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#46: Finish Your Music Projects With These 4 Expert Tips

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Have you ever struggled to finish a song, album or any recording project?

Does it take you forever to create your record, or have you ever abandoned a project and never finished it at all, because you got frustrated along the way? I'm pretty sure you have. We all have.

The question is, what can we do about it? And what causes this issue in the first place? 

If you want to move forward, release more music and get things done in 2021, this episode is for you.

And this time we're not doing it alone. We asked the people who have witnessed more musicians get frustrated and struggle to finish their projects than anyone else. People who are observing and helping thousands of bands and DIY artists on a daily basis - The admins of big, popular (home-)recording Facebook groups:


Those 4 experts are not only engineers and producers themselves, but also know the typical problems and roadblocks that keep coming up inside their huge forums. And they were generous enough to share their experience and advice with us, so you can overcome whatever is holding you back!


This episode was edited by Thomas Krottenthaler.

The Book Mentioned In The Podcast:

Atomic Habits (by James Clear)


Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy (click for full transcript)

TSRB Podcast 046 - Finish Your Music Projects With These 4 Expert Tips

[00:00:00] Benedikt: [00:00:00] This episode has to do with Facebook groups, because we figured we could just ask admins and founders of popular home, recording Facebook groups and ask them what they think was the number one reason why people are struggling to finish their records. This is the self recording band podcast, the show where we help you make exciting records on your own wherever you are, DIY style.

And let's go,

hello and welcome to. The setup, recording band podcast. I am your host Benedict tine, and I'm here with my friend and cohost Malcolm Owen flood. Hello, Malcolm, how are you? 

Malcom: [00:00:37] Hello? I'm great buddy. Happy new year to you, sir. 

Benedikt: [00:00:41] Happy new year to you as well. Here's to new, to better year two. Awesome. 2021. Yes. Can only get better.

All sorts 

Malcom: [00:00:54] of things that we used to enjoy, like seeing people in public and air travel, [00:01:00] stuff like that. Yes. Yes. Um, 

Benedikt: [00:01:03] yeah. So this is the final episode for this year. Can't believe it, um, whole year, like almost a year of podcasting for us with a show. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:01:14] And 

Benedikt: [00:01:14] yeah, it's kinda, it feels cool. And. I don't know anything.

You have any resolutions, anything you have planned for 20, 21? Anything you already thought about? 

Malcom: [00:01:25] Honestly, no. And I think I need to, like, I normally, uh, my fiance that than I normally do. Some of that goal planning together, we sit down and, and it's kind of like a fun thing we do together every year, but we haven't done it yet.

So, uh, we're running out of time, but, but I, I think we will, we'll, we'll, we'll get, have a coffee and, and put some stuff down and it's definitely like a really, I think it's an important thing to do  to just kind of set some milestones that you want to accomplish. And it, it kind of primes you to be a little optimistic for the, the new [00:02:00] year as well.

But, uh, yeah. Nothing, nothing yet. How are you man? Anything? 

Benedikt: [00:02:05] Uh, don't know, just the thing that I said last episode that I want to do less, but the things I do, I want to do better and like with, um, I don't know how to say it. Um, Focus more on a few key things, do those right. And do less of everything else.

So that's one of the things. Um, but other than that, yeah. You know, usually I do a similar thing that you just described. Um, I usually I do the Graham Cochrane thing. I don't know if you, some of our listeners might know him, Graham Cochrane from the recording revolution. He's also great like business coach and online business guy and, um, I'm, uh, Yeah, student of his and one of his membership programs.

And one of the things he teaches is to do like a content or planning getaway at the end of the year. Like just take one, two nights away at like a different environment and just plan out the next [00:03:00] year, plan out content topics like for this podcast, or, um, plan out like milestones. You want to reach this year things you want to achieve quarterly goals, whatever it is.

And not just numbers, but things you want to like cool things you want to do basically, and, and map them out so that you have a plan to follow for the year and you don't have to wing it basically. And that's what I did last year. And it felt awesome. It really, really felt great. And this year due to the, the whole COVID situation, I couldn't do it so I can not get away because we're not allowed to leave the house and hotels are closed.

And like, so there's no getaway. Uh, so yeah, I'm running out of time as well. And I don't, I'm not sure if I find like a quiet afternoon around anything to at least do some planning. So right now I haven't really, and it feels weird because last year it felt so good. 

Malcom: [00:03:51] Yeah. Yeah. I think that is a, that is a really good practice to just try and get a headstart on, on thinking about all that stuff.

And I liked the idea of doing it [00:04:00] over a getaway. Um, I think that kind of reminded me though, if there's one thing I definitely want to do, it's like, Avoid my phone and social media more this year than I managed to this year or this coming year more than I did this present year. Um, I want to get away from that stuff as far as possible.

I think. Yeah, it's tricky though. When you're like, I mean, we, we both run this podcast and both have another podcast as well. And uh, and we get a lot of our audio work online as well. So it's hard to stay away from those places because they are also where we. Generate our, our business. Um, but there's a lot of weird stuff online that yeah, you get 

Benedikt: [00:04:40] it, you get to stay away from the, the weird 

Malcom: [00:04:43] stuff and just use the good 

Benedikt: [00:04:45] stuff.

So I think staying in touch with people like in Facebook groups and stuff, that's good. And also like checking your messages and everything every once in a while does that, that's obviously a good thing to just to stay in touch with. People that are 

Malcom: [00:04:57] important to more intentional with the time, I guess, is [00:05:00] really what I want to do.

And just avoid 

Benedikt: [00:05:02] newsfeeds 

Malcom: [00:05:03] basically. Yes. 

Benedikt: [00:05:04] Groups and messages is one thing, but newsfeeds, like. That's the thing you got to at least have under control. 

Malcom: [00:05:12] Definitely. No more scrolling for me. Sorry. No more scrolling for me. 

Benedikt: [00:05:17] Yeah. Yeah. But how did, how are you? I just have to ask, how are you planning on achieving this or doing this?

Because I find it so hard. Like you can remember, you can try to force yourself to do this as much as you want. Once you. Sit down and you just want to look up that one thing. It like sucks you in and half an hour later, you find yourself somewhere completely different 

Malcom: [00:05:40] notice. So I think it's really hard to do.

I'm uh, I'm presently thinking I'm going to install a whole ton of stuff on my phone just to make it like, cause you can still get to it all using the Safari browser or whatever, but make it harder, make it more annoying to use and then install a little like, uh, You can put those, [00:06:00] uh, what are those called, you know, when you screen time, um, kind of limitations, which again, don't really work.

You just, your thumb gets trained to just click the button that like bypass it all. But again, I'm just gonna make my phone as annoying as possible. Um, but honestly, the most, most effective thing I can do. Is just leaving my cell phone in another room as much as possible. So if I'm in the studio, it's in the kitchen.

And then when I come out of there, I got to like swap it or something. 

Benedikt: [00:06:29] That's the best thing I've, uh, I've found like just put the phone somewhere else and then you're lazy to go and get it anyways, once you're doing something with the family or whatever. So yeah. 

Malcom: [00:06:37] As not been able to see it goes a long way.

Benedikt: [00:06:39] Yeah. And the, the whole, uh, limitations app thing, I can't recommend the. Freedom app enough, like a really, I really use that because that's really annoying to turn off once that is installed. So that's, I think I found this to be more effective than screen time. 

Malcom: [00:06:55] Yes. Yeah. You're right. That is way better.

I've got that on my computer. I can't go on [00:07:00] Facebook while I'm mixing. Yeah. 

Benedikt: [00:07:02] Anyway, so, but, um, yeah, we'll see what 2021 has got like prepared for us. Like, I don't know what, um, As you said there is also good stuff online. And one part of that is Facebook groups can be a good thing, 

Malcom: [00:07:20] cam. Yes, absolutely. 

Benedikt: [00:07:22] And they often are because, uh, like, especially these days with this whole situation, keeping in touch with like-minded people, sharing ideas, helping each other out it's really, really important.

And that's actually a good way to use Facebook, at least in my opinion. And I've, I've, I'm a member of a couple of Facebook groups that I really, really enjoy and, um, This episode that we prepared for today has to do with Facebook groups, because we thought, first of all, it's a new year. So we all need to find ways to get things done.

We all have goals. We all have resolutions or at least many of us do. We want to get things done in the new year. We want to [00:08:00] start the year. Right. And so we figured we just. We could just ask admins and founders of popular home, recording Facebook groups and ask what they've been observing during the last couple of years when they like watching their own audience, talk about what they are talking about and what obstacles they have, what problems they have.

So we reached out to those people, to those admins and. Ask them, what they think was the number one reason why people are struggling to finish their recording projects or their songs or their records and what was their advice for them? Because these people are watching observing thousands, tens of thousands of people every day in their groups.

So, yeah, maybe they found some patterns. Maybe they found some things that people have in common, um, when it comes to finishing problems or finishing product projects or having problems, finishing projects. So, yeah, what's the number one reason why people are struggling to finish their recording [00:09:00] projects and how we, how do we all get things done in 2021?

That's the question. And that's what this episode is about. I'm 

Malcom: [00:09:06] sure that somebody, people are probably relating to this already because it's like, it's the end of the year, you know, it's did we accomplish our goals that we set out? I bet somebody had the goal to like, you know, finish and release an album or something in 2020, and maybe they didn't make it.

So this, this might hit home for some folks and hopefully it's. 

Benedikt: [00:09:25] Yeah, I definitely, um, Resonates with me. Like I can definitely relate. Um, and I think most people can. And, uh, yeah, let's see what these people have to say. Let's just, let's just jump in. So what we did was we asked them to record a little voice message and send it to us.

And, um, we're going to play these audio snippets for you. Now, we're going to feature these people. Um, so you hear their voices, their words, and their advice. And then we're going to talk about it and see what we think about it. So let's start this off 

[00:10:00] Malcom: [00:10:00] or read 

Benedikt: [00:10:01] the first person here is Amar Sharma. I hope I'm pronouncing the name, right?

I think you did from the home recording studio, sown Facebook group, and he's also running a studio called overdrive studios in Spain. And here's what he has to say. 

Amar: [00:10:17] Hi, this is Mr. Sharma from overdrive studios, Spain. So what's the main reason for people struggling to finish their recording projects? 

I think initially it's definitely 

one of the more daunting parts of the process and we could easily pin it on not having enough time.

Thinking you don't have the right equipment or plugins or 

maybe fear of criticism. 

But I think with all due respect, it comes down to a lack of experience because you could be a great musician, but in most cases I can almost guarantee you it's taken you years and a lot of practice to get there. And the same applies with 

recording and production.

It's made out to look super easy, but it really does require that you put in the hours. Uh, and the only way to get there is just by doing it. 

[00:11:00] Resources like the self recording 

band they're here to help you get there that 

little bit 

faster. So my advice in most cases would be to set yourself a deadline and release your music, or 

just close the 

book 

Amar: [00:11:09] on your projects, whatever it is that you're 

planning on doing with them.

Because once the ball is rolling, you'll see 

how much faster and how much more decisive you become with your future work. It'll take time, but you will get there. And I think psychologically speaking positive feedback 

loops are really important 

too. So consider creating your own reward system. 

For example, you 

could decide that once you finish your song on a project, you'll treat yourself to that next bit of equipment that you've been eyeing up.

It's a topic that definitely warrants by the conversation. Just want to quickly thank Benedict for contacting me for this episode and give a quick shout out to the home recording studios, own Facebook group, a wonderful community of like-minded people. So please do check us out. 

Benedikt: [00:11:47] Awesome. Thank you, Amar for this message.

I think it's great. Um, there's a lot to unpack here. First of all. Yeah. Check out the home recording studio, sewn Facebook group, everyone. Um, it's got, I'm just looking it up. It's got [00:12:00] like 35,000 members, so there's a lot of like-minded people in there. I'm sure they there's a lot of things. There are a lot of things being discussed in there that are, could be helpful for you.

I'm sure someone in that group has had the same problem. She'll just check that group out. See if you find it helpful as well. And now to Amar's message. 

Malcom: [00:12:21] Yeah. Yeah. Thanks again tomorrow. That's that was totally awesome. I'm totally curious where your studio is in Spain now. Um, but I'm gonna message you if you're listening to this, I'm going to DM you we've got talks to have.

Um, but, but yeah, that was, that was, that was a great message. Um, because. It's so true. People expect to learn this really quick. And I think some people kind of give themselves a hard time when they don't get results right away. And I think thinking about your instrument and how long it took you to get where you are with that is a great thing to do because it might put it into perspective.

Um, Something that I stress to [00:13:00] two engineers that have like assisted me is getting really quick with like key commands, pretty much treating their dog, like an instrument and learning to be able to manipulate their dog really, really fast. And the idea being that if it takes you too long to do anything, it's going to stop your creative flow and it's going to stop your momentum and your workflow.

And that's going to essentially kind of delay the gratification of seeing your song come together. Um, and time can be the enemy when you're trying to make good art. Uh, yeah, so that, and that's like, you know, for clients in mind, but it's also true when you're trying to make your own music. Like, uh, we actually don't rip on pro tools very much on this podcast, but that's funny.

Um, that's kind of like, that's a very common thing to do in the audio community, but I love pro tools, but I never recommend it to people that are trying to make their own music. Like, I, I it's anybody that's trying to record their themselves. I tell them to run the other way. Um, it's, it's kind of like the worst off of [00:14:00] that because of this, it's a really steep learning curve and it's slow unless you become really good at it.

Um, so yeah, so it's, the experience is going to hold you back if you're trying to make music with pro tools in my mind. So, and I think that's kind of something we can take away from Amar's message here is that. You have to get good at all of these different things. Um, the first time you make up a drum kit is probably going to be a mess and sound terrible.

So you're going to have to do it again and until you get it right, um, there, the first time you make up an app, it might sound terrible and you'll have to spend time figuring out why and, and learning and learning and learning and learning. And that might actually feel defeating, but it's actually a good thing, right?

You're, you're actually learning skills that are going to make it easier the next time. And over time, you're, it's going to come together a lot quicker than this first time. 

Benedikt: [00:14:54] Absolutely. And I think it's also important to become comfortable with the fact that it's not going to be [00:15:00] good the first time. And just as a Marcet like close the book on this project, just finish it, move on to the next project, because if you keep.

Tweaking your first project ever. If you keep tweaking that forever and hope they will be good. It will be good. It will take way, way longer than like compared to just like finishing it, releasing it, or just like archiving it and starting a new project and recording a new song. And then you're one and another one is another one.

And the more different things you do. Um, the more songs you, you are, you're creating or recording, the more projects you're working on, the more experienced you get, and like you get your you'll encounter different sorts of problems and your progress will be much faster than, uh, compared to like yeah.

Getting the first thing, trying to get the first thing. Perfect. So just get comfortable with the fact that it's not going to be perfect. Close it. Move on. Do it again. And yeah. That's that's, that's a good, great piece of advice here also is like set deadlines for that, because [00:16:00] it's hard to do that. Um, so I think when you, that's the planning again, when you have, like, for example, with your band, when you say we're gonna.

Um, we're gonna record it the first couple of demos this year, or we just wanna get the music out for the first time. And we want to do, I don't know, one song every two months or whatever three months or whatever your timeline is, or your plan is just make a plan like that and commit to releasing that song every two or three months, no matter like how great it is, if you want to get better at this.

And if you want to do it yourself, It's not going to be perfect and it's much better to release those songs and make them as good as you can, than to do nothing for a year or two. And then finally release the first thing. And it's still not perfect, you know? 

Malcom: [00:16:44] Yeah. I totally agree. Fail, fail as fast as you can as fast and often as you can.

Yeah. Yeah. The other really interesting thing you said was the creating positive feedback loops, um, which like pretty much means reward [00:17:00] yourself. Uh, for, for doing hard things to make it more enjoyable. Right. Um, that's how I first learned about positive feedbacks that reading in a book about, uh, holism actually, because that's how alcoholism starts is that you get a hang over and you're like, Oh God, I like this hurts.

I wonder if I have a beer, if it will help. And it does. And now there's a, your brain's like, Oh, so when I have beer, my headache goes away and then you start wanting beer more and more. So you can use that. To your advantage though, instead of becoming an alcoholic, you can become really good at audio engineering.

That is like, Oh my God. Yeah, no, no. I think it's 

Benedikt: [00:17:38] great. I was just wondering which book it was, because I think I read the same, but I can't remember which 

Malcom: [00:17:42] one. I can't remember either. Okay, well, we'll come back to that if, again, if it enters my head, but anyways, uh, uh, yeah, you can use it to kind of reward yourself for, for accomplishing things.

Um, you know, a lot of people do it with exercise. They'll have, uh, like a little [00:18:00] cheat meal after the gym or something, you know, like a little sweet or something. And it's like, Oh, if I punished myself in the gym, I get a chocolate, whatever. And, uh, yeah, I, I see actually people do this unconsciously all the time.

Um, We finished recording a song and then all of a sudden they buy a new guitar pedal or something like that. It it's like, ah, I just need more gear because we did something cool. Um, and I'm all for that. I always noticed that people write a new song whenever they buy a guitar pedal. 

Benedikt: [00:18:29] Yeah. I, I totally agree.

That's super powerful thing. It can be dangerous though. So I've, I don't know if you've been in the same situation, but there have been times where I, where I said. I'm gonna reward myself with XYZ when I do whatever, and then I don't finish it or don't accomplish it, but I still get the thing that I wanted because I've already like, I dunno, I I've already decided that I'm going to buy this, 

Malcom: [00:18:54] this thing regardless.

Like, whether, I mean, the worst is when you decide that [00:19:00] the thing will help you accomplish this thing even worse. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. 

Benedikt: [00:19:05] So it's kind of the interest, but it can be very helpful. I just thought maybe the book was, could it be that it was atomic habits by James 

Malcom: [00:19:11] clear? It definitely could have been.

I did. I did read that. Um, I don't know, but it could be, yeah, it might've been that one's not really about alcoholism. It just has a chapter about positive feedback. And it's mentioned in there 

Benedikt: [00:19:24] it could be that one, but I might, I might be wrong anyway. So yeah. Positive people like feedback loops, reward yourself.

Um, great strategy. Also the reward could just be, I mean, that's rewarding in and of itself. Like if you. Set the deadline, make your calendar, decide to release like four songs this year, one every quarter or whatever. And you actually do that and accomplish it. That's rewarding. And that's like, I think that momentum you'll get from that.

That is already a positive, like yeah. A positive thing and a positive feedback loop, because people will give you actual feedback on your songs. You feel like you're moving ahead. You feel like [00:20:00] you're getting something done. Your band is active doing something. So that is rewarding already. And if you then add a guitar pedal on top or something.

Malcom: [00:20:12] Great. 

Benedikt: [00:20:13] Awesome. Thanks Tamara. Great piece of advice. 

Malcom: [00:20:16] Absolutely. Okay. So up next, we had, uh, a great message from Simon back of the home recording advice and discussion Facebook group. Um, and Simon also has a SoundCloud that included, and he's under Simon back three on SoundCloud. And we'll include a link to that in the show notes as well.

Um, exactly, but here is Simon Smith. 

Simon: [00:20:40] Hi, my name is Simon Beck. I'm the founder of the home recording advice and discussion group on Facebook. And I've been recording my own music since 1984. One of the most common reasons people give for not finishing songs or projects is that they keep adding or changing parts in the pursuit of the perfect production.

Nobody wants an incomplete or sloppy [00:21:00] recording, but sometimes it's a good idea to stop, wait until  the next da and listen to what you've got with fresh ears. It will probably sound a lot better than you thought and possibly good enough to mix and master. 

Benedikt: [00:21:11] All right. Thanks Simon for this piece of advice.

Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:21:15] Thank you, Simon. 

Benedikt: [00:21:16] Yeah. Um, Absolutely. I mean, I, I totally agree. We already talked about that before for a bit, so I'm not sure it's every, that every time it's going to be enough to have like two to, to be actually able to start the mix or mastering. So again, just be comfortable with that with the fact that it's not going to be good every time you record something.

So, but still. Simons, uh, has a point here and it's, uh, it's a pretty good piece of advice because what happens when you don't take that break and you don't move away from the project and you keep pushing because you think you need to make it more perfect and you think to make, to, you have to improve it more.

What happens is you you'll add a bunch of things. You'll [00:22:00] tweak stuff only to listen to it the next day and then undo or like yeah. Undo everything and start over because you. Your ears were fried and you weren't able to make great decisions anymore. So taking that break, moving away from it, listening back the next day with fresh ears helps a lot, will save you a lot of time.

Um, that fresh perspective is like super a super valuable thing. And I totally agree with Simon here. Yup. 

Malcom: [00:22:28] Yup. Yeah, there's, it's a, it's a really common strategy and mixing like most mixers, try and take a break every hour for, for their years alone. Um, but then like, actually I think we talked about this maybe last episode, even, uh, just when, whenever we finish a mix, we always try and not send it till the next day.

Uh, because we just like want to have one more lesson after we've taken some time from it to make sure that it's up to snuff. Um, and that is something that should totally be taken into production decisions as well. More often. Um, and it's [00:23:00] hard. I mean, for like when I go into a studio with a band, normally it's back to back set days, you know, go in for three days or whatever.

So you don't really have that chance to really take. Uh, a break that's long enough to, you know, be more objective because you're so caught up in the song, but before mixing and I always do so we'll get out of the studio, we finished the song and I'm not going to start mixing that next day. I'm going to wait like a week if I can.

Um, and then come open up the session for like the first time after a week and listen then, and that is again, so powerful. Um, either. Well, like it's gone both ways from me, the band. And I have been like, okay, we, we still have a lot to do, but we listened in like a week and it's like, no, this is, this is totally enough.

Um, or it's the opposite. And we listened to it and ideas start flying again. And it's like, Nope, since more, you know, whatever we need to harm into to here. And those ideas weren't there until we took that time and space. So I think that's a great suggestion. It's just taking a break and having perspective.

It might 

Benedikt: [00:23:58] be done. [00:24:00] Absolutely. And it sounds kind of counterintuitive in the beginning because you might think if I get this done today, it's faster and I don't want to spend another day on it and spending another day on, it might feel like you were tweaking something that could have been finished today, and you don't want to open it up once again.

And you F you are afraid that you. Um, yeah, spend too much time on something, but the opposite is actually true because if you move away from it, you might find, as my country said, you might find out that it's done. It's enough where it says, like, maybe you don't even have to spend those three, four or five hours that you would have, like at night, maybe it's already good enough.

And going back to it with fresh ears might actually save you time compared to trying to push through and get everything done today because you might end up doing things that are not necessary. 

Malcom: [00:24:48] Yeah, we're kind of talking about fresh ears and a fresh brain. Oh yeah. Yeah. So like, there's the ability to make creative decisions in like, as far as like what is in there, how the part is and all that kind of stuff, but [00:25:00] also, um, like, yeah, like we said, having fresh ears where you can decide what sounds good.

That's also important while you're recording, because if you make bad decisions about the guitar tone, it's going to haunt you for the rest of the project. 

Benedikt: [00:25:12] Yeah. And also there's some overlap with what Amar said. I just realized because I'm like this chasing perfection chasing the perfect production is so dangerous.

And if you just finish it, if you move away from it, listen to it. The next day decide that it's actually pretty cool release it and move on to the next thing. That's pretty much in line with what Amar said and. I think that that is the saying that done is better than perfect. And that also applies here because I think a band that releases again, like releases four, five, six songs a year will have learned so much.

And we'll be so far ahead compared to a band who was tweaking one song all year and trying to get good. That's a great point. 

Malcom: [00:25:53] So 

Benedikt: [00:25:54] yeah, it, it might be difficult at first and you might feel like you're releasing something imperfect, but [00:26:00] the speed of growth and improvement will be. Much like, yeah. We'll be much better, much higher than compared to just filling around with one thing.

Malcom: [00:26:10] Yeah, absolutely. I agree. All 

Benedikt: [00:26:13] right. Awesome. Thank you, Simon. Check out the home recording advice and discussion group and Simon's SoundCloud. 

Malcom: [00:26:18] Thank you Simon. 

Benedikt: [00:26:19] Cool. So the next one is from Mario. Mario sent us a written message actually. So we're going to read it out. He's um, an admin of the, a home recording for everyday musicians, Facebook group, also a very big Facebook group.

So we only chose groups with a lot of members because we want it because we wanted real experts. We wanted people who are observing a lot of DIY engineers and musicians. Um, yeah, every single day. So that's another very big popular Facebook group on that topic. And, um, Mario has been an admin of it for awhile and he sent the following message.

He said, the biggest trap you can fall in [00:27:00] if you're doing it in the DIY way is to try to do it completely on your own. It is very difficult to develop the musician in you at the same time that you develop the technician. And so on stick to only one role and ask a friend to do the other part, being a Jack of all trades means.

You'll be the master of none. DIY doesn't mean you cannot ask for help. Cooperation is the key. Now that one is interesting. 

Malcom: [00:27:23] It is. Yeah. Uh, yeah. Yeah. It's. He's absolutely right. Um, and I think you can, I think this is one of the rare places where people do manage to become the master of all. Um, and, and that, I totally want people to strive for that.

Um, but I think the key takeaway here is that when you're recording your music and especially for people that are recording it with the intention to release it and need it to be. Really good. Right? Like if you're trying to actually turn your band into [00:28:00] something, um, That's going to have a career in front of it.

It has to be amazing. Everything, everything you put out, right. So how do you put out this amazing product when you're still learning how to make an amazing product? And I think the point Mario here is making is that it's okay to get help for what you're not able to do yourself. Like for example, if the drums need to be edited and you can't do it.

They still have to be edited, right. That you can't just skip the step because you don't know how to do it. Um, so you either got to learn or while you're learning, have somebody else do it. Um, you know, Benny and I talk about this all the time about how learning to engineer's a lot easier than learning how to mix.

So outsource the mixing, because if you can't pull that off, it still has to be done. Right. It's just always that it's the jobs, all the jobs, every job has to be done. And you have to decide if you're ready to do it yourself. Or, uh, if you need to find somebody to help you with it. 

Benedikt: [00:28:58] Totally. And at [00:29:00] first, when you read that message, when you hear that message, it might seem like the opposite of what we are talking about here on this episode, on this podcast the whole time.

But it's actually not as, as you just said, and I'll come, we, we actually say the same thing a lot of times, and it's also, it could also mean that you could just. Assign different roles within your band. And that's also something that we talk about a lot and that I've, I've been talking about in my emails and my other content, my articles as well.

Um, we have even have an episode where we said you should get a producer, even if you are producing yourself. And what that means is one of the people in the band should have like the producer hat on one. One person should be the, should have the creative vision should be the producer. Another person should maybe be the engineer.

And another person is maybe really good at it. I dunno, tuning drums or whatever it is. Like every one of you will have one thing that they were he or she is excellent at. And maybe other things that he or she is not excellent at. And you can just find out what that [00:30:00] is, distributed the roles within the band and focus on one thing.

So it's not about, it's not only about, um, That it's hard to do to learn everything, but it's also about the fact that it's easier or better to really focus on one thing and not get distracted. So it's hard to focus on the big picture, the whole vision for the record and how everything should come together while you are tweaking a snare drum sound.

I think that caliber, the cooperation and collaboration really is key. And that can mean outsourcing. That can also mean like distributing roles within the band. Um, yeah, it's just, as you said, um, DIY, it doesn't mean you cannot ask for help. That's basically all there is to it. And he, I think he's totally right with that.

And a lot of, yeah, why people fall and fall into that trap because they think they have to do everything on their own. And a lot of bands that I know who produce themselves, there's one person in the band who really does everything and everyone else is just not interested in it. There might be the [00:31:00] person who's responsible for booking or whatever.

But when it comes to production, there's usually one or two people maximum in the band who are responsible for that. And they do everything. So why not? Um, collaborate more and like, yeah. Um, assigned roles. Within the production. 

Malcom: [00:31:16] Definitely. It pays to delegate for sure. So if you can, if you can convince some other people to get on board and try and take some of the work though.

That's great. And also, just to note, uh, if you are outsourcing and hiring somebody that's like professional to do one of these tasks, that can always be a really great opportunity to learn more about how to do that. Right. So if you can. Actually get into, I mean, nobody can get in the same room as anybody right now, but just keep in mind that if you're working with somebody, you might be able to also pick up some, some tidbits of knowledge along the way, um, which could be really worth it.

Benedikt: [00:31:48] Yep. Agreed. So, yeah. Thank you Mario. For that message. Uh, check out the home recording for everyday musicians, Facebook group, all of the links to the East groups will be in the show notes. Of course. So [00:32:00] check them out. Thank you for submitting for taking the time, uh, and for helping us with this episode, Mario.

Thank you. 

Malcom: [00:32:06] Okay. All right. So then our, uh, last but not least is Dan Stinson of 

metal 

Malcom: [00:32:12] audio engineers, and the owner of 12 moon audio. Um, and here is Dan's message. 

Dan: [00:32:20] This is Dan Stinson from metal audio engineers. Uh, just some quick advice for people struggling to get through projects. 

Benedikt: [00:32:26] Um, 

Dan: [00:32:26] one of the best things you could do for yourself is before you even start a project, whether you're mixing or tracking or any process here is to make sure you have a clear cut vision of what you want the final product to sound like before you even touch anything.

And that way you're spending your time moving towards a very specific goal. You know, and not just, you know, spending hours, swapping out tones and presets and playing with stuff, waiting for something to magically fit together, you know? Cause most of the time you're not, it's not gonna end up very well.

Malcom: [00:32:59] Um, 

Dan: [00:32:59] one of the [00:33:00] other things you can do is your, your self-organization. And if you have a big project, you know, or a lots of projects to work on, write out every single thing you have to do to get that project completed and then map that out. No different days, different times. And then you can see that everything's going to get taken care of in its own time.

Benedikt: [00:33:20] And you can spend each 

Dan: [00:33:21] day focusing on very specific tasks and that way it frees you up to just focus on what's going on right now. And you have some peace of mind knowing that everything else is going to be taken care of. 

Benedikt: [00:33:33] All right. Thank you, Dan. So dances, um, mobile audio engineers, this Facebook group, some of you might know that.

I mean, some of you might know the others as well, but that one's pretty, uh, especially familiar. Um, I I'm especially familiar with that one because like I'm in the heavy music rock world and I know some of our listeners are as well at the metal audio engineers group is pretty popular there. So, yeah.

Great message. Great advice here as well from Dan. The whole [00:34:00] having a vision and like forming the sound in your head first and then trying to make that come out of the speakers or capturing it that way. That's, that's a pretty damn good advice that I I'm preaching all the time as well. It's kind of hard to do because people have a hard time.

I think people are really having a hard time with, especially when they're unexperienced, um, trying to come up with that sound in your head. Yeah, but it's, it's a thing that's absolutely worth practicing. And when you're not, um, I don't know how to say it when you know, why you reach for a certain knob or for a certain microphone, or why you play something at that exact spot in the room.

Instead of just constantly experimenting without really knowing why you're doing it. It's so much more efficient, faster, and also it just feels good because you're just getting things done. You're just moving forward. You're not just, you're not going back and forth. You're not constantly undoing things, but it just keep moving forward.

[00:35:00] And so that's a really great thing to practice. Um, Yeah, I think, I think it really, really helps, although it's hard, but it helps. 

Malcom: [00:35:09] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Um, a lot of people always ask, what does a producer do? Especially people that aren't musicians at all, people are just mystified by what I do for a living all the time.

But one of my favorite aspects of what a producer does is the producer is in charge of having the vision for how the song is going to act. Exit speakers essentially take a song from a band and how it's going to translate into being heard on headphones or speakers kind of thing. And that is very different than how a band sounds in a, in a jam space kind of thing.

Um, so. I love doing that. I can picture like, you know, if the guitar is going to be panned off to the side, if it's going to be doubled, if the drums are going to be big and bombastic or dry and tight and more mano or whatever, you know, like all of these decisions are decisions that are a usually make before we even go into the studio.

And I [00:36:00] really encourage you to actually take that idea into your writing even, um, like as you're writing the songs, I love writing songs like that. Like that's, that's how you come up with cool riffs. It's like picturing how they're going to come out of speakers. Um, that's how, you know, if it's actually a cool bombastic riff, that's going to make people move right.

And same for drums and everything. The more vision that you've got, like the pre-production essentially you've put into this, the easier it is going to be to make decisions as you record, you know, you'll, you'll already know which amp you're going to be reaching for, or which guitar, because you've got this vision in your head.

Um, and then I also really love Dan's idea of like breaking it down into individual tasks. And like writing that into the calendar, like, okay, this day guitars, the stays bass or whatever. Um, or, you know, I think people work in different ways when it comes to productivity. You know, if some people could just make a checklist, uh, I I've talked about doing studio boards, um, which I'm a big [00:37:00] fan of as well.

But anything to kind of compartmentalize all the individual stuff that's got to get done is really, really worth doing. 

Benedikt: [00:37:07] Yep. And here we are at the deadlines again. So that only makes sense if you really stick to that plan and like make deadlines and make sure you actually move on when one thing is done.

So there's no, it doesn't make any sense to block. Time slots in your calendar, if you don't stick to them. So stop with one thing whenever the time is over and not when it's finished, because it will never be finished. So yeah, I mean, of course you need to actually achieve the thing, but it, as we said, it doesn't have to be perfect the first time round.

And you, when, whenever the amount of time that you gave yourself for it, it's over move on to the next thing. And then once you got through the whole project, you can still go back to some of the things and refine them or tune them, fine, tune them. But maybe some of it will not be necessary anymore, but you [00:38:00] got to stick to those slots and just move on.

And that's something I can speak from experience as well, because I'm struggling with that constantly, to be honest, like I have a calendar, I have, obviously I have a calendar, but I have really a plan out everything in. In great detail and I make lists for everything and I have like a, a big plan for everything, but it really like, it's not often that it really works out the way that I plan it.

And. When that happens when the time is over and I'm not done yet, I have like a decision to make. I can either go on with the task and ignore that the nest next task is due now, or that I need to move on to the next task or I can move on to the next task and stop what I just did. Regardless if it's finished on up, um, that's oftentimes the better option, the better choice here.

Just move on to the next thing and then come back later and refine if necessary, but like really stick to that plan. That's the only thing that works. It's kind of hard, but that's the [00:39:00] only thing this works. Uh, the only way that this works. And I agree with, with Dan here that this vision, knowing why to do certain things and then knowing when to do each of the things really helps really, really helps it's it sounds like the opposite of creative work or making art, like it's the whole planning and organizing thing.

Nobody really likes that, especially creative people, but that is actually what frees you up to be creative. As, as Dan said, that's actually, what gives you. The mental space to focus on creative things, because you know that everything's going to be taken care of that it will get done. And it gives you peace of mind.

And that is what enables you to be more creative, I think. 

Malcom: [00:39:41] Yeah. Yeah. That kind of offloads all the junk so that you're able to focus on one thing for an extended period of time. 

Benedikt: [00:39:46] Yeah. And as you say that Narcan pre-production is really the key here. I think, especially with the vision part, I think pre-production is where you actually do that and where you practice to, to form that vision and like, [00:40:00] to really.

Get to that final picture that you want to have in the end and that you want to capture in the actual production. I think in pre-production, it's totally okay to experiment, to figure out things, to try different AMS, different instruments, different microphones, but when preproduction is over and you start the actual recording, that's when you should have an idea of what works and what doesn't work, and that's where you should have a plan for when to do what and what to reach for.

So pre-production really is the key. And I think a lot of that might be also a reason actually, why a lot of people don't finish the recordings or are unhappy with their recordings because they skip that part. They jump right into recording and the songs are not even finished yet, like, or it could be could, could need a little help still.

They haven't done pre-production they haven't done proper demos. They are not sure what to use. They don't know why they use certain things. They're still experimenting and then it gets frustrating. Then they compare themselves to records. They love. Then they [00:41:00] find out that theirs don't sound as good, and then they quit or they, it takes them forever to finish something.

So 

Malcom: [00:41:08] it's like a train going off. The tracks 

Benedikt: [00:41:11] and pre production really is the key preparation planning. And pre-production. Is the key here? I think 

Malcom: [00:41:16] definitely. Yeah. I, uh, I love when people come to me and have looked up how their favorite album was made, it's like, okay, so you know exactly what you're looking for in you already found out how they did it.

Like that's pretty cool and it's totally possible in a lot of cases, right? Sometimes it's not that, uh, nowadays things are documented so well that you can actually make it figure a lot of stuff out just by looking it up. Yeah. 

Benedikt: [00:41:40] Yeah, totally. 

Malcom: [00:41:42] So, 

Benedikt: [00:41:43] yeah, I mean, that's been a lot of great advice here and I like, I also really like the fact that those are four messages from four different people and they are all different, but they.

I don't know, they are [00:42:00] connected in some way. And I really liked the fact because I didn't know what to expect. You could have been that like four people are sending the same advice, but they're not, they're looking at it from different angles, different perspectives, but they are all right in a way. And 

Malcom: [00:42:13] they all work 

Benedikt: [00:42:14] together.

And I really think. I really think this worked out great. That was what I was hoping for with this episode and materially, it really worked out and I hope it's helpful for you as well. 

Malcom: [00:42:23] Mr. Simon, Mario and Dan, thank you all very much for taking the time to send in those answers. We appreciate it very much.

Yeah, we 

Benedikt: [00:42:31] do. We absolutely do. So let's maybe at the end of this episode, let's sum it up for four people. So how do you get done? How do you get your projects done in 2021? 

Malcom: [00:42:43] Right. 

Benedikt: [00:42:44] Just bullet points so that people remember 

Malcom: [00:42:45] all the points. Okay. Take a break and have fresh air. Amar would be, uh, th the, I guess, the, the Being okay with failure and inexperience, you know, and that you are learning and it's gonna take [00:43:00] time. And also creating some positive feedbacks to reward yourself as you go.

That's it, that would be Amar's. And then Simon was, yeah, taking a break and having fresh ears was really the takeaway there. And then from Mario, asking for help, which is actually, yeah, just so much what we're about. The more I think about Mario's the more I'm like, yeah, that's just so true.

That's why we have the whole Facebook group, The Self-Recording Band Facebook group. It's like a place where people can post questions and stuff like that and we're trying to teach people, we're trying to help people ourselves with this podcast. So that's totally true, if you need help, just ask right away.

And then from Dan was the idea of having a vision of what you're doing and then creating a list to break down the steps to achieve that vision, which is again, really, really powerful. Cool, 

Benedikt: [00:43:52] awesome. Yeah, that's a great way to sum it up again. Visit those Facebook groups. It's the home recording studio, sown Facebook [00:44:00] group.

It's the home recording advice and discussion group. It's home recording for everyday musicians. And then finally the metal audio engineer's Facebook group. And while we're at it, we have a Facebook group ourselves, of course. And it's called the self recording band community. So you want to check out that, uh, group as well?

Of course. And I hope to see you in there if you're not already in there, it's small compared to these other groups, but it's a pretty good group already. And it's like, We've seen a lot more engagement lately and people are really starting to use that group starting to help each other out. Whenever someone asks a question, it doesn't take long for people to jump in and answer it, which is a really good thing.

Um, and we believe that it's a really helpful place for you. There are a lot of like-minded like-minded people in there and yeah, check that out. It's the self recording band.com/community that will forward you to our Facebook group. And all of that, again, will be in the show notes. So, thank you everyone for [00:45:00] submitting these things again, for these pieces of advice, we hope you all, and also your listeners, uh, have a great, are having a great 20, 21, a great start to the new year and we'll see you next year.

Malcom: [00:45:15] Yeah. Thank you very much. SIA in 2021, looking forward to it. 

Benedikt: [00:45:19] Awesome.

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