Developing your 'sound' / everything I do sounds different!

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Citizen
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Developing your 'sound' / everything I do sounds different!

Post by Citizen » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:58 pm

I'm just wondering what people's thoughts are regarding finding one's own personal 'sound'.

I've been producing for two years, and although I frequently make things that I'm happy with - it all sounds quite varied - almost as if it had been made by many different people! :roll: (even when working within the same genre/tempo)

I'm cool with this, though, I guess.... :? - I'm sure that this is just part of the normal learning process, trying different sounds, tools and processes....BUT.... I wonder if it is of any benefit to try and refine a cohesive 'direction'? 8)

The flipside of this, of course, are artists that get too constrained by their 'own' sound - and endlessly regurgitate variations of the same song - perhaps this is a more common phenomenon for artists that have some sort of reputation - and therefore an audience with some degree of expectation as to what you 'should' sound like - surely a double-edged sword. :?

Keen to hear some thoughts on this from more experienced producers:

• How did you find 'your' sound? (if you have)

• Do you therefore feel constrained by it, or by others established expectations of you?

• Should you 'force' the matter at some point? should one impose restrictions re. tools and processes in order to acheive a 'sound'?

•...or just continue to experiement, despite the lack of cohesion between track to track?

alltomorrowsparties
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Re: Developing your 'sound' / everything I do sounds different!

Post by alltomorrowsparties » Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:55 am

there are no quick fixes to making your music original and finding your own unique sound is something really difficult in these modern times we live in.....*but* there are a couple of things which can help....


1- Disregard 'Automatic' techniques.....as in loops. Everyone is using them. They suck.
2-F*ck genres/F*ck music press/and f*ck fashions. Consider 'new Dubstep'. Bout 9 months ago it was the next 'great wave' in EDM. Now its all over ads for tampons and the like.
2- Play- by actually playing something you are automatically creating an original thought.
3- Learn an instrument
4-Learn music harmony/theory. Very few people in EDM especially seem to have a clue about basic music theory...... modulations, tension, resolve, melody, harmony. learning about all those things will set you apart and also help hone in on your sound
5-YOU DO NOT NEED MULTI GIGABYTE SOUND LIBRARIES. Find no more than 20 sounds and use them for the duration of a project. (be it album/E.P whatever)
6- Find the right tonal palettes....(reverbs/amps/ambience/micing techniques/even compression) and re-visit those palettes for the duration of the project
6- While you shouldn't rely on the mix to define your sound, it does play its part......about 10% to 15%..... if you cannot mix properly (like 5+ years experience) get someone who knows and don't be afraid to explain exactly what you want. if they are a good engineer they will be able to help you realise your vision.
7- it amazes me the amount of people who think mastering will 'define a sound' it probably accounts for 5% at most. That being said, a good mastering engineer will ensure what is already there will sit together nicely side by side on an album/E.P.

Thats all for now!

oh yeah....listen, draw inspiration, don't be afraid to borrow/steal but ensure you make it your own.

You can reinvent your sound as many times as you like so there are no real worries about conforming to expectations or fears of restricting yourself (there probably should be no worries about anyones expectations anyways if you truly want to make something original)
Last edited by alltomorrowsparties on Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:41 am, edited 2 times in total.

Mirthan
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Re: Developing your 'sound' / everything I do sounds different!

Post by Mirthan » Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:02 am

Interesting thread. I haven't been producing for as long as you,but I really don't care if my tracks sound too different from one another.
I think it's important to do different things,explore different fields,and that will allow one to grow both musically and as a person too. You shouldn't impose any restrictions on yourself,as I don't see any good result coming from that.

I also don't think that it will get boring when an artist starts to get his own sound,because that seems like a natural thing,and they'll feel good about it.

Personally,I don't feel that I have my own sound yet,but at the same time my stuff doesn't sound completely different,so I guess that when the time is right,everyone will have their signature sound.
(Pm me if you need something. Always down to help.)

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alltomorrowsparties
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Re: Developing your 'sound' / everything I do sounds different!

Post by alltomorrowsparties » Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:54 am

There's definitely nothing wrong with setting restrictions on yourself. One of the perils of modern production is we have EVERYTHING. While this may seem liberating, it can be really really constricting. We can easily lose sight of overall vision and get lost in a sea of infinite sonic possibilities.....a lot of people recognise this and- in order to combat this EVERYTHING paradox-they go out and buy 'dubstep construction volumes 1 through 9' to help focus their vision.....they end up of course with a permutation of dubstep construction 1 through 9

So yes do indeed experiment but also set some boundaries for overall aesthetic vision ......but don't wall yourself in either

Mirthan
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Re: Developing your 'sound' / everything I do sounds different!

Post by Mirthan » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:20 am

You do have a point,although I really can't do that. If I put any restrictions on myself I start to lose joy in what I'm doing. And what I like the most about making music is the joy it gives me.

Whatever floats your boat I guess. :)
(Pm me if you need something. Always down to help.)

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alltomorrowsparties
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Re: Developing your 'sound' / everything I do sounds different!

Post by alltomorrowsparties » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:25 am

Mirthan wrote: If I put any restrictions on myself I start to lose joy in what I'm doing.
but isn't that just a restriction?

As in would you find NO joy if instead of having a hard disk full of multi gigabyte instruments, you only had a room of instruments?

Now I'm not advocating that people go back to writing with quill and papyrus or anything, but the OP was talking about finding his/her sound. To do this I think you've gotta start by finding sounds. Not 1000's not even hundreds but tens.

i'm not sure if you like any of these artists..

other lives
grizzly bear
beach house
Solar bears
midlake
Sigur Ros
Beach Fossils

I pretty much love all of them and they all seem to have that creative/aesthetic/cohesive vision i was talking about above that seems to impart (on me at least) a kind of unity or cohesion. A clear intent. Pure. Not watered down

Mirthan
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Re: Developing your 'sound' / everything I do sounds different!

Post by Mirthan » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:52 am

Again,you have a point. It's not something I feel restricted to though,and it's not like I don't have any enjoyment at all. I just don't like making music with that mindset of "I have to do this". ("this" being anything you can think of)

I don't have my computer full of instruments AT ALL. Ahahah. I have relatively few synths,and other than that I have Kontakt. But I like to think I can use what I have to do anything,without limitations. (even though I'm still not at a level where I can do that successfully)

I'm not claiming people can't have restrictions. They absolutely can,and if it works for them,then great. I'll be happy for you.

Hm,only one I heard from that list is Sigur Ros,and I wasn't even paying much attention,but I'll take a look through those names. :D
(Pm me if you need something. Always down to help.)

My social things:
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alltomorrowsparties
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Re: Developing your 'sound' / everything I do sounds different!

Post by alltomorrowsparties » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:53 am

Mirthan wrote: I just don't like making music with that mindset of "I have to do this". ("this" being anything you can think of)

:D
i don't think we disagree!

kevwestbeats
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Re: Developing your 'sound' / everything I do sounds different!

Post by kevwestbeats » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:55 am

Citizen wrote:I'm just wondering what people's thoughts are regarding finding one's own personal 'sound'.

I've been producing for two years, and although I frequently make things that I'm happy with - it all sounds quite varied - almost as if it had been made by many different people! :roll: (even when working within the same genre/tempo)

I'm cool with this, though, I guess.... :? - I'm sure that this is just part of the normal learning process, trying different sounds, tools and processes....BUT.... I wonder if it is of any benefit to try and refine a cohesive 'direction'? 8)

The flipside of this, of course, are artists that get too constrained by their 'own' sound - and endlessly regurgitate variations of the same song - perhaps this is a more common phenomenon for artists that have some sort of reputation - and therefore an audience with some degree of expectation as to what you 'should' sound like - surely a double-edged sword. :?

Keen to hear some thoughts on this from more experienced producers:

• How did you find 'your' sound? (if you have)

• Do you therefore feel constrained by it, or by others established expectations of you?

• Should you 'force' the matter at some point? should one impose restrictions re. tools and processes in order to acheive a 'sound'?

•...or just continue to experiement, despite the lack of cohesion between track to track?
I found a sound and mastered it. I got bored with doing the same thing over and over again. I used to force the issue but it eventually killed my creativity and it became no fun anymore. Now i am experimenting with other things and I am happier though some of the people who used to love my music are not as into it anymore. I understand why people do so many crazy jumps musically now. I used to think some people lost their minds but I realize that they were just trying to be creative.
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UnderwaterSunlight
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Re: Developing your 'sound' / everything I do sounds different!

Post by UnderwaterSunlight » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:17 am

i can well relate to this discussion.
in my case, it is such that I cover so many genres that it sounds as if my tracks came from a multitude of composers.
what complicates my issue is that i own three daw's: ableton, cubase and reaper.

since any project i begin can take any turn towards a different genre than what i envisioned at the project's outset, i find it hard to continue such a project. this is because i think: wouldn't another of my daw's be better suited towards that genre of track? and so, i often change daw's.

a troublesome process of vacillating usually follows during which i try to figure what daw is best suited for the turn of events my project is taking.
Mac Pro 6,1 (Late 2013), 64 GB RAM, 256 GB PCIE SSD, 1TB data/projects SSD, MacOS 10.14 Mojave, Ableton 10 Standard, Komplete 7, Waves Silver, Steinberg UR22 mkII

Angstrom
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Re: Developing your 'sound' / everything I do sounds different!

Post by Angstrom » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:35 am

I would say that forming a band solves this.

Imagine three dogs with their leashes tied together, all trying to head in different directions. A tense equilibrium is reached as they each pull in different directions. The tension is occaisionally broken by angry fights. The benefit is not apparent to each individual dog, but the pack remains centered on one spot.

On the subject of "doing it for fun" . That's the curse of the modern world, "follow your bliss" is a mushy headed lie propagated by Hollywood airheads. Anything worthwhile actually demands a little sacrifice, some pain, some tension, some aggravation. The idea that your success will naturally flow toward your manifest destiny like a golden river is just a modern (post 1940's) fairy tale. Life doesn't work that way, music certainly doesn't.

If you want to produce a cohesive and engaging body of work it meeds to be about something, in reaction to something, some situation, some place, some people. There should be effort involved. It might very well require you to bite the bullet to get from one end to the other. You might not succeed.

Stace30
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Re: Developing your 'sound' / everything I do sounds different!

Post by Stace30 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:54 am

On the subject of "doing it for fun" . That's the curse of the modern world, "follow your bliss" is a mushy headed lie propagated by Hollywood airheads. Anything worthwhile actually demands a little sacrifice, some pain, some tension, some aggravation. The idea that your success will naturally flow toward your manifest destiny like a golden river is just a modern (post 1940's) fairy tale. Life doesn't work that way, music certainly doesn't.
WoW....Angstrom, deep stuff there mate! You've been doing this a long time haven't you? :D
Live 10 Suite 10.1, M4L, MPC TOUCH MPC software v2.4, Reason 4, Komplete 11, i7 Laptop, 12g Ram, Win 10, Adam A7's & Genelec 8010's - Joined Forum in 2006.

chapelier fou
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Re: Developing your 'sound' / everything I do sounds different!

Post by chapelier fou » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:59 am

i think i can tell that i never used a single preset in my whole life.
Instead i've been creating operator patches from scratch, sampling drums one shots on recordings, but mostly recorded A LOT of sounds with a microphone to put them in simplers and drum racks. Basically everything at home, from instruments to furniture and toys.
Messing with maxmsp patches or plogue bidule or audiomulch or modular synth while recording can also help you to build a very personal sample library.
Just the way i see things !
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Angstrom
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Re: Developing your 'sound' / everything I do sounds different!

Post by Angstrom » Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:25 pm

Stace30 wrote:WoW....Angstrom, deep stuff there mate! You've been doing this a long time haven't you? :D
Makin' music is tough. What's the theme of my work ?
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TheLion1
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Re: Developing your 'sound' / everything I do sounds different!

Post by TheLion1 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:18 pm

My style is multiple styles lol. In almost every song I make I take certain parts from different genres in order to paint the picture I want. I've been doing this for a few years now and I can definitely say although my music sounds different my taste is the same and you can hear that in all the songs. My tracks have this groove and mood that you can identify right away as me. Check it out

https://soundcloud.com/thefutureisdollars

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