Trial and Error

I was chatting to a friend of mine Gabriel (some of you might know him as Gremlinz).

He said he really liked this little remix Loxy and I had made about a year back of one of our own tracks and said it should be released.

The thought of releasing it had never even occurred to me.

Why?

Because that remix was made in a rush before a gig (literally in about an hour) only for ourselves to play out.

And in hindsight, I wasn’t even too pleased with it.

Yet there he was saying it is one of the best things he’s heard from us.

 

 

It’s hard to predict what people are gonna like.

(Anyone running a record label knows this is true…)

It has taken me by surprise countless of times.

 

Now, obviously there has to be some sort of quality control in place…

But many times I see people (myself included) going too far with it.

 

You are blind to your own material.

Don’t hold back your music. 

That kind of mentality is just bad for you and it gets you nowhere!

 

Once the tune is done, let it go.

See what people think.

There could be someone out there who would enjoy hearing it.

And if there’s one, there are others…

And who knows where that could take you.

That’s how music works.

 

Think of some of the most prolific and successful producers out there…

Let’s say, someone like… Calibre.

Do you think he got where he is now by sitting on his tunes?

NO. He puts it out there and moves on to the next thing.

 

There are countless of other examples.

It just works like that.

 

Constantly put yourself out there.

Make mistakes and expose yourself to critique

That is the real school of music.

What have you got to lose?


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  • http://r4ns0m.tumblr.com Harry Ransom

    I’m guilty of holding my music at times, and never really know how to just put it out there (especially without being one of those “OMG CHECK OUT MY TUNES!!!” types, or the ‘bait & switch’ Soundcloud commenter), or who I should be sending stuff to. I think part of it is not networking, maybe? And advice on how to approach people outside of, say, immediate friends?

    BTW, I’m DJ’ing with Gremlinz in DC in October, looking forward to hearing his set.

    • Ilpo Kärkkäinen

      Sorry for late reply Harry, it seems I have missed your comment.

      Yeah it always comes down to networking. It’s not one of my strongest sides either.

      I think Soundcloud is a great tool. But like you said people will smell abuse. So rather than spamming, you should send a personal and sincere message. Works for me at least.

      The same goes for email. Emails get read.

      Finally AIM is a great place to just shoot out tunes to tons of people. A lot of DNB people are still on there as it just works. If you are sending through AIM just make sure to tag the MP3s properly and preferably include your email address on the filename itself. And leave a little message in the chat to introduce yourself. But don’t expect a reply as many people just leave it on to receive tunes.

      In general: Don’t be shy, just send out your music. What’s the worse that could happen?

      Hope that helps a bit! Maybe I should write a longer post on the topic of how to approach people/labels…

      • Harry Ransom

        No worries, thanks for the follow-up and advice! I figured you were busy with projects.

        I think part of why I’ve held stuff back is either a “compare & despair” mentality, or a “I’m not as good as ________” mentality, which I have been doing less of the past year and just thinking in terms of writing what I like, and not worrying so much about external things.

        BTW the site re-design looks great.

        • Eternal mist

          i personally think its ok to hold on to tunes sometimes. well if you are still starting out and never had a release at least. i have made contacts with some decent label owners and i dont wanna send them shitty tunes. i would rather wait till i can send something that will wow them. im looking at it in that i only have one shot! im scared if i send a shitty tune they wont bother listening the next time!

        • Ilpo Kärkkäinen

          There’s always someone that you think came up with something better. I don’t think “compare & despair” ever ends so no reason to let that stop you. :) Sounds like you are on the right track anyway.

          It’s definitely OK and GOOD to have quality control. But I don’t think the part about only having one shot holds true! Smart label owners know that many aspiring producers are quickly building their skills and the next batch of music they send is likely to be better than the previous one – always worth checking in any case.

          One has to find a balance with inner quality control and letting go of the music.

          Exposing yourself to critique takes guts. If you let that fear control you, it will lead you to never really finishing anything or sending your music out.

  • http://www.deeplysubjectivemusic.com Motive Within

    Truth. This is the issue that has been plaguing me for most of my time producing music now.. The thing is, I do let go of my music – but it just takes waaay too long. By the time it comes out, I’m not nearly as excited about it because I’m already over it and ready to move on to new things.

    It’s definitely a balance – but the thing is, even if/when you’re able to strike that balance within yourself – quality/completion/release – sometimes it can take a label 6 months to put it out. This is the thing that frustrates me, I need a much more immediate release in order to feel the gratification of sharing music with people.

    Soundcloud/Bandcamp are definitely solutions to this issue, but then of course the marketing/promo/exposure that comes with a label can be lacking, unless you’re great at marketing yourself. So even then it seems to be a balance – releasing on labels to catch the attention of a larger audience, but also self releasing stuff in order to keep your need to share satisfied…. It can certainly be a recipe for insanity. :)

    • Ilpo Kärkkäinen

      Ha, recipe for insanity it is. Thinking about things too much doesn’t help. Many of us probably could use less of planning and thinking and more of doing. Maintaining the momentum.

  • http://soundcloud.com/13ahau Nate

    Thanks for writing this. I’ve gotten advice elsewhere stating to hold back on posting things and saving it only to release the very best. I’ve taken a middle ground. I post whatever but if its just awful or I just don’t like it after having it sitting there, I delete it from the social network its on. I usually have it saved elsewhere to maybe revisit/repost.

    • Ilpo Kärkkäinen

      Thanks for the comment Nate.

      Yeah – there are no hard rules of course and it also depends on what your aim is. If you are just looking to develop your skills and get some feedback, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to post everything you got.

      Then again if you are looking to get signed/noticed then you should have some sort of inner quality control in place. That’s where things get difficult of course, but it’s good to give these things some thought!

  • Bogling

    Ya I agree. I have been working on a new schedule this year of doing a a certain amount of hours per day on improving my music and completing 3 or more songs by march. And posting them up on Soundcloud whether I feel they are good or not or even if they are still in progress I want to just get myself used that ish of getting music done . .like ASAP.
    I have also had that problem of getting feedback from people that i personally know and that actually care about listening.It kinda feels crap having a tune sitting there in cyberspace for a couple of months with no feedback.
    But hey it’s my responsibility to get myself out there. im going to start getting active in forums like DubstepForums.
    It’s crazy . .Having tunes done and not really knowing if they are “good” or whatever.
    - 1st Post
    -Cool Blog man

    • Ilpo Kärkkäinen

      Welcome aboard. Yeah that sounds like a good look. Connect with some folks, maybe work on some collaborations. Yes – it’s up to YOU and take that as good news!

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/cosmology ben thomlinson

    Its refreshing to hear you encouraging people to send out tunes and not sit on them even if they are not perhaps the best material they’ve ever made. All to often u hear people banging on about how the scene is being diluted by producers who can just get a laptop and some software and start making tunes. Personally I think its very healthy for the scene but without going too much off topic. I used to feel a little bit guity for the quality of my early releases but someone must have seen something in them to have been willing to sign them. Now sometimes I can finish a tune quickly or just want to see the back of it and send it out when maybe I should have worked on it more, more often than not the tune will still get signed but now I’m thinking am I diluting the quality of my name as a producer? As far as networking and self promotion goes I’ve always gone by the mantra that if your music is good enough someone will want to hear it. No point spamming every group on facebook etc, if its good enough people will come to you.

    • Ilpo Kärkkäinen

      Yes Ben, I agree that it’s good that everyone now has the chance to try making music. Sure it leads to more noise but also a lot more good stuff and fresh ideas coming through. And a lot more people being able to find joy in expressing themselves which is great regardless of the quality of the end result. Nothing wrong with that.