Music producers are an interesting breed. Misunderstood by some, loved by many. They breathe creativity in every moment and love listening to loops until the early hours.
But what happens when you become a music producer?
This article will share thirteen facts about music production and how it applies to music producers.
Will you recognize yourself in any of them? Let’s dive in.
Music Production Fact #1: You Listen To Your Own Music A Lot
It might sound crazy for your friends who aren’t music producers themselves. But music producers do listen to their music, a lot.
It’s pretty cool hearing what you have created. You want to find out why you made the decisions you did and how you can improve for your next track.
And without sounding too mumbo-jumbo, listening to your music is also a great way of understanding yourself.
If you do, don’t feel embarrassed!
Music Production Fact #2: You Get Frustrated
Sometimes, things don’t go your way. You may have days of very low inspiration.
You might be in the mood to make music but too tired to craft anything you’re happy with.
You might have a clear picture in mind of how you want your kick to sound but can’t mix it properly.
It can sometimes leave you frustrated.
Even to the point where you take a break from music production.
But you always know it’s part of the process. It's up and downs, but the important thing is coming back to producing music – every time.
Music Production Fact #3: You Have A Graveyard Of Unfinished Projects
You find a great sample or create a sound in your favorite synth.
Inspiration is flowing; you quickly put together a loop.
But then you realize, it’s not good at all.
It’s a horrible wake-up call, spending hours on something that you now realize you’re not happy with.
Not knowing how to continue, you save the project and decide to return to it later.
But you never do.
Having a graveyard of unfinished projects is a sad truth of music production.
Who knows – the global hit might be resting there.
But rest assured, it’s very common for music producers.
Music Production Fact #4: You Always Look For The Perfect Snare
"Photo by Richard Clyborne of Music Strive"
Ah, the perfect snare drum.
You know, it has the perfect amount of ring.
It has the body.
It leaves an impact.
But it’s all a dream.
All music producers are on the constant lookout for the perfect snare.
It has even become a meme.
But we will keep looking… forever.
Music Production Fact #5: You Find Inspiration In Strange Ways
You end up in a YouTube rabbit hole of looking at obscure Russian 70’s cartoons.
Hey, those are pretty cool sounding cartoon birds.
You never know when inspiration might strike. And that’s the beautiful thing about music production.
It might be on your nightly dog walk in town.
Or at the peak of your favorite set at a festival.
Often, it’s browsing through presets and samples and finding amazing new sounds.
And when you find inspiration – you go for it.
Music Production Fact #6: You Love The Feeling Of Making A Great Track
You know the feeling when things 'click?'
When everything seems to go your way, and you enter a state of flow, where you get powered by creativity?
That’s one of the best feelings for a music producer.
It can come when you find the combination of sounds when you match the right chords with the right melody or make a groundbreaking drop.
Many argue that this feeling is why we create music in the first place. It’s pure happiness.
Music Production Fact #7: You Never Stop Learning
New techniques, new plugins… there’s always more to learn in music production.
You always want to get better and improve.
And that’s why music producers never stop learning.
It’s common to take music production courses online but also to watch YouTube videos from other producers.
We want to make our music more refined and communicate our ideas in better ways.
Luckily, it’s so easy to learn on the internet nowadays.
In fact, there’s enough knowledge out there to become a professional music producer, starting from scratch.
It’s just about finding the right sources for information and making sure you follow a roadmap to learn what you need to know.
Music Production Fact #8: You Love Weird Noise
A non-music producer thinks artifacts and noise are just 'noise.'
But music producers love weird noises.
The analog hum of synthesizers…
The ‘air’ in field recordings...
Strange foley clicks...
We love it, and we use it with passion in our productions.
Because that’s how we put our personal touch on our music, it's how we make our music organic and 'real.'
Music Production Fact #9: You Spend Hours Tweaking One Sound
Music producers are a focused and patient bunch.
But sometimes, we can get a little too focused…
And this focus can cause us to spend way too much time on one sound.
It’s not uncommon for producers to tweak the low frequencies of a kick drum or make sure the lead synth is ‘just right.’
Because we often want things to be perfect.
Even though we know it’s a bad idea to spend too much time on one sound, we still do it.
And secretly, we love it.
Music Production Fact #10: You’re Up All Night
Oh no, the birds are chirping again.
You take your headphones off and blink your eyes back to submission.
It’s 3 AM. You’ve now made music for 5 hours straight.
Being up all night is indeed common for music producers.
When we’re in focused mode, time seems to fly by.
And when we’re in a flowy state, we want to remain in it for as long as possible.
We want to harness the energy to produce as much music as we can.
Music Production Fact #11:You Get Nervous Before Shows
Most music producers who play live still get nervous about shows, even after their hundredth time.
You put yourself on the spot. You’re vulnerable.
Now, hundreds of people are judging the deep creative parts of yourself.
Heart palpitations, shaking, and nervous sweats are very common for music producers moments before getting on stage.
But for most – it disappears once they press play.
Because seeing the joy in people’s faces, dancing to something you've created, and sharing that experience – it’s what we live for.
Music Production Fact #12: You Think About Switching Genres Sometimes
Many established music producers have invested a lot of time in their projects.
And even though the music might have other influences, it’s often true to one specific genre.
Like house music, or techno music…
Many true musicians get influenced by and listen to many types of different music.
And sometimes, we get the urge to start a new project in another genre.
We want to explore; we want to learn.
But we don’t want to start from scratch all the time.
Wanting to branch out and explore new genres is a fact for many music producers.
Any many follow that intuition – becoming more diverse and interesting musicians as a result.
Music Production Fact #13: You Dream Of A Spaceship-Looking Studio
(Picture from Attila Hanak's Spaceship Studio "The Sixteenth Bar")
Music battle stations.
Reddit even has a subreddit dedicated to them.
As music producers, we dream of having a music studio filled with expensive hardware gear, blinking lights, and sound mufflers covering the walls.
We want a music studio looking like a spaceship.
It’s just how it is.
We’re not going to lie; music production can be an expensive hobby.
Even one top-of-the-line synth can run you up to $2000.
But we want it. We need it.
Creating a space where creativity can flow freely is a common goal for producers. We want our studio to be our sanctuary – filled with the tools we need to make the sound of our dreams reality.
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Mixing and mastering is a true skill that takes years of intense focus, training, and hard work. Knowing what decisions to take to bring out the best in each sound while making all sounds work together is tricky. You want to give your music that sweet signature sound and style to stand out.
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Thanks for reading, and see you in the next article.
About the author
Pelle Sundin is a Swedish music producer and writer, active with his chillout project PLMTRZ. He also produces psytrance. When he's not producing, he surfs, skates, and chugs coffee.