There’s a recurring theme on this site:
Watch the video above, and then tell me you don’t agree – I dare you.
We spend so much of our time lusting after bits of gear, the next new “must-have” plugin, a new guitar or a better amp… and it’s all nonsense.
If the kids in that video can make music in those circumstances, we sure as hell can do it in ours !
People spend all their time agonising over in-the-box versus out-of-the-box, this EQ or that EQ, which tape emulation plugin sounds the best – but it’s all just missing the point.
OK, I know what you’re saying
Building a musical instrument is one thing, but if you want to record and mix your own music, or write EDM, that’s different, right ? We can’t all programme our own plugins, build our own console or write our own version of
But we don’t have to.
Start recording and mixing for free – today
If you’re reading this, you have a computer and an internet connection. (Yes, a smart-phone counts as a computer !)
And the truth is, even a £250 laptop can record and playback higher quality audio today than most pro studios could when I started my career – and that’s with the built-in converters.
There are innumerable free or incredibly affordable VST plugins out there.
So if you’re doing pure EDM or electronic, you’re already set.
But what about mics ?
Well strangely enough I regularly get complimented for the sound of my voice in my YouTube videos – and asked what the mic is. Maybe people are expecting me to say it’s a Neumann, or a C4 or something, but the truth is, it’s this.
Not the cheapest mic available, but not exactly a massive expense, either ! And if you need something even more affordable, there are cheaper options – or there’s probably a built-in mic on your laptop or even your phone.
Will mics like these give you the best possible sound quality ? No, of course not – but they mean you can start making, recording and mixing music today.
Abandon normal instruments
Of course, a musical instrument is a beautiful thing (even a home-made one made out of junk!) – but you can make beautiful music on almost anything. I know, I’ve done it. I’ve recorded an album on a multi-track cassette portastudio, and written tunes using OctaMED on an Amiga A1200 – with nothing but an 8-bit sampler and only 8-note polyphony. I got wildly excited when they upgraded the playback to 12-bit and added a pan control !
Do those tunes sound as good as they would if I wrote them today ?
Not in a technical sense, no – but they sound unique, of their time, of their place – they sound great, I think.
One of my favourite Oblique Strategy cards says simply “Abandon normal instruments”.
It ain’t what you use, it’s the way that you use it.
To find out more about the Recycled Orchestra and the Landfill Harmonic Project, click here.