Today's post is a guest post from my producer, Gary Gray. Take it away Gary...
I’ve been extremely busy over the last three months and finally had a chance to come up for air and take a deep breath.
As you may know, my partner Aaron Davison, and his colleague Michael James traveled here to Los Angeles in April. We had a very productive week, stuffing about 30 days of production and fun into 7.
While here, we gave a Master Class on Music Licensing and Music Production at Glass Hat Studios, met with a major LA Publisher, shot 7 videos for an upcoming course entitled “Music Production Fundamentals for Licensing,” recorded all the basic tracks for Aaron’s upcoming EP, and somewhere in there we even had time to Celebrate both Michael’s and Aaron’s Birthdays, visit Laguna Beach, cruise Hollywood, Hold a successful HowToLicenseYourMusic.com Meet-Up on the Sunset Strip, rehearse at the secretive Lake Hollywood, under the famous Hollywood Sign, and plan out some very exciting future plans.
A few weeks after Aaron and Michael left, I completed the arrangement, played bass, drums, keys, orchestration, edited, mixed and mastered Aaron’s first single, “Falling Down (You Went Away). “
Within 24 hours of release, Aaron was offered an exclusive Publishing deal for “Falling Down” with the same top LA Publisher we met with during his visit. Critique from the Publisher: "Very well produced and I love the strings, percussive elements and relaxed quality."
Aaron signed the deal.
One cool thing about this particular track is that I recorded most of the music and mixed and mastered the entire project in my home studio.
For those of you who haven’t heard his song, featuring Aaron on all guitars and Michael James on Vocals, you can listen to it here.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I’ve been extremely busy. Teaching many students, and producing/engineering for several clients. I’ve also been co-writing, co-producing, and mixing and mastering for Music Supervisor Jody A. Friedman, working on a film project (learning more and more about the Film Industry these days), and upgrading my own education and studio on a consistent basis.
When I started writing this blog, it reminded me of something I heard last year. Someone was describing how laziness can be a major career killer, especially with music, because music as an art form, requires very focused dedication and consistent attention to detail. I’ve witnessed some extremely talented musicians and songwriter/producer/engineers fail - simply because they didn’t take the next step forward. They seemed to be on the right path, doing the right things. They were certainly working very hard, but for whatever reason, they felt they were not achieving what they wanted right now, so they gave up.
A closer look at some of these people revealed a form of laziness that is “invisible.” It’s a form of laziness that is extremely busy. But how can lazy be busy? Aren’t those opposite concepts?
Busy doesn’t always mean productive or effective activity. It can sometimes be just a bunch of activity with no result, or worse yet, with the result of a worsening situation, more confusion and more frustration.
It’s a deceiving sort of laziness that very energetic people can get trapped in.
1. Stepping back from what you are doing and assessing how you are going about it. Giving yourself an honest accounting of what you are doing exactly and what results, or lack of results, your actions are creating.
2. Organizing your life so that your actions are not “lazy busy” actions. This is quite a statement to make and requires, in itself extreme discipline and consistent work. However, since I’ve been there, done that on this one, I can attest that trying to bite off more than you can chew all at once is just another “lazy busy” strategy guaranteed to take you down some more. Truly “turning your ship around” requires small steps at first, before one can start running. If you try to run in a room full of a confused mess, you’re probably going to fall down. Start by choosing one area of your life and organizing it, little by little, before tackling another.
3. Surround yourself with people who are positive, organized and who care. Keeping people with a “whatever” attitude within your inner circle is asking for trouble. And if you find yourself with a “whatever” attitude, it’s even more important who you surround yourself with. Life is a group activity, and your group will help define you and you will help define your group.
4. Aaron Davison is an incredible inspiration for a lot of independent musicians the world over. Aaron makes statements and teaches lessons that, if followed, will result in success. One such statement is “do something effective for your career every day.” Even something small, but make it a daily routine and you will build up a momentum that cannot be stopped.
5. Organize your career. There are many ways to do this. Regarding music production, the first lesson in the course “How To Produce Music That Will Get Licensed And Make You Money,” is ORGANIZATION as it relates to producing and engineering in the studio. It’s that important.
To help you organize your music production career right now, I’m going to share with you some really cool tools I discovered (you’ll find these on the upcoming course, but I didn’t want to wait to share these particular tools with you) that will help you organize your workflow, increase your knowledge and most importantly, improve your confidence in your ability to consistently mix and master like the pros.
MAGIC A/B AND ORGANIZING YOUR QUALITY CONTROL
There is a Plug-In called Magic A/B. For those of you who have studied with me and/or who have taken the online courses that Aaron and I offer on HowToLicenseYourMusic.com, you’ll know how important A/B’ing is in achieving competitive standards that will land you licensing deals.
Someone came up with this incredible plug-in (I used it on “Falling Down”). It’s inexpensive and it works like a charm. You can find out more about it here.
AUDIO ENGIN-EAR TRAINING AND ORGANIZING YOUR MIND
Ear Training is a way to organize your mind into being able to quickly identify and differentiate frequencies, timbres, pitches, pitch intervals, rhythms, dynamics, phasing, comb filtering and equalization. One of the most important abilities to develop is how to hear specific frequencies. In the mixing and mastering world, this is deals with equalization.
Ear Training for Engineers has now not only been codified, but a computer program has been created that greatly accelerates the rate of learning and experience for any producer/engineer – no matter how new or how pro you are.
What Are You Listening For When You Mix and Master?
There are several answers to that question, but one vital thing to listen for is Equalization of each track and Equalization of the entire mix (EQ). Some people seem to be better at it than others. But the truth is, everyone can be great at it – it comes down to experience and training.
A computer program called Train Your Ears EQ Edition has been developed which can literally give a person a year’s worth of experience in a couple months – with dedicated practice. You can find out more about it here.
I hope that you feel inspired and better equipped to kick some butt and move closer towards your dreams – which are totally attainable. I am extremely happy I somehow discovered Aaron Davison and HowToLicenseYourMusic.com about 4 years ago when I was nowhere near as successful as I am now. It was those three, trite words, but presented in a fresh, realistic way by Aaron that gave me the push over the top: “Don’t Give Up.”
Los Angeles, CA
July 13, 2015
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The blog of musician and thinker of deep thoughts, Aaron Davison.