Question about developing your own "sound"

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Question about developing your own "sound"

Post by Nephew » Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:12 pm

I'm starting to hit my stride as a producer, getting tracks signed and released and am really making head way as far as developing my own sound, but at the same time I don't want to be known as "that" guy who only does that "one" sound/style.

I have a few VSTs I turn to that I like and and certain effects and tricks that I use time and again, but is that a good thing to do though? Should I just stick with what I know and try to get the most out of that, or should I try using completely different VST's and try developing different FX chains and try different production techniques?

Or am I just over thinking this and making it a bigger deal than it has to be? Just something I always struggle with when I sit down and start a new session.


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Re: Question about developing your own "sound"

Post by Cezband » Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:42 pm

Firstly, congratulations on getting some tracks signed and released - that's already more progress than quite a few producers make!

I think the question you're asking is an age-old one for music makers of all types - how do you make a sound which is distinctly yours without making all your songs sound the same? It's not really a question that can be answered scientifically because it's all tied up in the "art" of music itself.

A lot of people, especially in electronic music where the sounds themselves take pretty much equal importance to the melodies and structure, talk about a "sonic arsenal" - at face value some people assume this just means which VSTs and synths you prefer, but I believe it should be taken further than that if you're applying it to making your own sound. It's using quite a specific selection of tones and techniques together, where each individually might sound predictable but when used in conjunction make something which is unique. This "sonic arsenal" is built quite seperately to the songs which you write - but it's the way it is used on those songs that give them a flavour which is specifically yours.

In an analogue sense, the "sonic arsenal" can be considered the particular sound of a voice or a guitar - how many times do you listen to a song in a club and recognise the band exactly when the vocal comes in? Even something simple like delay on a guitar - that's part of U2's sonic arsenal. Everyone recognises a U2 guitar line because the Edge has got that "signature sound", even when playing chords and phrases that are predictable (yeah I kinda hate U2 :twisted: ).

So expand that to the electronic realm, where you can flavour and develop sounds in ways that a straight-up guitar band wouldn't be able to. In fact there's so much you can do, it's almost intimidating - but that's the fun of electronic music. 8)

Sorry, I think although I started by trying to answer your question, in the end I was just thinking out loud. My bad! :lol:

To summarise: lots of people can make chicken soup. But everyone knows when they go to the best restaurant that the chef seasons his chicken soup in a way that nobody else can. And that's why they have to book weeks in advance.
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Re: Question about developing your own "sound"

Post by Nephew » Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:59 pm

Thanks for the insight, everything you said makes sense. Guess it's something I should be conscientious of but shouldn't dwell over it too much.

Thanks again mate!

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Re: Question about developing your own "sound"

Post by EX » Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:13 pm

Your own sound will come naturally from not trying to copy any one person in particular or use any one particular plug-in or effect but instead just realising what you imagine hearing.

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Re: Question about developing your own "sound"

Post by ARDJ » Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:12 pm

i'm in a similar boat mate, i was doing loads and loads of tracks "based" on other tracks, i think only in the last 9 mos have i really hit my stride w/ my own sound. It's an amazing feeling and labels are asking me for remixes with "that sound". The trick is to continue to listen to other music, other inspiration and push your sound to evolve. Don't ditch what you do but it needs to move forward and not stay stagnant, for example for me, i abuse vocal cuts and now all my vocal cuts are really really really interesting. pitch, delay, tiny breaks, one offs, etc. it's still me but now it's an updated me :)

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