Folks, I need some real life advice.

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Thisisquitealongname
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Disclaimer: This is a moderately long post.

I'm having a bitch of a time figuring out where to go with my life. I thought I'd ask here, figuring the demographic generally both a.) 'gets' the obsession with music and computers; and b.) has more experience than I do.

Okay. I'm 23. I've been composing music on the computer and generally harboring it as my one consistently recurring obsession for about 10 years. I'd never really given it a chance as something I could actually focus on, since I figured there are too many people better at it than I am for me to really make anything of it anyway.

--- Background ---

I had a rather apathetic approach to education: I was pretty much permanently high my last two years of high school and never studied. I averaged 90% anyways, and went to university for math. Predictably, I did even more drugs there, found myself a ludicrously depressed girlfriend and totally bombed first year. Then I lived with her for a while, did more drugs and worked in fast food.

We broke up. I quit drugs and moved back in with parents. I worked just in fast food for a year, then added a terrible minimum-wage scrap metal job for another year or two. Throughout this, I was fiddling with electronics, teaching myself various things (from basic woodworking to soldering) and working on an album I called "Sifting Through The Protocol". I broke off almost all of my social connections.

When I started the minimum wage jobs I was motivated and worked my ass off. I'd assumed hard work would result in good things to come. They didn't. Hard work didn't make enough to be able to support myself and wasn't paying off in the form of 'moving up the ladder'. On top of that, it took all of my energy and I didn't have much time to work on what I actually care about: music.

--- /Background ---

About a month ago, I decided I'd had enough. I stopped seeing any point in an existence I hated more with each passing day. So (deciding upon the less crazy of the two options I saw as feasible) I turned off my cell phone, put on some headphones and just sort of... didn't show up. I was determined to make something work with music; to find a way to survive while not hating every breath.

Naturally, my parents are aghast. Being 23 and still living with them is ridiculous to start with: now, from an outside perspective, I've completely stopped working. And after setting up my website and scouring the internet for ways or places to start networking, I really haven't come up with enough information to form much of a plan or path ahead. This ball ain't so much rolling.

I'm not even sure if I'm actually any good, or if I'm just chasing loose trails:

http://thisisquitealongname.com

So, if anyone could shine some light, sprinkle some advice or even just share their experience, I would be grateful. Any and all is appreciated!

Benjamin Scherrer
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Hey man,

wow respect for posting this here and thanks for the confidence in this forum.
Although I'm in punk/rock/metal music, I really like some songs (Catie, go to sleep and clutter space are very very nice!) and think they are composed very well. That said, making a living out of self composed music (if you are thinking about that) is one of the most difficult things I've ever heard of and I don't think one should rely on only this possibility. But isn't there an opportunity to get an apprenticeship in some kind of sound engineering/composing/live mixing etc. in your area (or anywhere)? You seem to know at least a good bit about recording (technically and artistically), so why not try to get a job/training around this? If you're good moving up the ladder will work here, even if you start with a very basic mixing job. It doesn't have to be a radio hit to start with.
About your age: I'm 26 and know quite some people who are around my age or even older who just started/will start studying for quite some years. With 23 it's absolutely possible to start over again, no need to stop looking for options!

Keep us updated,

best,
Benjamin

seablade
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First question, just for sake of my own sanity, where are you located if you don't mind answering? From your youtube profile it appears to be Canada correct?

Second question, what exactly do you want advice on? Life advice, mixing advice? I can give either, the question is what will you listen to and what will help you(And what is worth listening to of course, but that is all on me:)

Seablade

Thisisquitealongname
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seablade: Yeah, I'm in Canada. A little bit north of Toronto. Aurora/Newmarket, if you happen to know the area.

As much feedback as you like on both would be awesome. (I still haven't totally ruled out the "I'm actually batshit and trying to do something I'm hilariously bad at." possibility ;).

I am sometimes picky with what advice to listen to: this is mostly dependent on whether I can see that it makes sense given the set of information I have (which can be different from what someone else knows). I like knowing the "why".

benjamin: I've never heard of an apprenticeship for this type of stuff. Actually, the only apprenticeships I've heard of whatsoever are more like co-op style trades education, as the "experience" phase for pharmaceuticals or plumbing.

There are certainly (expensive) music and recording schools -- though I am wary of the cost versus actual value / realistic return of that style of education. I happened to talk to one guy last week whose brother did a one year course on sound engineering. His thought was that the actual value of the schooling came from the networking/connections it enabled.

Edit: Did you take an apprenticeship? If so, where?

seablade
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seablade: Yeah, I'm in Canada. A little bit north of Toronto. Aurora/Newmarket, if you happen to know the area.

Sadly a bit farther north than me;) However I am trying to remember, not to far off from there IIRC was a fantastic school that I knew someone that went through and he is now fairly successful based in no small part due to some of the experience he got there. Sadly I can't remember the school off hand though, and technically he worked there rather than was a student, but it was still a good experience for him.

At any rate, Ill try to give some mix advice first which I think will feed into the life advice. I have to go off memory from earlier tonight as I am on a cellular connection now instead of at my work, so listening to your music again is a bit difficult.

Mix advice, note that this will sound very pessimistic, but don't get discouraged, and youll read why you shouldn't later:

On Compression: OverCompression might be a step down from where you sit with the recordings I listened to(I listened to a few of them, but not all). This is from both a technical aspect and artistic aspect. Back off the compression, start to learn to enjoy the dynamics of your work and playing, and some of your pieces will have MUCH more impact. Find places to play softer and possibly change the arrangement, so that when you have sudden dramatic changes they can have more impact. IIRC there were several pieces where you seemed to go for the unexpected and lead into what most people would expect to be a quiet peaceful part of your song only to turn it around and go for loud and in your face sound. These parts suffer from the amount of compression you are using and the lack of dynamics in the arrangement, so this can help.

On Recording: I would probably need more info on your setup to give you to much advice, you seemingly had good isolation between instruments, but I assume this comes from tracking each instrument/vocal separately. However the sound of each instrument or voice could use more attention as often they came across as harsh, and not generally in a way that is musically pleasing to most listeners(Though that may have been intended and I just disagree with artistic choice, I don't suspect based off what I heard this is the case).

On Mixing: You have a hard time finding appropriate balance between instruments and vocals especially, but also in between instruments in the mix. This can come from many different aspects, including arrangement/composition of the music, but more of it in this case I think came from just a lack of direction or example on how to approach this(And some of the recording notes above). You have points where your vocals get drowned in the music, or where the combination of the voices and instruments creates somewhat of a mushy mess.

Ok these are general notes, and as I said, fairly pessimistic. To put it bluntly at the moment, I wouldn't be trying to impress anyone with your abilities in as far as making money off of this. But don't take this to mean I don't think you should continue on this path, but that you would benefit from studying under someone. At this point I will toss out a disclaimer of I do teach sound at a local university near me, so I suppose that could make me biased. But a university isn't your only option(By the way, I had to have a similar talk to one of my students that was at the same point as you skill wise at the beginning of the year and was trying to impress people off his portfolio then, which would have done him more harm than good, so you aren't alone here;). Along with local universities, you could start approaching local studios and volunteering, expect to be getting a lot of coffee or whatever and just take in what you can by watching and learning. Call up local live sound companies and do the same, except expect to be pushing a lot of boxes and doing grunt work. It will take time to learn anything, but you can. Of course on the other side of this, if after a few months you haven't learned anything, move on. There are sadly some that will simply take advantage of you.

But my honest opinion for where you are at right now, would be to talk to your parents and see if you can go back to college, in particular a community college (Or whatever the equivalent in Canada is) to just work on your GenEd requirements and get your grades up. Do this for a year and knock out what GenEd stuff you can but primarily pull up your grades so that you might be able to transfer into a more dedicated school.

Decide what you want to do, do you want to do the engineering side of things? Composition? Both? Where do you want to work? Live Stage(Be it Concerts or Theater)? Recording Studios? Game Development? Or something else like R&D or Engineering for electronics companies that manufacture tools for musicians or engineers? How you answer these will determine where you should be looking at going for schooling. I do think that college/university is a viable option for you, but don't discount other opportunities as above.

Now where does this opinion come from? The fact that I spent several years after High School myself working varying jobs ranging from minimum wage janitorial work(Not joking) to IT work(Above Minimum Wage but boring as all hell). After a number of years I went back to school and worked my ass off working minimum wage jobs to pay my way through that with loans. But on the flip side, after spending a grand total of at least 8 year in various colleges(I also had to spend time in community college to bring up my grades before I transferred) I am in a position where I would consider myself somewhat successful at a job I enjoy. And by that I mean that I have worked in sound or related jobs across the US and currently work full time as an audio technician for a church, teach sound at a local university, and work as an independent consultant designing reinforcement systems for installations, along with a variety of other side work including recording commercials for TV and Radio, sound designs for animations, and misc other audio engineering work(Mixing live concerts, tracking and producing demos of those concerts for bands, theatrical sound design, etc.) Am I someone I expect anyone to ever recognize my name, not at all. But I make a living off of this work I enjoy so I am happy.

On the topic of colleges, you have I am sure run across tech colleges that are single year things that churn out as many students as they can, and cost as much in that single year as a four year institution. The guy you talked about who told you the networking is probably the most valuable part of it probably wasn't far off. Get in touch with people that work in the field you want to and ask their opinion of these places. I can tell you some of the more notable ones on my side of the border have rather interesting reputations. In general the graduates often come out thinking they are much better than they are, and don't work, or they come out and do three years of pushing boxes or grunt work, much like I mentioned above, and they work successfully. Of course I have also seen shady advertising by some of them, listing their graduates as working with companies I know for a fact they didn't(As I also worked with these companies and checked specifically on this as well). So in the end, like many possible paths for you, if you get anything beneficial out of it it is because you are putting at least as much effort into it.

On standard 4 year universities or colleges... My advice is that they are the place to go to screw up. If you screw up in a college or university it likely won't follow you in your professional life(Provided you don't get yourself kicked out). It is a great time to learn and experiment, and like other paths, you will get out of it what you put into it. Don't ignore the volunteer/grunt work opportunities I mentioned above just because you are in college. Work your ass off and try to get as much non-college experience as you can at the same time.

On skipping both and diving in.. Well I described this somewhat above, it certainly is a good path. A college degree by itself will not get you a job most likely. That degree and work experience however will put you in better standing for some jobs(Not all) in this industry than someone that just jumps in typically. However if you jump in and build a reputation for yourself instead of going to college and not working outside of it, you will likely be in much better shape in 3-4 years than the person with a college degree and no real world experience, so long as you don't screw yourself over badly.

On all of this, this is not an industry where you will make a good amount of money. Period. Be you a musician, an engineer, all of the above, etc. don't expect to make much money and expect to be struggling to make ends meet for quite some time, if not permanently. The VAST majority of folks aren't exceedingly successful and many leave this industry as a result. But if you go in knowing this and are willing to do whatever it takes to continue working in an industry that can at times be very enjoyable, then at least you will enjoy life, and personally I find that more important than making lots of money.

I am sure I am missing a lot of information here, but after a nice 16 hour day, my brain is now just about fried, so I hope this helps:)

Seablade

Thisisquitealongname
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--> This is going to be scatterbrained. (Yeah, I wrote the first line last.)

On the mixes: You are totally right about the dynamic troubles. Every time I listen to the songs where it's obviously a problem I cringe a bit. [Same with the tonedeaf caterwauling.] There are only two places the ridiculous clipping was intentional. All of "catie, go to sleep" [dreamsoaked beauty cranked up to teeter on loud and ugly] and the organ near the end of "Clutter Space". Also contributing to the general muckiness was that I used multiple layers of large pitch shifts on a few tracks. The only place where (I think) it works is on "You Lit The Apartment Walls".

Up until 8 months ago, I'd been content to sit on XP and click around Reason 3, which very much babies you in many respects. These were my first mixes in a much less guided environment. At this point, the only thing I miss about Reason was the piano-roll (not loops!) interface for drum sequencing. I haven't found an equivalent on Linux. Thinking about writing my own.

The methodology I started out with was "louder is obviously better!" and "shit, now I can't hear that, better turn it up and increase this magical thing called compression a bit". Dominoes!

The last track I finished ("2010") is obviously much improved in this respect. Still a bit of trouble with vocal balancing. How repetitively disjointed the four-bar phrasing is in the vocals is glaring imo. I also didn't add any animation to the drums, but. The A3 session takes 12 minutes to open.

My setup:
- Edirol UA-25EX < http://www.rolandus.com/products/productdetails.php?ProductId=970 >
- AKG perception 120 < http://www.akg.com/site/products/powerslave,id,1054,pid,1054,nodeid,2,_language,EN.html >
- random 80's Aria mic I got at a pawn shop a long time ago (it's super dead and like, naturally compresses stuff)
- Godin Redline-3 <3
- Squier Strat that collects dust
- Fender P-Bass I got as scrap. Was stripped of pickups so I cut the coils out of some also scrap electric motors and soldered those in. ^.^
- a little midi-keyboard

On the future:
I have to be particularly mindful what I get myself into. I have obsessive phases, learn something really quickly and then lose interest after a few months. I can take novel interest in anything, and it's difficult to parse novel interest from genuine interest.

How does this relate? I forget. It's 03:30. Crap.

Oh yeah. Wait, no, I really do forget. I'm going to finish this lead-up to a flurry of further enquiry after a dozy encounter with my bed.

At any rate, thanks for the incredible response, Seablade! More questions tomorrow if you (and/or anyone else lurking) are/is willing.

booniesboy
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Since you asked for 'real life advice', I will forgo suggestions concerning music, technical expertise, and focus on one area that seems to be neglected in the replies. Seablade gave some excellent advice that I will truncate here: "But my honest opinion for where you are at right now, could be to talk to your parents . . . ."

Being at that dynamic age of 23, parents' advice is usually discarded. But given that you are living at home, have quite a good setup, I would gather
that your parents have supported you financially in your search.

Now for the 'uncomfortable' question: have you considered asking God what He has in mind for your life? Since He made you, sustains your every
breath, I trust that He has a plan for you. He loves you so much more than even your parents. However, most young man want to do it alone. Hence the indecision, the sifting from job to job.

From my experience, the best thing you could do is to help someone less fortunate than yourself. When I was 23, I was very fortunate to be given a
extremely low-end job driving the handicapped to medical appointments. That was the best job I ever had since I felt their suffering and courage, and decided not to add my problems to theirs. That's when I grew up and began to love them as my brothers and sisters, worthy of great respect. That's the best preparation for your future life - caring for someone else.

I agree with Seablade again about education. Oh, I have many degrees that have netted me nothing. But the life experience meeting and loving others has truly been my 'education' - that's what it's all about -- not jobs, not education, not money. Oh, I still do most of what I do for free - to help others - and it's so fulfilling! My income: hovers slightly over zero, but I have been paid, in full, with the love of God and neighbor.

My full-time job? Caring 24/7 for my wife who was struck down with viral encephalitis twenty years ago. She has total amnesia, multiple recurring seizures, but is such a joy to be with.

My advice: ask Him. He'll answer, if you really want to get the best advice for your life. You'll find that your life will come together as it is meant to be.

thorgal
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Hey!

I always wanted to devote all my time to music, never wanted a job. But I had another passion: I actually fooled myself for a long time by believing maths and physics were the deal for me so I ended up becoming a doctor in particle physics. I did not give up this education even though it became more and more tedious and not as appealing as I thought when I was only 18, because I was not yet sure whether I started to lose my passion due to a hard case of laziness (it was really hard work in the end!) or because of a more fundamental reason.
When I started a job in this research field, I knew it was because of the latter so I completely gave up my carrier as a scientist and instead, found myself a feeding job (s/w development in a very specific area) that pays well and allows me a private life. I kept music as a (very serious and important) hobby and I actually like it that way.

I am in the middle of an important project which I had to pause for a while (family expansion, just got myself a second child one week ago!). At first I was frustrated by all this time removed from this project but in fact, it turned out to be a good thing because new ideas came out after a brewing period and I definitely have to reshape some of my songs ... I am not yet in the serious mixing phase but I know a LOT more than 3-4 years ago when I built up my home studio from scratch. I look forward to working on this project again (it will come along with a studio remodelling).
But to make money out of it would be a serious drop of income. With two kids, I cannot afford so I accepted to cope with the least straining job I could find :) Diplomas are usually worthless as such, but they can open doors to good positions if you are willing to compromise between your wildest dreams and the "reality" of our non optimal societal environment ("earn money at all cost" - pun intended ;) )

So don't despair, but you will have to learn to pour a bit of water in your wine, as the French say ...

Cheers!

danboid
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What an amazing thread this has been - certainly the best (largely) OT thread I've ever read on this forum! Both the fact that messrs longname (more titlecore?) decided to post this on the Ardour forum and then the resultant quality of the responses lend great credit to the Ardour (and I suppose Linux audio) community. Seablade is usually prompt and comprehensive in his responses but he's really outdone himself this time - that surely must've took you many hours to craft that epic response Seablade! The other responses have been useful and well thought out too, if not quite as extensive as the great book of sb.

I can certainly hear room for improvement in the production of your tunes but I really quite enjoyed your stuff- hearing shades of Pavement, GBV, Neutral Milk and Syd - I'm sure you must like one or all of the aforementioned? To a gent of your ilk I cannot more highly recommend a band you check out than http://transelement.bandcamp.com/ - tE./EleMenT were about the best 'unknown' band England produced in the late 90's yet are sadly no longer with us. They've recently uploaded their second John Peel session which is a classic even by Peel's own standards.

I hope you keep on recording and improving at making music with free software and wish you the very best with whatever path you should choose longname!

calimerox
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this is an epic thread, thanks a lot to everyone for the insights into your thoughts and life. thats the first thread every that got copy-pasted into my diary :)

@Thisisquitealongname:

I cant give you any advice on education, when i reflect my own situation I can find some parallels in thorgals bio (the physics...) and about the rest I cant say much...

but I can give you some very very (!) subjective comments on your life and music today(not ordered):

-"Colder" is my favorite track! very cool pop song, and actually I like the lowfi-ness of it a lot!

-when you stop doing drugs / change life / step into something the biggest challenge is to believe in yourself again, what you are now, and trust your intuition. everything is new and scary. go out and play, try your songs on stage, make a demo cd with a beautiful artwork, not for the others but for yourself, to feel good with your work (and it will one of your personal jewels in a view years--)

- generally I dont like much electronic synth pop sound mixed with a very present and dominant guitar. for me it s like beer and wine mixed together, .. ;)

- your electrosound is cool

- just for inspiration: think of your track "I saw you" and listen to Chris Whitleys album "dirt floor"( it s recorded with one mic) and think of making the guitar songs less wild to make your whole set wilder / more dynamic

these just my two cents, dont take it too serious, and sorry for my bad english..

Thisisquitealongname
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wahohoah! Lots of information here.

Okay, down the list:

Seablade:
You do a ton of stuff. Is it more or less necessary to be a jack-of-all-trades in this industry? any time left to 'do your own thing'?

booniesboy:
I had a friend in high school who was very religious and very intelligent. I met him once at a college party later on, and instead of drunken-mingling we sat down and had a conversation. He told me approximately the same thing: all that matters is helping people.

Personally, I would have to modify that sentiment to "not causing avoidable harm to any living creatures". This has (in part) led me to vegetarianism.

Helping others makes a bit of sense, but doesn't in my mind translate into directly being the hand that feeds as many people as possible. You can have that effect by cascade (as long as you try to remain mindful..). Engineers and Researchers, in my mind, are capable of doing more for humanity than those who provide direct care to a few. Of course, in your case, chance has it that caring for your wife is the most important thing for you to do. But simply working with the disabled, while probably providing good experience, doesn't strike my interest now that I am specifically searching for direction.

As for 'ask Him'... I personally have perceived no evidence of the existence of the common definition of God. As such, I haven't the slightest conception of what this could mean.

thorgal:
I've had a moderate interest in physics as well. I was considering switching into physics at university before getting ridiculously sidetracked. It was the only class I passed during second-term, essentially by descending from my haze long enough to show up and best-guess through the exam.

Can you elaborate on 'feeding' a bit? I've been considering computer science / computery engineering also. It seems like the problem-solving involved might just remain interesting. As well, it seems to combine very easily with music. Something that's interesting, cross-applicable and won't have me balls-deep in credit could be the optimal compromise. This is more or less what you're doing, no?

[Code seems like the sort of thing you can teach yourself more easily than you could learn it in school.]

danboid:
Pavement: I heard "Cut Your Hair" a few times, years ago. Never checked them out beyond that.
GBV: Robert Pollard IS king everything.
Neutral Milk Hotel: Incredible.
Syd: Never heard of.

Listened to a few songs by transelement. First-listen notes: Decent, though it has wisps of that annoying uptempo ska-guitar sound.

calimerox:
@Colder: thanks!

Chris Whitley: Hadn't heard of him. Watched 'Pint of Lotion' on youtube. The dude was incredible.

I tried to re-record "I saw you" with a different arrangement and eventually dropped it because I couldn't really re-create the emotional mindset convincingly enough to justify replacing the original one-off.

Where do you... how do you... play... stage? How do you recreate songs in a live setting? How do you find people to at least begin playing with (ie a band)? Does anyone perform similarly sequenced stuff solo?

I've checked out some 'musicians meeting grounds' type websites. It is intimidating: I assume that all of them will be much better players/performers than I am, and most are double my age. What is there to expect in the way of artistic clashes?

-------

Thank you to all for the wonderful ongoing feedback!

thorgal
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@Thisisquitealongname
By 'feeding", I mean I live quite comfortably, working for a quite big company developing software for public safety. I do have a ~ 9am-5pm job but it is quite flexible and I can work form home once in a while via some remote session setup.
Before I got "fat and lazy" professionally, I was always needing money, I lived so cheap for so many years, that was not always fun ... but I played music all this time (started to learn music on my own by the age of 13, without theory nor teachers, just from hearing) and immediately formed some bands with buddies of mine. Until the age of 22-23, I only played in bands, that was a great thing to do as you learn to listen as well and stay in sync with others. Then, after some disagreements with the other members of the band of the moment, and changes triggered by my studies, I decided to be on my own. Since I needed money, I started to play in various places (local bars, cafes, etc). it paid OK but was extremely tiring. Throughout all this period though, I _did not do drugs_ (useless shit and costly, I was too poor!). Anyway, I also learned to sing by "diving" into it during my first gigs. Those were pretty horrible but you have to start from somewhere :)
Oops, I have to go but the conclusion is: experiment outside, with or without others, practice your skills out there! If you have no friends to play with, then you can put some ads and see what happens.

EDIT: just read some stuff from your website. Man, I was exactly like you (sounds and pieces of melodies constantly shaping and slipping from focus). It actually never stopped but I learned to live with it. It started very early but I ignored it as a kid (I was actually almost seeing sounds, if that makes sense). Then, when I was teaching myself to play guitar, my mind jumped on it big time: for years, every time I heard some music I would visualize a guitar neck and frets would light on and off as the tune played on. it then became worse when I started other instruments (piano and drums).

Anyhow, the worst for me came during the toughest time of my Ph.D. when some sort of "dam" broke big time in my head. For so many years, I was really focussed on studying, giving it first priority, I was actually numbing the music side of my mind (sort of on purpose) but it did have a consequence after all ;) Most of the songs I have been working on until now were born from this crazy experience. At the time, I only had an acoustic guitar which I kept from my older gears. Man, I bled from my fingers day-in and day-out, trying to surf this insane wave of inspiration. I guess that was the only way not to become insane myself. But without the prior experience with bands and solo gigs, I would have never been able to do something about it. Bringing the technical knowledge (computing) into it has been a very natural thing once I saw that linux was a viable platform for music production (I am neither a Windows nor Mac guy by education nor inclination).

OK, I am spreading my life here and this is really not my intention, it's just to tell you that you will really go through periods of deep doubts and feel lost because you are not on your natural path, or actually you always are but things are not always easy and given ... this is probably by design, how else would you learn anything ? :D (and I am not a very spiritual person so take it easy with this kind of statement)

macinnisrr
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While I agree that making a living of selling original music is very hard, touring is another matter. Not that it's for the faint of heart, but if you can put a band together to tour your tunes, you might find that that's your thing, at least it has been for me :-)

seablade
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Seablade:
You do a ton of stuff. Is it more or less necessary to be a jack-of-all-trades in this industry? any time left to 'do your own thing'?

Necessary? Not at all. Useful? Yes most likely, or at the very least I STRONGLY encourage having a secondary set of skills, maybe or maybe not directly related to what your primary interest is. To give an example, one of the mistakes I made coming out of college that I encourage my students now not to make, is that I only came out of college specializing in sound, to the point of I was far behind where I should have been in as far as knowledge of lighting and design, which I know for a fact cost me a couple of jobs over the years. Not a huge deal thankfully as I was able to find other work, but it is always useful to have a secondary skill to fall back on.

In as far as Jack of all Trades, this is more my own personal choice. The thing to keep in mind is that I am an audio engineer, not a musician, so doing my own thing is probably a bit different than you might be thinking. But I like to have a varied workload as I find variety is what keeps things interesting for me. So in my full time work at the moment my work ranges from live mixing, to sound design, to IT, to 3D animation, and because I am not concentrating on any one thing I find it more enjoyable. I had a background in IT once upon a time, and consider both computers and 3D hobbies of mine, so it all plays well together for me.

All this being said, it is more than possible to focus on one thing and continue in that one thing, it just isn't my own personal choice. It is up to you what you want to focus on in your life, but I do encourage you to have a backup skill even if you don't use it much. Find what you enjoy and develop it.

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seablade
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As for 'ask Him'... I personally have perceived no evidence of the existence of the common definition of God. As such, I haven't the slightest conception of what this could mean.

Ok, just because it was dangled in front of me... Philosophy is also an interest of mine, if you are interested in it, ask yourself this.. "Why?"

Seablade

There is so much more I could have in this conversation line of thought, but it always more fun to have it in person.

Thisisquitealongname
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@"Why?" (As in, why haven't I seen any evidence?

Well, my top theory is that it just plum isn't there. :)

Beyond that, I don't think I understand the question.

edit: @ thorgal

will respond tomorrow!

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Nah much broader question than that.

Why does existence itself exist? Not to be confused with, "How" does existence exist, which is what science attempts to provide an answer for, or what many religions have their own beliefs on how it exists, but rather why does existence exist. Why do the foundations of the universe even exist to begin with, what is the point?

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thorgal
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@seablade:

why are humans constantly asking why ? ;)

seablade
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Try Bud Dr... err nevermind:)

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danboid
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Syd = Syd Barrett, founder and original genius behind the Pink Floyd. He was only musically active for 18 months or so really, but everything he recorded and wrote in that short period was just total genius. The first Pink Floyd album is pretty much all Syd's songs and is arguably the greatest psychedelic LP ever, if not quite the first. Get all his (3) solo albmums - whilst not quite as coherent as the early Floyd (ha!) they are even more moving and every bit as worthy artistically.

"Cut Your Hair" is not representative of Pavements song writing greatness whatsover- Its one of their poorest tracks and should never have been considered for release as a single alongside the equally naff 'Carrot Rope'. Listen to their Crooked Rain and Brighten the Corners albums to hear why they are regarded as one the the best American bands to emerge from the 90's.

tRANSELEMENt - up-tempo ska guitar? Wha?? Sure you listened to the same band? I hate that sorta stuff personally and can't think of anything by them that appropriates anything like that. If I think cream of 90's English rock tE. are right up there alongside Radiohead in my opinion and they remind me of some of my favourite bands such as King Crimson, Beach Boys, early Floyd, Faust, Genesis and Sonic Youth in contrast to being NOFX copycats or whatever it is you are implying. You're very welcome to your own opinion but don't expect me to understand it! :D

PS Great to see Ardour almost reach its financial goal so early in the month - I hope this continues up until and beyond the release of 3.0

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@danboid

Actually that was the financial goal for LAST month. Paul isn't here to change it to match this month, sorry, I can see if I can but considering it is financial stuff would rather wait for him to do so. Lets just say we haven't met the goal in a while.

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tomas vtipil
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Where do you... how do you... play... stage? How do you recreate songs in a live setting? How do you find people to at least begin playing with (ie a band)? Does anyone perform similarly sequenced stuff solo?

Up until 8 months ago, I'd been content to sit on XP and click around Reason 3, which very much babies you in many respects. These were my first mixes in a much less guided environment. At this point, the only thing I miss about Reason was the piano-roll (not loops!) interface for drum sequencing. I haven't found an equivalent on Linux. Thinking about writing my own.

i use renoise for both composing and solo live performance. it has a good built-in sampler and sequencer (yet unusual, not for everyone i must say), can handle various kinds of synths/effects and has good midi mapping options. and, it runs nicely on linux.

personally, live performance means a lot for me, even if i have to make some compromises. it is something else than record-making and as such has different priorities. i'm usually not trying to "recreate" the songs in sense of imitating of what is on the record, i'm rather trying to create something new, unrepeatable, with interaction with the audience as an integral part of the piece. it brings important aspects of social contact, responsibility, courage and self-motivation into the creative process. it makes you THINK different about your music. the very fact you are able to enter the stage and say "this is what i do, take it or not" is important IMHO. much more important than if this or that part is as polished as it would be on a studio recording.

Is it more or less necessary to be a jack-of-all-trades in this industry? any time left to 'do your own thing'?

i often hear that it is impossible to make a living from music etc. well, i can confirm that it IS possible - i'm still living. i do solo performances and i play/cooperate with couple of ensembles (broad range genre/sound-vise), i do live sound, i do recordings, arrangements and production, i do theatre, film and tv music sometimes. believe or not, i feel it all as "doing my own thing". for instance - every minute i spend mixing other people's music etc. helps me in my own stuff afterwards. it also makes sense financially - i'm not dependent on a single money source. when, in some part of the year, i have few gigs, i can do sound, etc. it also gives me great freedom to really choose what will i do (and anytime i feel my skills, experience, equipment or just mindset are not adequate for some job, i'm ready to pass it to somebody who can do it better).

i will probably never get rich from this, but, as i said, i can survive, which is actually sorta more than i expected:)

cheers,
tomas

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@seablade: The correct answer is "Why not?"

@thisisquitealongname: As far as starting a band, I recommend that if there are any music stores nearby, put up posters in them with your phone number and influences. Also, if you know of any open-mic nights or jams (you can probably find them in the back section of the community or college newspaper, if not, then maybe online), hit them up. Even if you've never performed live, you can always just introduce yourself to others whose work you like, and I'm sure in no time you'll have two or three people ready to start practicing.

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@thorgal:

Our brains might have a lot in common. When I was in my teens, I would see the notes of music I was in tune with on a piano roll.. though it was a very elastic vision -- it would warp and change as if it were all a dream. Ditto on the almost 'seeing' or somehow experiencing music.

This type of stuff still happens, but not quite so intensely. Nobody I've met seems to really understand that I don't simply hipsterhate 'bad' music -- it's actually slightly traumatic. [Recalling one day in the depths of McDonald's, flanking a wretched grease-caked boombox. The only time I didn't hate everyone in the room was for four minutes, when Ol' Dirty Bastard offered a soothing respite from mileygagabieberihanna.]

On the flipside, certain melodies are bizarrely attractive. I've always wanted to deconstruct them for analysis and see if I can't get to the bottom of it. I haven't gotten around to it.

Notable examples:

Enon - Sold
http://flakmag.com/music/2002/tunes/sold.mp3

Barenaked Ladies - Brian Wilson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMzbiDV8IAg

GBV - Queen of Cans and Jars
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHAvgxhoNO0

[Pursuit of the perfect melodic contour!]

Say, got any links to stuff you're working on? :3

@seablade

Heh. Philosophy. I've never really seen the purpose. I mean, there's a point at which you've gotta stop trying to unravel endless layers of hypothetical compendia... for sanity's sake. To speculate about the (incomprehensible) nature of existence is to construct an endless loop of postulation. To extrapolate 100 iterations deep towards an infinite matte of definition will have you no closer to its core knowledge.

Imho, it's not possible to know the nature of reality (unless some real bizarre shit goes down...).

"Why?"
"Why bother?"

@danboid
Syd: Oh. Actually, Syd Barrett's what first came to mind when you said Syd. All the others were 90's bands, so I figured there was a 90's band called Syd I hadn't heard of. I've heard more about him than I've heard by him... for some reason or other I've always been spaced/tuned out when someone's put on early Floyd ;)

tE: You're probably right on this one. Even though imo everything really good Radiohead did was on The Bends or is Karma Police. Buuut. I'll take another peek.

[The only place I've heard of NOFX was on those obnoxious bandlogo patches goths around here would iron onto their blackpacks.]

@tomas
Survival would outstrip my expectations as well.

Renoise I sort of impulsively skipped over. Sounds like it's worth checking out.

I think I get what you are saying about live performance. That actually makes a lot of sense. I was thinking things like "Perform with the computer? How am I going to stay in sync with the computer? That's impossible enough in a quiet room! etc..." when most of these songs started out on acoustic guitar anyways.

==> social contact: D: ohshi-

seablade
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Heh about to head into a meeting, but whether you choose to believe it or not, that is a valid philosophical standpoint, and requires ahving some thought put in it to start with in order to reach it. I do agree for the record but to go into more detail would take more time than I have before this meeting(Which started 3 minutes ago technically) so I will have to come back to it;)

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@ Thisisquitealongname

You are truly talented and innovative. Seriously, I really like your stuff. I like it lo-fi; the lyricism, melodies and complexities shine through easily and make a great counterpoint. You are a good songwriter.

To succeed you need self belief, persistence & creativity. You definitely have what it takes. But as others mention, still only 1 in a 1,000 with good talent gets anywhere. Often it's for the wrong reasons like luck & chance meetings but there's little you can do about that.

I was an indie booking agent in the 80s. I would've signed you like a shot had I discovered you buried in the pile of cassettes I used to get every morning and could only give a max 15" listen.

I'm not doing that now and pursue music largely as a personal creative outlet. So, even when it all comes together, for most, music stardom lasts just two or three years. That's less than 5% of your lifetime. And unless you're Arcade Fire lucky, even mild stardom is highly unlikely to make you rich. So keep going with it, but build yourself some sort of back up career meantime.

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oh, and

Fender P-Bass I got as scrap. Was stripped of pickups so I cut the coils out of some also scrap electric motors and soldered those in.

You need to sort that P-Bass and get it into the mix IMO. Lo-fi is great, but your music would really come alive with bass in the right places.

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----

thorgal
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@Thisisquitealongname
Say, got any links to stuff you're working on?
Sorry, no. I won't have links to my work until it is finished and I have thought about how to publish it. It will take a long while before it happens, I tell you, with now two kids (1.5 year and 2 weeks old) my time is very limited ...

But by the way, I had not really listened to your stuff, so I just gave it an ear. Mmmm, lo-fi is not really appealing to me so I can't really say anything. I can hear you put some effort into this but if I strip down all the effects, I don't find much that can stand on its own (it's just my composer's opinion, highly subjective of course, so never mind the slight negative tone in my words). Maybe you or others like it this way but if I were you I would try to improve the voice / singing skill and explore a wider range. At 23, your voice should be fully mature and you would be surprised at what you can achieve if you practice. But again, if what you had recorded is how you want it to be, that is just fine. But all in all, I find your music hard to listen to so I can't really comment further. And in any case, my opinion should not matter to you, just keep on experimenting and see where it leads :)

mixit
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I think that your music could be great as a sound track for a movie about teenagers - when I listen to song number 3 I see this girl and a boy that are just freinds at the beginning of the movie. In this scene, they are passing through an abandonned industrial area. The girl is doing all sorts of crazy things - the boy is patiently watching and waiting for her to go on - it could also be at a harbour with cold autumn wind as a contrast to the smiles and warmth they share unknowingly...

Anyways, I think you are an original and inspiring musician, composer and producer - it is not clear to me how you make all those different sounds, but in general i think it is cool (Allthough your music is best enjoyed in small doses - if you are not used to this kind like me). So I encourage you to go on - I cannot garantee your music will give you a stable income - on the other hand - what can these days...

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@ Seablade

I've been applying various mixing suggestions :3