How long did it take you to make your first track?
Old 7th December 2011
  #1
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How long did it take you to make your first track?

I got into production early last year, and got my first setup in July. I know how a track should sound, kind of how MIDI works, quite a bit about synthesis, and almost nothing about mixing, compression, and mastering.

I'm working on my first track. I composed the song, I EQ'd it, and then I uploaded it to Soundcloud to hear what others thought of it. I am now in the process of re-doing the composition, applying automation and compression, and then mastering it. I want to have the track finished by the end of this year (so the end of the month). During this process, I decided to ask myself "I just started, am I too eager to hit the finish line?"

This got me to thinking "what about other producers, how long did it take them to make their first track?".

So how long, from the time you started your first track til it was truly done, did it take you?
Old 7th December 2011
  #2
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Are you talking about writing or mixing?

I would venture to say I wrote my first tune in about 2-3 days and then spent another 2-3 weeks working on the mix. Having said that you can continue tweaking a mix to no apparent end for months. My rule of thumb is once you cannot physically tolerate hearing it anymore its ready for mastering.
Old 7th December 2011
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samples View Post
Are you talking about writing or mixing?

I would venture to say I wrote my first tune in about 2-3 days and then spent another 2-3 weeks working on the mix. Having said that you can continue tweaking a mix to no apparent end for months. My rule of thumb is once you cannot physically tolerate hearing it anymore its ready for mastering.
imo and this is just mo

you guys are spending waaaaaaay to much time mixing/mastering your first tunes as the songwriting is going to be shit

spend a couple of days on a tune , same mixing it . dont bother "mastering" it with plug ins and stuff , get it sounding good in the mix

then shelve it .

at this stage your solidifying ideas and exploring and mastering new techniques . each song hopefully youll learn something to take to the next one and get better .

write another 50-100 songs and in 3-5 years youll be banging out some nice tunes

even if you think now that your tracks are good , trust me in 50 tracks time youll cringe when you hear your first song
Old 7th December 2011
  #4
Well, I come from a little bit of a different background than you, so take this with a grain of salt.

I'd been playing instruments, in and out of various bands for about a decade. ALSO, somehow completely unrelated to my music, I'd been engineering for about the same amount of time. It was only about a 18 months ago that I realized I should put two and two together. I messed around with some software for a few months, just figuring stuff out, eventually buying my first midi keyboard last January. And as they say, once you go gear...

Production-wise, the first 6 months or so was just figuring things out, coming up with ideas and little projects that never really became tracks. I still have some of these, but I've deleted many, simply because they weren't anything worth hanging onto.

The learning barrier for me wasn't creating mixes, it was coming up with music that I wanted to make and figuring out how to translate it into the computer (this latter part deserves an entire library unto itself). I took a course in music production at my university and, for the final of that course, wrote (what I consider to be) my first full original "track," perhaps 10 months from day 1. I worked on it for weeks, being kind of OCD, but eventually said "fin, I lose," mostly because the semester was over.

Musically, I'm still very much exploring. I'm trying to listen to as much music as a can, and more importantly, trying to figure out how to do what they do. I'm at the point where I can hear what waveforms are in a sound, how they are filtered, what effects are applied, what mixing techniques they are using, etc. It's not that I'm trying to copy any specific style, I'm just trying to figure out what I like and how I can use it to make the music I feel like making.

Oh yeah, and I'm having fun
Old 7th December 2011
  #5
Also, don't hate me for this, but was DJ Shire the dude spinning at Bilbo's birthday party?
Old 7th December 2011
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aunshui View Post
The learning barrier for me wasn't creating mixes, it was coming up with music that I wanted to make
+1

I'm really a player not a songwriter but coming up with "my first tune" was the same day I got my first tape deck (dating myself). The first thing that I would actually play for someone else was a few years later

I agree with the comments above about people wasting too much time with mixing and "mastering" when the tune itself sucks. Write it, record it, rough mix it, put it away and work on your next one.

The beautiful thing about DAWs is you can always open up a tune from years ago and start working on it again. I have a lot of "sketches" that I'll work on for a day or two and abandon. Every few months when I'm bored I'll just open up old projects, play them and see if it's worth working on some more.

My ratio of abandoned to finished tunes is about 15:1
Old 7th December 2011
  #7
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Making a track which i feel is 100% finished - never, still reaching that goal. However, i'm the kind who sits down and just tries to get out the feeling, rather than laboring over the mix and eq. As a result i've got a ton of raw stuff on soundcloud/backed up to Cubase which i can then go back to and mix properly when i feel like.

Most of the stuff I did in uni/college was pretty half arsed and loops/ideas, this went on for a couple of years until i felt it was time to get back into it properly and give it the attention i wanted.

As everyone has said it's just a learning curve. I'd suggest to focus more on the music rather than knocking out release ready tracks from the get go. You'll learn a ton and find what works best for you. I spent the first few years mouse clicking away without a controller, now i've found a set-up which is intuitive and easier for me to work with. Just focus on the music first and foremost.
Old 7th December 2011
  #8
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24 years

I am still working on it occasionally
Old 7th December 2011
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memristor View Post
24 years

I am still working on it occasionally
lol

I remember my first track took like 2 hours to make and it sucked.

It was a trance track.
Old 7th December 2011
  #10
I don't know or remember probably 6 months or something. But to start making tunes that I was actually proud of more like 7 years.

Getting good at it is a never ending process, it goes in waves, every few years I up my game a little. 20 years later sometimes I look back and cringe, sometimes I go "hey that wasn't half bad".


.
Old 7th December 2011
  #11
Old 7th December 2011
  #12
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I believe living a relatively happy, spiritual and romantic life will directly inform your composition and take what God gave you and reveal itself in full, if you REALLY will it to happen. . .you have to want it more than anything and stopping a track halfway to completion because you're a little bit sleepy or because you want to know what your Facebook friends are thinking about, will just repel and disturb the creative process...

If you're making music because you believe in the pure potency of music, you obviously can't compromise the work in any way, and believe me, you will attempt to compromise the music a thousand times before you finally let yourself go, and finally learn to give a sound, an audial revelation to all these conflicting emotions inside of you...because you're compromising yourself everyday when you have go to a job you dislike, or make a payment you don't want to make, or eat fast food cuz you're too tired to cook.

One day, rather unexpectedly, you will stand up from your DAW and say:

'This is it! This is the first acceptable song I've written! I've learned to overcome the powerful influence of my favourite artists and this is the track that is going to propel me out of obscurity into peoples hearts and lives'

And then you will begin a spiritual path that will help to guide you through the rest of your life! There should be no preconception of time or distance when you're making your first proper album, just plenty of patience and grace.
Old 7th December 2011
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvsky View Post
imo and this is just mo

you guys are spending waaaaaaay to much time mixing/mastering your first tunes as the songwriting is going to be shit

spend a couple of days on a tune , same mixing it . dont bother "mastering" it with plug ins and stuff , get it sounding good in the mix

thanks for just assuming my songwriting is shit, also thanks for assuming that i mix and master in the box.

mixing and mastering are the only things that should be done exclusively out of the box. mix on a board, then master using hardware eqs and comps.
Old 7th December 2011
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by six one cynic View Post
I believe living a relatively happy, spiritual and romantic life will directly inform your composition and take what God gave you and reveal itself in full, if you REALLY will it to happen. . .you have to want it more than anything and stopping a track halfway to completion because you're a little bit sleepy or because you want to know what your Facebook friends are thinking about, will just repel and disturb the creative process...

If you're making music because you believe in the pure potency of music, you obviously can't compromise the work in any way, and believe me, you will attempt to compromise the music a thousand times before you finally let yourself go, and finally learn to give a sound, an audial revelation to all these conflicting emotions inside of you...because you're compromising yourself everyday when you have go to a job you dislike, or make a payment you don't want to make, or eat fast food cuz you're too tired to cook.

One day, rather unexpectedly, you will stand up from your DAW and say:

'This is it! This is the first acceptable song I've written! I've learned to overcome the powerful influence of my favourite artists and this is the track that is going to propel me out of obscurity into peoples hearts and lives'

And then you will begin a spiritual path that will help to guide you through the rest of your life! There should be no preconception of time or distance when you're making your first proper album, just plenty of patience and grace.

Well Put!

I make music for my Love of Music... I've done it off and on over the last 10 years... got into it a couple of different times not to seriously. Have been going at it pretty good over the past 5-6 mo.
I have not finished a track yet and might not for a while. For me .. 2-3 hours to finish a track is NUTS! I will spend 4-5 times that just doing synthesis + sound design for pieces in a track. For me, I have vision, and love of music that speaks to me. I have no need to finish something unless I am truly happy with it.. and I set myself very high standards. I write, produce and learn... I won't finish a track until I either stop learning new things from what I'm doing or until I'm very satisfied with the outcome.
Old 7th December 2011
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memristor View Post
24 years

I am still working on it occasionally
seriously there are things that are done within a few hours and other things that never get finished now matter how much time you spend on them, thats not just true for music but any art etc

what I was trying to say is that you are doing something wrong if havent finished a single first track since 6 months

dont try to make your very first track a perfect track, rather make some cheesy tracks, or cheesy sketches, then go back to your "perfect" track whenever it fits
maybe this track will never get finished, seriously
it would be a waste of time not to work on other things even cheesy things in the mean time
Old 7th December 2011
  #16
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It's sort of like a snowball effect.... Took me about 6 months to make my first (terrible) track but it gets easier the more and more you make EDM. And mixing is the easiest part of the production process usually. By the time everything is arranged, all of your fills and glitches are added, and the drop hits suitably hard then it's just a matter of bussing everything together, making room for the low end, etc.

Once you get your workflow down I'd usually say two weeks from initial idea to a "test render". Wait a day, listen to the render again on a bunch of different systems, fix any glaring issues in the arrangement and mix that evening. "Master" it by adding some stereo spread and gentle limiting.

Solid gold.
Old 7th December 2011
  #17
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Old 7th December 2011
  #18
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tvsky's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samples View Post
thanks for just assuming my songwriting is shit, also thanks for assuming that i mix and master in the box.

mixing and mastering are the only things that should be done exclusively out of the box. mix on a board, then master using hardware eqs and comps.
its your first track dude , its going to be shit!

look back in a few years and you will see, your music will be exponentially better

and dont spend weeks mixing and mastering it software or hardware

at this stage its all about accumulating ideas , techniques and skills . remember youve got a long road to travel ........... good luck!
Old 7th December 2011
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drewspuppet View Post
Well Put!

I make music for my Love of Music... I've done it off and on over the last 10 years... got into it a couple of different times not to seriously. Have been going at it pretty good over the past 5-6 mo.
I have not finished a track yet and might not for a while. For me .. 2-3 hours to finish a track is NUTS! I will spend 4-5 times that just doing synthesis + sound design for pieces in a track. For me, I have vision, and love of music that speaks to me. I have no need to finish something unless I am truly happy with it.. and I set myself very high standards. I write, produce and learn... I won't finish a track until I either stop learning new things from what I'm doing or until I'm very satisfied with the outcome.
Thanks for your gratitude, I agree with what you said about having high standards, you kinda have to in 2011, you know considering we have like 60+ complete years of musical culture right at our fingertips whenever we want (the internet)

Try to remember that most of the worlds best music, in any genre, was typically made quickly and innocently with not a lot of thought and definitely very little obsessive attention to perceived imperfections...I think Brian Eno discussed this at some point.
Old 8th December 2011
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvsky View Post
its your first track dude , its going to be shit!

look back in a few years and you will see, your music will be exponentially better

and dont spend weeks mixing and mastering it software or hardware

at this stage its all about accumulating ideas , techniques and skills . remember youve got a long road to travel ........... good luck!

you just keep making assumptions don't you? i would say that when you make assumptions you make an ass out of you and me, but in reality you're only making an ass out of yourself.
Old 8th December 2011
  #21
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first ever song? an hour? stop thinking so much dude
Old 8th December 2011
  #22
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the first few dozen (maybe) songs I wrote I never recorded because I was a guitarist with no recording gear. the first song I recorded was this really nice folk song with lots of fingerpicking. I think it took me like two or three weeks to practice it enough that I could play it all the way through perfect on tape. not very applicable to anything electronic I guess...

I've spent up to a month tweaking tracks but nowadays I try not to spend too long on them...the last two I did took me 1 and 2 days respectively...I'm working with a multitrack tape recorder and I've totally accepted the limitations of how it sounds...I think it's better to just get on to the next thing, I learn more.
Old 8th December 2011
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samples View Post
you just keep making assumptions don't you? i would say that when you make assumptions you make an ass out of you and me, but in reality you're only making an ass out of yourself.
why dont you post up this motzart genius level first ever track so we can all hear for ourselves this masterpiece that is your first ever track with no experience whatsover!

in other words , if you are some superstar who made a world wide club hit on his first ever try good work!

the majority of artists will spend 2-5 years writing electronic music before releasing a real record , if they ever do . For me I think its a good idea to spend that first period of your career as efficiently as possible . Certainly if I had to do that early part of my career again before I was releasing songs I would spend less time on all the early poor tracks that are never going to be heard by anyone and try and maximize my time from each song learning everything I could to put towards the next track and make that one better.
Old 8th December 2011
  #24
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During the first year of my production journey it would take me months to do a track. it wasnt finished till i was 120% satisfied with it. Now I can finish a track in a few days. Depending on the mix down, which can be a nightmare!
Old 8th December 2011
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvsky View Post
each song hopefully youll learn something to take to the next one and get better .

write another 50-100 songs and in 3-5 years youll be banging out some nice tunes
Pretty much this... your first track or first dozen dont matter. Sure they might be good. But its the next 100 that count.
Old 8th December 2011
  #26
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JRock's Avatar
 

You're thinking too much. You're ****in' around with it too much. Listen to some Punk/ Just get it down and move to the next.
Old 8th December 2011
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djshire View Post
I got into production early last year, and got my first setup in July. I know how a track should sound, kind of how MIDI works, quite a bit about synthesis, and almost nothing about mixing, compression, and mastering.

I'm working on my first track. I composed the song, I EQ'd it, and then I uploaded it to Soundcloud to hear what others thought of it. I am now in the process of re-doing the composition, applying automation and compression, and then mastering it. I want to have the track finished by the end of this year (so the end of the month). During this process, I decided to ask myself "I just started, am I too eager to hit the finish line?"

This got me to thinking "what about other producers, how long did it take them to make their first track?".

So how long, from the time you started your first track til it was truly done, did it take you?
About 3 years.
Old 8th December 2011
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kacperson View Post
great track mate,totally not mine type of music,but really good
Thanks!
Old 8th December 2011
  #29
3 + infractions, forum membership suspended.
i started learning in February 2009 and put something on the internet in August lol



I still listen to those early ones, I wished I hadnt let others......wait until the difficult second track haha
Old 15th December 2011
  #30
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Good art is never finished... it is abandoned...
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