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Jeremy is a Montreal-based musician, sound artist and improviser who loves giving advice to emerging artists on how to make their tours more effective. He writes, records and performs electroacoustic “concrète” music for tape, oscillators and amplified objects and surfaces, as well as solo guitar. He has performed and released material throughout Europe and the UK, Asia, the US and Canada, mostly with his trio Sontag Shogun.
But here’s the good thing. Before you go spending $6,000 on a professional studio, you don’t need a pristinely recorded full-length album under your belt at all. Demos are fine, but try to get a decently home-recorded and mixed couple of tracks together whenever possible. If it doesn’t sound perfect, that’s fine, just don’t print and sell copies of those songs yet. Just don’t think about booking local shows until you’ve got music to share.
We cover a lot of musical topics between the editorial content here on Flypaper, our newsletter Soundfly Weekly, our mentored online courses, and our customized project-oriented mentorship sessions on Soundfly. Yet no matter what area of composition, production, performance, or business we’re talking about from one day to the next, we find that what links most modern musicians in their drive to learn more and expand their skills and opportunities today is the need to develop a better grasp on home recording.
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I started doing these critiques to solve the practical problems of grading my classes in a meaningful way, and of keeping my early morning sections from staring silently at me with blank expressions. But I’ve noticed that the students take suggestions from the critiques seriously, in a way that they don’t always take the rest of the class. Some kids might blow off assignments and fail to retain technical information from one week to the next, but then they’ll reference a comment about how they should have longer sections in their tracks, months after hearing it.
Songtrust can help. Register for Songtrust, and use promo code STSoundfly for 10% off! If your music is already on Spotify, go ahead and estimate your earnings here.
Quick tip: Although some of us still have cars old enough to have tape decks, or keep actual physical radios around to leave on for our dogs while we’re gone (just me?), you’d probably do well to also provide a digital download card so fans can love the nostalgia while being able to listen in the modern age.
*I do think we could use less messages like: “Happiness is the same price as red bottoms” (Ariana Grande), and more messages like: “If I’m shiny, everybody gonna shine” (Lizzo).
Since soundproofing is such a complicated aspect of home recording, many people simply give up on it. But it’s important to realize that you don’t need to do everything all at once. Part of setting up a high-functioning home studio is trial and error, building things to your own specifications, and creating a multi-use space for any type of recording you’d like to do there. So take your time.
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A quick YouTube search shows that there are hundreds of thousands of chiptune covers, ranging from meticulous recreations coming from actual consoles to basic MIDI files loaded up in a modern DAW and run through simple “8-bit” plugins.
As a new songwriter, the many varieties of songform might come naturally to you, or it might be a goal that you’re shooting to improve on. But luckily, while there are a ton of models out there for how songs are made to function, there are no hard and fast rules — which means you’re free to learn what tools you need, and then bend them to suit your songwriting practice.
Our free courses in the realm of home recording include: Demo Recording 101, Any Sound Will Do, and Live Clicks and Backing Tracks. Bear in mind that none of these come with personalized mentorship built in, but they make great supplemental materials to help you improve specific useful skills and expand your knowhow for free.
Albuquerque’s open air flea market is the best place to find vintage records in town, and ones that are in surprisingly good condition. It’s a big flea market so you’ll need to get there early in order to cover serious ground. Not to mention they always have roasted green chile and sweet lollipops coated in red-chili powder (don’t knock it, till you try it)!
Most commonly seen in classical music, the “Verse-Refrain” is one of the simplest song structures. It consists of verses followed by a short refrain that sums the song’s message up quickly and easily (functioning somewhat like a chorus). The Beatles wrote many successful verse refrain songs throughout their career. Though the verse-refrain has almost completely disappeared from modern music, it is still an effective tool for certain songs. And as it is important to always keep in mind, history has a tendency to repeat itself!