HDN Sound – Time management For EDM Musicains & Producers

You are an electronic musician/ghost producer/sound designer. Have you ever wondered how much your time worths? How not to waste it, quickly start writing work and successfully finish, without losing inspiration and making mistakes? I’ve been working on edm as a producer for HDN Sound for a long time and in this article I want to share my experience. That works for me, which means it will help someone else. There is a function to view the time spent on the project continuously in some DAW. Imagine, your production costs $ 1000, you spent 30 hours on the project = your hour costs $ 33, right?

Analysis of the reference

You received an order and / or tackle a track in a certain style. Before you start a new project, carefully analyze the examples that you will be guided by, paying attention to such aspects as:
– BPM and Tonality
– Dynamics and how it changes
– Solo instruments vs second plan
– Spatial processing, mono vs stereo
– The nature of the sound of drums and low frequencies in general
– Attention to small details, background and atmospheric sounds
– The amplitude frequency response of the reference to check with it on the balance of frequencies.

You can slow down the BPM track to make it easier to analyze. Also apply lf / mf / hf filtration to focus on individual parts. As a result, the more thoroughly you analyze the reference, the more fully the image / plan will be formed. You will easily keep to this plan in the process of work, and the customer learns the elements of what he wants to get.

Preparing the workspace

The second thing you need to do before you tackle any work is to have all the necessary tools. Equip your workplace with everything you need. Technically, today we need a minimum for a modern electronic musician. Understand the inner space.
You might have several favorite synthesizers and effects that you know well. They are high-quality and uncompromising, they sound right, they are fully compatible with your DAW, they are comfortable in work, and it’s easy to realize ideas in any styles with them. There is also an extensive library of samples. All of them are sorted by type \ style \ tonality. In addition to this, you probably excrete favorite like “for all occasions”.


And, finally, a template with everything you need for a quick start: a prepared playlist with markup, markers and a mixer with formed packets and routing, and also equalizers and filtering on the right channels. All this works together as a loaded gun, ready to shoot at the right time.

Just know your tool

DAW is your tool? Learn how to play it technically. Ideally, you need to know all the combinations of your sequencer’s hot keys or at least those operations that you constantly perform. Print them on a sheet and keep it in front of you (like codes for games in childhood) for convenience or buy a special keyboard.

Implementation of the idea

All set of ideas on development and formation of an image of work should be considered. Select all technical points and realize the maximum of this creative flow (do not have time – write down). And be sure that these decisions will be the only true, and the result is successful.
If you work as a gostproduser and take on a new job – save your time, start with the main thing: form the idea of a drop and immediately present it to the customer. If your vision is appreciated, you will continue to build a track around this part, if not – apologize and prepare new version or switch to another order to relax and take a break exactly with this track.

How to finish the idea in the process of arranging?

After the idea of drop / breakdown is approved and everything is reduced to a draft, go to the building of the arrangement. Make one day and deal with aspects of this process only, again, without going into technical processes. You will find this difficult, but it is much easier.

Artistic block

There is no inspiration \ left the muse \ it is not clear what is missing \ do not like \ it is bothered.

Such a thing happens with every musician. The lack of inspiration in most cases is equal to lack of proper motivation. And nevertheless, there are ways that can help to solve the problem:

Physical exercises reset the brain 

Firstly, change activities and get out of the comfort zone. Any physical actions are suitable, that further the blood flow and make the brain work more efficiently. Physical activity in itself releases a flood of endorphins, so you feel more positive. Next, to protect the neurons of the brain, the body synthesizes proteins that regain them, which works as a reset. Therefore, we feel at our ease after training and kook at problems from a completely different angle.

Biological activity at different times of the day

Each of us has his own rhythm during the day and the peak time of biological activity. We are larks or owls. For example, if you are the most productive creativity in the second half of the day, so plan a studio day accordingly. There is one more law relating to creativity: when the brain is tired (tired of another activity, for example, mathematics) it less wants to follow standards and logical schemes. But the creative turns on and the opportunity to reach a bigger amount of ideas is activated. This is always very valuable for the musician.If you are used to stay up late, try to get up very early instead. And the first thing for you to do is to listen to the problem project. An early start is stress. Our brain works differently under stress. At this moment, it will only need to go back to sleep, giving the effective and correct actions / ideas that you fixate.

Targeted errors

Many great discoveries were made by mistake. Save the backup of the project and do controversial actions. Put the groups of effects into the insert such as plug-ins that, a priori, can’t be compatible with some instrument. How to make mistakes purposefully? Work fast and sloppy. When you are in a hurry, you are sluggish physically. You can just click on the wrong mouse, twisting the fader too sharply, hanging the sound on another channel and so on. Very often these cases lead to an amazing result, and a fresh idea or a solution to the problem will appear themselves.

Ideological Assault

Take a folder with ready-made loops of sounds and parts (convenient sorting is needed here). Yes, exactly loupes – these are ready-made ideas = inspiration, and appetite comes with eating. Take it and pull everything into your project. It help you to understand the lack of the track very quickly and to point you at the right thought.Also you can do various routine tasks, sort out samples \ presets \ put new plug-ins, clean old projects and stuff for due spirit. You can often find out some mistakes during these activities, sorting out samples and presets and what is necessary to do.

Time Limits and Timings

Have you ever wondered how long it took for the whole project? If your DAW doesn’t have standard time monitoring, download the free plug-in HOFA 4U ProjectTime to know this.
Tough timeframe, the inability to make a mistake is a stress for our brain, and it works as efficiently as possible. Limit yourself in time. Download the visual timer on your phone or find a gadget. Set a certain time interval to challenge yourself – for example, write a full arrangement for «that» cool old idea. And you will do it. Moreover, you will do it well because you won’t be distracted and the task and time are strictly limited.Another variant, (if you aren’t a ghostwriter of course ha-ha), create a stream and translate the process of creating a track, it will touch up you to do the work quickly and qualitatively.

Effective mixing

This is the stage of work that requires a lot of breaks, which means that you can spend it on other affairs. It is difficult to mix constantly, than you lose effectiveness and concentration, your ear accustoms and blurs. So you get another result than you need.
It’s useful to hourly compare your work with the reference during mixing and try to listen mix “from different angles” ( phone, headphones, auto, portable speaker, home acoustics with friends, etc.). Then save mix in low bit rate version to simulate poor quality. And everything that causes you irritation or questions, you can fixate and do this checklist.

Time-out

Do you feel you have finished the track? You realized all the ideas, solved all the issues, the stars have aligned..
But it’s more correctly to take a 1-2-day break to clear your ears and brain, then go back to work and do the finishing touches: – 0.5db should be here, slightly less reverb should be on the vocals and that cool sound should be louder and to the left of panorama. To make it really perfect. And one more interesting thing: if you listen to the track anywhere, you always want to ADD, but do not turn down the volume – so you’re at the finish.

Excessive efforts

In the process of creation there is always a certain line, when the main idea is embodied, and its enrichment, playing, filling in of gaps and empty places is going on. There is a feeling when you write, write, add more and more elements, then listen to near-initial versions, and they sound simpler / cleaner / more logical. It’s simple: at that moment you were still 70% creative. And in the end you switched completely to the process of mixing and other things and began to think technically, coming to the deadlock. You risk losing your reference point and idea in pursuit of perfectionism, in the end, you return to the very first versions.

All came to the deadlock

If you feel that the project is at an impasse, you and your customer don’t know the problems and its solutions, explain yourself for this situation and take a break for a couple of days. Completely forget about the track, switch to another project, maybe even for other activities, not musical. Within a few days the brain will be completely cleansed, neural connections will be restored, thoughts will form. Then return to work and fixate all ideas. These ideas will be the most correct, and they will need to be translated into work to make everything right.

Criticism is mandatory

People criticize us, thus pushing at the true path.
Specification: healthy and tough criticism. This is a powerful factor for your work that help you to get on the right way quickly. This is true because the man who hears the work for the first time, looks at it from a different angle. So, don’t waste time and send work to your friends/fans in the process. An incompetent man can’t explain to you that the track is wrong. And someone who is your fan can’t give you exactly tough criticism, without any flattery.

Where to begin

Do you take the first steps in this area? Learn to copy well. You’ll understand everything else in the process. Set yourself challenging tasks and realize them in the intended result. Ask friends to be like your “customers”, set yourself short deadlines. Write down all your mistakes and successful tricks. Share this experience with others. An intelligent person won’t copy your work to a tee, he will use his own way (“steal as an artist”). Anyway, you should rejoice if someone copy you. You’ve already achieved some success.


The Prodigy – “Smack My Bitch Up” remake by Jim Pavloff. Let’s try to replicate😉

Autor: Philip F. (HDN Sound | CEO \ Founder)

Tranclated by: edm-ghost-production.com

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