To get the most from of all the production tips out there, it’s best to apply them as part of a proper creative framework. You can learn all you like about the latest synth plugin, digital audio workstation (*DAW), drum machine etc. But if you want to reach the end goal of producing great music, you have to have a process in place to get your ideas down in the moment, because that moment can pass very quickly. If you follow these simple electronic dance music production tips you will never lose a great idea again.
1. Don’t learn too much
With any piece of creativity there has to be an idea - a flash of inspiration that you are sure the world needs to hear. But how many times have you had what you thought was a great idea, but then once you started working on it, it just sounded… well… a bit rubbish?
The natural way to stop this happening is to learn more and more about the things that are part of the production process, because knowledge is power, right?
Well that is partly true. You do need a certain amount of knowledge in order to get your ideas down and take them forward, but many people fall into the trap of thinking that more knowledge automatically guarantees more creativity, i.e. “if I learn about this DAW or this synthesizer, I will create more”.
Big mistake. If you spend most of your time buying software or hardware and learning how to use it, you’re taking time away from actually finishing your ideas. So really, all you have to ask yourself is “what do I need to have in place in order to make that idea in my head sound the same in real life?”
You’ll be amazed at how simple the creative process can become when you keep asking this question.
2. Capture your idea quickly
Every person has a different way of doing this. It might mean singing it into your phone, loading it up on your computer, bringing up a DAW that you’re very comfortable with, and keying in this killer riff that has just popped into your head.
It might mean turning on a drum machine. It might mean sitting at a keyboard. It might mean carrying a notebook around with you at all times so you can write down the things that have inspired you during the day. It might mean many different things. The point is, be comfortable with the process and develop one that captures your inspiration. There is no shame in only knowing about one DAW and one or two plugins. Just make sure you know them well.
3. Understand what you have to learn before you start learning
Are you able to elaborate on all of your ideas to a point where there is a finished track? Or at least finish well enough to send your ideas to someone else to mix and master? If so, then you should spend 100 per cent of your production time on finishing music, not learning or experimenting, and certainly not buying more software or hardware.
On the other hand, if you get to a point where you can’t take an idea forward due to a lack of specific knowledge, then focus on filling that knowledge gap as a top priority. Learn to recognize the skills you need in the moment and you will continue to make progress. Signing up for courses or watching tutorials at random without being able to apply the knowledge straight away to a specific idea you are working on is a very inefficient use of time!
4. Remove obstacles from your setup
In short, if you put too many obstacles in the way of capturing that first idea, you send your whole creative process into a tailspin. You run the risk of not finishing much music and not knowing what you ought to improve on. Well-intentioned action like building or hiring a studio space can actually be the worst thing. After all, what if the studio space is nowhere near you when you have that flash of inspiration? Or what if it’s in your basement but you’ve got to switch ten things on before you get anywhere? You lose the idea, and without a good idea, you are not a music producer!