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Category Archives for "Project Organization"

Systems, Processes And Creativity

Daily Blog - May 20th 2021

Using systems, processes and a streamlined workflow doesn't sound very creative, right? For me, those are my number one creativity enhancers.

Systems, Processes And Creativity

I create checklists and processes for everything!

I do it because I want to focus all of my available "brain RAM" and mental energy on the things that matter. The creative stuff. The music, the art, the sound, the vision and "why" behind it, following my gut feeling, acting on spontaneous ideas, connecting with other people. Things only a human can do.

I want to create, not manage and troubleshoot. 

So I get the tedious, repeating stuff out of the way, by automating it (with clever software), delegating (outsourcing) it, or creating checklists and processes for myself and people I work with, so that, at the very least, we don't have to think about it while we're doing it.

You can create processes for everything from songwriting, to recording, mixing, mastering, setting up sessions, creating templates, managing and archiving files, sharing projects with others, publishing content and music releases, social media campaigns, Spotify pitching, label pitching and all the small tasks that are part of those big items.

The key is to build systems and processes that you can follow every time (or quickly outsource), leaving room in them for the creative parts that need to be unique and personalized and that actually require your brain power. That way you don't forget anything, you prevent mistakes and you can focus exclusively on those creative aspects. 

The following list offers examples of tasks that take a lot of time and can easily be built into a system, checklists or even automated processes that will make your life as a creator so much easier:


  • Setting up a new session
  • color coding your tracks
  • routing
  • scheduling rehearsals/recording time
  • sharing files
  • archiving and backing up sessions
  • bouncing rough mixes
  • exporting multitracks
  • etc. 

And you can go much further than that. Even the recording and mixing itself can be broken down into steps. Think "gain staging", "basic fader balance", "panning", "choose the right mic", "find the right mic position", "check the signal flow", "record drum samples as tuning reference", "check tuning in between takes", the list goes on and on. And some of these can again be their own processes that include a certain number of steps you follow every time. Or should follow, until you forget a step.

The same is true for songwriting or arranging. Everything includes processes and tasks that have nothing to do with the creative side of it.

So, I understand if making music and systems like that seem contrary to you. And I understand it doesn't sound like a lot of fun. Until you try it. You'll never want to go back, once you've discovered the power of it.

What can you automate, delegate or create a process and checklist for that you can follow? What can you get out of your brain and onto a piece of paper, spreadsheet or into a software program, so you can create more and better art?

-Benedikt

PS: I often post videos to these daily blog posts in my Instagram Stories: @benedikthain

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The Record Is What Matters, Isn’t It?

Daily Blog - May 12th 2021

I got a great comment on a video in my online course, The Self-Recording Band Academy, the other day. One of my students was pointing out that swapping roles/instruments within a band or even hiring outside musicians for the record was a very touchy subject for most musicians. 

Yes, I agree and I have definitely witnessed some passionate discussions on that before. 🙂

The Record Is What Matters, Isn’t It?

In fact, I often started those discussions when I was still producing bands, because I would always suggest whatever was the best for the record.

So it definitely is a  touchy subject. But should it be? This really got me thinking. At the end of the day, if you want to make the best record you can possibly make, the end result is all that matters.

And unless it’s really just for fun, the record and the band as a whole are always more important than the ego or the individual. So in the studio, whenever the band has some goal other than just having fun, every serious producer and engineer will suggest using the players who can do the best job for each instrument/part. Within the band or even outside musicians.

It’s super common and just part of making a professional sounding record. As producers we would do the band a disservice if we didn’t suggest whatever gets them the best result.

So as a DIY band, you are the producer and the same applies. 

And everyone in the band benefits from that, because it moves the band as a whole forward, leads to the most exciting record and nobody will ever ask or care about who played what in the studio. They either like it or not.

The reality is that all the way from local bands to professional major label artists, what you see live on stage is rarely what happened in the studio. And that’s totally fine! Because everyone in the band might be good enough to perform live, but only one person can be the absolute best in the studio for a certain instrument. And that’s the person who should play the part. Everything else is a compromise if your goal is to give your audience the best possible listening experience and the most exciting record.

If none of that matters and it’s really just for fun, do whatever you want, of course. 🙂 But if the band and the record are really important to you, think about this for a second. You might be sabotaging yourself.

-Benedikt

PS: You'll also find these daily blog posts in my Instagram Stories: @benedikthain

learn how to transform your DIY recordings from basement demos to Releases That Connect And Resonate With Your Audience

Get the free Ultimate 10-Step guide To Successful DIY-Recording

#24: The Process Of Making A Record – Breaking It Down From Idea To Finished Release

This Podcast (and whole website) is about making records. 

And this is the master episode. The episode of all episodes, if you will.

Because we're walking you through the entire process of how records are made, explain every step along the way and talk about how to best approach each step, depending on what you're going for and what situation you're in.

There's so much that goes into making a record that the actual process of recording it is just a small piece of the puzzle. Join us as we're breaking it down step by step, so you can create your own master plan for your next release!

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