Hey Guys!   Day 3 of the video-a-day series and I’m kinda late due to camera problems, but here it is:

Don’t forget to vote on nextup!

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Hi! I’m Dave from boyinaband.com

JeffUpdike1992 asked if I could make a video about  Continue reading »

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Hi! I’m Dave from boyinaband.com, and today we’ve got a cool, open-ended question that is important for producers wanting to improve their abilities.

When you’re trying to improve as a producer, it’s really useful to get involved in online communities so you can share critiques, meaning you can learn how to improve your skills.

So with that in mind, Tatelabianca on the boyinaband forum asked…

“so am I supposed to just comment on how the production and melody sounds because alot of the time I just wanna be like… “is this in C major? try something else because I’ve heard a ton of your songs and they all sound the same… they are successful repeat of someone else..”… because I hear stuff with good production and I would really like to give feedback… for the most part it is: good job making a song of a genre that has been broken down to a now do it yourself kinda thing. Boring and junk.”

Some good points there, Tatey! Do you mind if I call you Tatey? Good.

If you’re critiquing a well produced song that’s generic as hell, I’d think a comment on what makes it Continue reading »

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Hi, I’m Dave from boyinaband.com and this Community Question comes from Kinal493 from the boyinaband forum:

“I’ve just made a dubstep track with some big drums and a big bass, which is causing a lot of clipping in the track.
When i try running the mix through a maximiser or try applying a mastering suite it causes a huge reduction in the “richness” of the track (the drums sound weak etc).
So I’m wanting to know how to remove the clipping but still maintain a heavy sound.
Is it even necessary to prevent clipping with dubstep tracks?”

That’s a good question Kinal493!

Okay, Firsly – clipping in any genre of music is generally a bad thing. Unless you’re making Continue reading »

I had an e-mail from boyinaband.com reader “Eclectic Electric”…

The Question

Hi Dave,

I need your advice/help, I hope you don’t mind emailing you directly…

First off your clear, concise, intelligently worded and often amusing tutorials are awesome! I’ve learnt a lot in the past week that I’ve been watching some of your videos, keep up the excellent work! :D

Now for the part where I need help! I’m a programmer from South Africa, who used to dj and mess around with production back in high school. I was all set to go to sound engineering college, but my parents wouldn’t pay for it and said it wasn’t a worth while career. So I decided to pursue my first love – programming, I love what I do, but it did result in me spending less and less time on music, until I eventually stopped completely.

A few weeks ago, I met up with a mate who is still dj’ing and trying to make it big, and hear the new Paul Van Dyk album and was blown away, I realised that I’d been missing something that I really love! A few days later while catching up on what I’d been missing, I came across the new deadmau5 album, which is more along the lines of my old dj style and decided to get back into production! At least part time…

Previously I used to create samples in fruity loops, export as wave and arrange in acid music, but this time around I wanted to do things properly, my ultimate goal is to make professional sounding tracks! I don’t care about making buckets of money, I’m in this because I love it, but I am very self critical and want to make tracks on par with the pro’s…eventually!

So after finding your videos (FTW!) I’ve quickly got to find my way around reason, and feel that I’m going in the right direction. My problem, and the reason for this email, is that I’ve always felt like I’m just messing around and don’t really know what I’m doing. I still have a lot of my own samples, and kicks and so on that I have from my dj’ing days, and I manage to get kicks, basslines and effects going ok, but once that’s down I feel lost. When it comes to making a riff or synth or melody, I’m lost. At best I’ll mess around in a synthesizer till I get a sound I like, but when I get to the note editor I really am lost. I have no idea where to put notes, how long they should be or anything! I’ve managed to sometimes get by with random placement, but it just feels wrong and is never what I was after obviously, because it’s all random!

I followed a trance lead tutorial you did, but when it came to the notes I was lost again. I have no idea how to get the lead going as you did! This is part of the problem, but also how one comes up with original leads/riffs. It blows my mind a little how one would come up with an original arrangement of notes, surely it can’t all be random placement until it sounds good?
This all being said, I’m getting frustrated because I don’t know how to change the situation. Other than my dj’ing, I don’t have any musical background, so I’m starting piano lessons since I think it will help the situation, and I’ve always wanted to play an instrument.

I know that it’s going to take time and effort to get where I want to be, and that there’s no shortcuts, but I also feel like I’m missing some fundamentals and don’t know where to start! Can you point me in the right direction?

Thanks for taking the time to read all of this, I hope it makes sense and my questions aren’t too open ended!

Best Regards,
Eclectic Electric

Something any self respecting beginner producer will ask – how do I make my riffs sound better?   How do I go about learning to make good melodies?

Here’s my answer…

Continue reading »

I recieved another email from boyinaband.com reader Ash recently…

The Question

Hi Dave,

Thanks again for your reply.  I have been doing some soul-searching recently and have decided that 10 years of ignoring my desire to create music as a profession, is long enough, and that the regret I’ll feel if I don’t give it a bash whilst I still can (young-ish, single, no family/mortgage/etc), outweighs the irrational fear of giving it a proper go.  This is obviously a big step which I’m still figuring out, but I’ve spent 10-15 years in the IT industry moving from soulless job to soulless job and had a wakeup call recently which made me realise it’s time I thought about doing something I love.  I’ve dabbled in production for years, did my first course (weekends, for 3 months) with Point Blank back in 2003, etc.  But have never put a full effort into it – often my soulless IT jobs have hoovered up all my energy and left me a bit drained at the end of each day.

Anyway the reason for the above gratuitous information is because I’m wondering if you can help me shed some light on what options I would have.  I’ve always seen myself as a bedroom producer, and that I’d give that a bash as a hobby, see if I can ramp it up somehow into a job (doing what?), etc.  I’m not even sure what I would do and what sort of music I would produce.  As you can tell, I don’t know where to start… I just know that I love music too much to just be a listener, I want to make music too.  I would start with electronica, dance music type stuff, I think.

[in a previous e-mail I mentioned some people dropped out of my music course] You say that most of the people from your course dropped out – why is that?  Did the remaining ones get work anywhere?  Do you know what they ended up doing?  In your opinion, was your course worthwhile?  (doing a decent solid course is something I would consider maybe as my first move – I’d meet plenty of like-minded people, and would no doubt get lots of ideas for what sort of work I could do, maybe even get some job leads at the end).  I’m not worried about money at this stage, I accept that any career change would probably mean starting near the bottom again – the priority here is to at least try putting more energy & direction into music and seeing where it goes.  I’d rather get to 55 years old and say “yeah I tried that and it turned out I was rubbish!” than say “yeah, I would have liked to try that, but was too scared so I stayed in the safe IT world” …

Anyway – sorry if my email doesn’t exactly ask direct questions.  I figured you would be a good person to flick an email to though, just to compare notes, and to try and feel my way forward with figuring out my next move.  I guess what I’ve been trying to say at the start of this email is that I want to change music production from a hobby-which-I-sometimes-dabble-in, to something more structure which I will commit to seriously – starting with learning/training, exploring what areas I’m good at and could find work in, then evaluating a move into it as a career.  Does that make sense now?

chat to you soon – thanks for your time!

Some good questions that I’m sure many starting-out producers are asking themselves.   I know I did when I started.

So the question - how do you go about becoming a money-making producer?   My answer… Continue reading »

I had an e-mail from boyinaband.com reader Ash…

Hi David,

Firstly thanks for putting in so much time & energy making a great website that I’m sure many people such as myself get to benefit from.  It’s great that you’ve done all those brilliant tutorials, well filmed and narrated.  It’s funny how I found your site – my new american girlfriend told me about this Saturday Night Live sketch – “I’m on a Boat” and that eventually led me via Youtube to your site.  Being into music production, I of course then spent hours reading your site and looking at the tutorials – I love how serendipitous the internet can be!

Anyway enough waffling and onto my main question.  I’m getting back into music production (as a hobby for now but I’d like to make more of it) after a break for a few years.  Last time I was playing around with this stuff it was Cubase SX 2.0 and Reason (2.0?).  Anyway, I am looking at what software I should use now – the market has changed a lot, all the packages have tried to become all-encompassing – even Ableton Live is now purporting to be a production/recording suite.  I’m tempted to have another play with Reason 4, but I want to make sure I invest my learning curve in something that can go “all the way” …

So, the question is: do you believe that Reason 4 is a serious music production tool – can it be used to produce a professional quality track to the standard that other software (e.g. Logic, for example) can?  That is really my only doubt about Reason, holding me back from buying a copy.  I’ve had fun with Reason before and I guess it’s easy to see it as a scratchpad, something for prototyping, because it is quite dinky and novel to use – but perhaps I’m judging it unfairly and missing its power?

Anyway – I hope you can find time to answer me!

Best wishes

Ash Dando

Yeah, I left in that first paragraph partly for my ego’s benefit and partly because I frickin’ love the word “serendipitous“.

But yes – the question.   Can Reason be used as a production tool to rival the big players like Logic?   My answer…

Continue reading »


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