it, if not i'll give your money back.

I have some live DL codes though so you could have had it for free, I want people to just listen, I don't want money.

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there are so many reasons labels are hugely beneficial.

 

they promote the artists, they are a network to other artists, management, venues and most importantly >>>LISTENERS<<<. they can sort out press, distribution, branding, financing and all the other boring business stuff most musicians don't want to worry about.

 

just being a good musician isn't enough to make it as everybody knows, and a label or some other form of management is essential for 99% of musicians.

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Haha, I feel dirty now, i'm so sorry for blatant underhand promo.

 

regardless, stoked that you took the punt man, hope you enjoy it, if not i'll give your money back.

I have some live DL codes though so you could have had it for free, I want people to just listen, I don't want money.

I feel satisfaction from the fact that you feel dirty now

also I read that rewarding kills instrinsic motivation. I destroy your motivation to outpace my competitors

hehehe

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there are so many reasons labels are hugely beneficial.

 

they promote the artists, they are a network to other artists, management, venues and most importantly >>>LISTENERS<<<. they can sort out press, distribution, branding, financing and all the other boring business stuff most musicians don't want to worry about.

 

just being a good musician isn't enough to make it as everybody knows, and a label or some other form of management is essential for 99% of musicians.

 

It really depends on the label. Some go all out with promotion, some do the bare minimum, some host digital files only.

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Guest Chesney

yeah, lets face it, lots of us start our own labels up and we're still no better off. Still just a small non entity in a swathe of others in the same boat. To have any miraculous impact on our music the source of our legit stamp has to carry some already earned gravitas.

 

Edit:

And thanks Alan Ord.

 

I am your bitch now Darrei

Edited by Chesney
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I think focusing more locally and regionally brings more satisfaction on a musical cultural level. Hitting the streets, self releasing physical products, supporting local acts, gigging with local talent, doing small tours, applying to festivals, organize festivals, applying for grants and subsidies, applying for awards, etc. Focusing on making music - lots of it, consistently when you can - is the most important to develop creatively but not enough alone when eking out a possible career. There's just that 'having to be social' ickiness that bedroom producers usually have a hard time with.

All you producers in the Europe could get together and do a lot! Support for the arts and electronic music is a lot more abundant, financially and with interested listeners, compared to where I live. I would totally take advantage of that.

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Yes, it stresses me out majorly. But I have anxiety disorder so that goes for a lot of endeavors. I haven't been in the right headspace to be making music at all for the last year. I'm sure I will come back around to it some day.

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The need of transcendence kills us all. it made us invent religions that led to war, it made us write books some of which also led to war. It makes us make children that eventually die. Human race is fucked

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I think focusing more locally and regionally brings more satisfaction on a musical cultural level. Hitting the streets, self releasing physical products, supporting local acts, gigging with local talent, doing small tours, applying to festivals, organize festivals, applying for grants and subsidies, applying for awards, etc. Focusing on making music - lots of it, consistently when you can - is the most important to develop creatively but not enough alone when eking out a possible career. There's just that 'having to be social' ickiness that bedroom producers usually have a hard time with.

 

All you producers in the Europe could get together and do a lot! Support for the arts and electronic music is a lot more abundant, financially and with interested listeners, compared to where I live. I would totally take advantage of that.

 

 

thats maybe 1 area where Europe has an advantage due to regional arts councils, language preservation societies & a lot of cross-collaborations most frequently seen in smaller budget cinema creations

 

piracy means eking out a living as a music maker is now a victim of the law of diminishing returns, even if you gig regularly its fuckin hard

 

you have to give your life to art if yer the creative type, 150% agree with that, but labels are increasingly false prophets as the high standard of releases garnered from Bandcamp and S'cloud proves, plus an incredibly high standard of music exists that labels dont seem to have the A&R apparatus to scout for or the financial impetus to release as vinyl records due to production costs

 

you see it most in House music, where there are still thousands upon thousands of digitally formatted duds made week in week out, but where you also find genuine authentic gems in small runs of 500-1000 released batches which can also unintentionally bump up the price if owt specific slips below yer radar first time around

 

using other people's art for longer music mixes only ever really gets stressful if i phoget to hit record or cock a mix up and have to start again, but the same thing was true using tapes 20-25yrs ago

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I've had very stressful music making experiences, but most are very satisfying.  If a track is stressing me out, I might pause to write a new angry/stressed out one to cathart a bit, which always helps.  I try to avoid deadlines and curb expectations where possible.

 

I always have a phase where I despise what I'm working on, after a honeymoon period.  Perspective is everything.  As you said, what stands in the way of enjoyment comes down to stress and fear of failure, so the best advice is to 1) track down the source of the fear (and this can even be explored via music, which is the natural language of emotion in my opinion), and 2) have fun:  maybe try something new/different/weird, whether in music or in your life in general.

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Awesome topic, i've dwelt on this for a long-time.

 

For me, getting started is possibly the most stressful point in making music.  Naturally, when i'm done at work and get home my body and mind believes it must tune out.  So it actually feels unnatural forcing myself to do something creative.  I think it's years and years of just throwing on the TV and letting my mind shut off.  This barrier once crossed, is forgot about until the next time i begin the idea to create something new in a few weeks.  But getting through it is seriously like ripping off my own arm sometimes.  Then once started, it usually flows greatly from there and i'm addicted to working on / completing this new track.

 

Only other stress I get is probably from percussion.  Fucking 'ell, i hate percussion.  If I could do songs completely percussionless with only melodies, chords, synths, sounds, field recordings, i'd be floating in clouds.  But what i want to create requires it.  It's stressful because I feel I can never get the shit to sound right, or interesting enough, and then once i'm done, is it good enough? or is not? TONS of second guessing.  Funny thing is if I sit at a drumset, i love percussion- its just the complexities of electronic music and it's IDMcratic standards that fuck with me.  

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I find writing, arranging, mixing, and programming to be relaxing and fun.  Physically playing guitar, piano or drums is a bit stressful because I'm so picky about precision and all the other nuances that go with it.  Recording bass however is always a good time.  So yeah, the only time I find music making stressful is when playing instruments is required.  Electronic music is all fun.

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I think focusing more locally and regionally brings more satisfaction on a musical cultural level. Hitting the streets, self releasing physical products, supporting local acts, gigging with local talent, doing small tours, applying to festivals, organize festivals, applying for grants and subsidies, applying for awards, etc. Focusing on making music - lots of it, consistently when you can - is the most important to develop creatively but not enough alone when eking out a possible career. There's just that 'having to be social' ickiness that bedroom producers usually have a hard time with.

 

All you producers in the Europe could get together and do a lot! Support for the arts and electronic music is a lot more abundant, financially and with interested listeners, compared to where I live. I would totally take advantage of that.

I like this sort of idea. Back in my home town I used to more or less know everybody who was performing or making music, which was cool because in my head it formed this sort of local cultural sphere. But now I'm in Tokyo, which is a huge change for me, because the sheer number of venues/artists. So when in my hometown, the metaphorical "local youtube channel" was like 100-200 videos, now it's 1-2 000 000 and I don't even know where to start really.

It's like the complexity is too much for my puny human brain. It makes sense too, I read somewhere that the human brain can handle "representing" memories around 150 other people before they start becoming "compressed" somehow. Like instead of a full memory of a person your brain would just store the more important points, like a facebook profile which only shows a mugshot and tells you where they work.

So my hypothesis is that this is also true for music - you can listen to a lot of stuff, but you can't really deeply process all of it, unless you really take the time. And with the internet there's new music anywhere. Youtube is full of fantastic and weird stuff, so is Soundcloud. Labels are just one way of grouping all that together to somehow manageable chunks. Sometimes I've found absolutely genius stuff just by letting SC/Youtube autoplay related songs to something. And sometimes it's just full of boring dreck.

 

Now that I think of it, I wish there was some WATMM playlist on Youtube or SC so I could just click play and hear a random selection of all the artists who post here. I know I could just go to the latest releases subforum but I'm kind of a fan of listening to large playlists on shuffle mode instead of single albums at a time.

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Awesome topic, i've dwelt on this for a long-time.

 

For me, getting started is possibly the most stressful point in making music.  Naturally, when i'm done at work and get home my body and mind believes it must tune out.  So it actually feels unnatural forcing myself to do something creative.  I think it's years and years of just throwing on the TV and letting my mind shut off.  This barrier once crossed, is forgot about until the next time i begin the idea to create something new in a few weeks.  But getting through it is seriously like ripping off my own arm sometimes.  Then once started, it usually flows greatly from there and i'm addicted to working on / completing this new track.

 

Only other stress I get is probably from percussion.  Fucking 'ell, i hate percussion.  If I could do songs completely percussionless with only melodies, chords, synths, sounds, field recordings, i'd be floating in clouds.  But what i want to create requires it.  It's stressful because I feel I can never get the shit to sound right, or interesting enough, and then once i'm done, is it good enough? or is not? TONS of second guessing.  Funny thing is if I sit at a drumset, i love percussion- its just the complexities of electronic music and it's IDMcratic standards that fuck with me.  

Coming from a punk/rock background, I can totally sympathize with the woes of electronic percussion. The drabness of it was actually one of the reasons I stopped making electronic stuff (other than a drone/beatless track here and there) about 2 years ago. Finally just got back into it within the past 6 months. I find that mixing strange sampled things (fucked completely with fx) and slicing uncommon loops has been a game changer for me. I rarely ever quantize and I still never use step sequencing. 

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due to self-restraint and being content with trying to perpetually party (like writing tons of unfinished tracks) instead of working on a stronger foundation like a career or trying to improve oneself (manning up and finishing albums), there was no life progression or even solid foundation built by those 40+ dudes.

Yeah but what's wrong with having an outlet for the proverbial partying? Music should be a place in your life where you can do whatever the fuck you want and you don't have to chase goals, right? What's wrong with people contributing in their own small ways (like ideas, forum posts, stupid little apps, etc.)? We're all smarter together, why should it be a rite of passage to adulthood to release an album on a Real Record Label? Anyway, personally I'm a big fan of focused 3-5 track EPs and I really wish someone would swoop in and start making some good ones. Most recent one I can think of was L-Event.

 

Plus, maybe those 40+ year old guys had some fucking dope ideas/taste but everyone their age was too mature & responsible & professional to give a shit, so they go hang out with younger people cos they actually listen. The world ain't black & white. Look at Ekoplekz for the kind of thing I'm talking about.

 

And if anything, my post was about FEEL GOOD BECAUSE YOU'RE WORTH IT (complete what you know you want).  I don't want people to feel bad about themselves.  Embrace one's strengths, and don't be content with one's laziness.  I have known a lot of people who gave up on life, and I want to prevent such things.  Being totally stressed about music and wanting to quit is a very similar attitude to people who hate their jobs.  The point is that if we sign up for something, we should see it through and be strong.  Being negative about one's life and blessings (like being able to make music) is foolish and inhibits one from seeing the true beauty and joy that is life.  It's very hard to have true appreciation for one's own actions, if no goals are set or completed.

And this I can get behind, with the caveat that not everybody has the same life goals.

 

In the software world, someone who makes something very tiny and dope and with general appeal appeal is a way bigger hero than someone who summons a cthulhu beast. The latter just looks like some weirdo in his parents' basement, or some know-it-all dweeb who might be worth 6+ figures but is insufferable. Maybe the electronic music world would do well to learn from this - small scale is responsible scale. Small scale is approachable, small scale is inviting. Maybe that is antithetical to IDM in some sense... but not the kind I'm interested in. 

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Awesome topic, i've dwelt on this for a long-time.

 

For me, getting started is possibly the most stressful point in making music.  Naturally, when i'm done at work and get home my body and mind believes it must tune out.  So it actually feels unnatural forcing myself to do something creative.  I think it's years and years of just throwing on the TV and letting my mind shut off.  This barrier once crossed, is forgot about until the next time i begin the idea to create something new in a few weeks.  But getting through it is seriously like ripping off my own arm sometimes.  Then once started, it usually flows greatly from there and i'm addicted to working on / completing this new track.

 

Only other stress I get is probably from percussion.  Fucking 'ell, i hate percussion.  If I could do songs completely percussionless with only melodies, chords, synths, sounds, field recordings, i'd be floating in clouds.  But what i want to create requires it.  It's stressful because I feel I can never get the shit to sound right, or interesting enough, and then once i'm done, is it good enough? or is not? TONS of second guessing.  Funny thing is if I sit at a drumset, i love percussion- its just the complexities of electronic music and it's IDMcratic standards that fuck with me.  

Coming from a punk/rock background, I can totally sympathize with the woes of electronic percussion. The drabness of it was actually one of the reasons I stopped making electronic stuff (other than a drone/beatless track here and there) about 2 years ago. Finally just got back into it within the past 6 months. I find that mixing strange sampled things (fucked completely with fx) and slicing uncommon loops has been a game changer for me. I rarely ever quantize and I still never use step sequencing. 

 

I used to play drums in a psychedelic rock band. I think the main difference between analog (the wood + skin) and digital drums is that with digital it's much harder to get dynamics in. Unless you spend $$$ to buy a really good digital kit, the best you're going to get is a volume change of some normalized "perfect" drum hit sample. One trick I've found to counter that is using several ride/bell samples and kind of impulsively playing them so that the end result sounds much much more like you're actually hitting the cymbals in different places. I've been pretty impressed with the results considering I used a MIDI keyboard to play the stuff. I guess getting some Akai pad thing might be even more awesome. And I totally agree about quantization and step sequencing, that just sucks the life out of playing. 

 

Edit: and to tie this into stress while making music.. I guess that's the only stress that I have nowadays with regard to achieving some sound in my head. I miss my drumkit and how easy it was to get the sound and rhythm out of it. I have so many ideas that I know exactly how I'd play drums to, but no means to actually do it (except renting a studio, which I feel is too much $$$ for practice noodling). Basically the only thing that's not possible if your home studio is a shelf in an apartment.

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Guest Chesney

Some kind of watmm music channel somewhere would be an amazing addition. I try to dip into peoples tracks and releases when I can but i'm not physically on here even if i'm logged in, i'm working, so have very little time to delve down the thread list often. But I would love to press play in the morning and have a days worth of new music play while i'm working. That way when something sticks out I can look for it on here and give kudos.

Edited by Chesney
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