In the previous article we discussed how to get better at mixing. In that article I discussed one of the key ingredients to becoming more successful at mixing. This key ingredient is finishing more EDM racks. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Yeah it’s way easier said than done.” Which is exactly what I thought, until I was taught the core process to finishing more EDM tracks.
1. Quantity vs Quality
One thing you’re taught all your life is how you need to create quality over quantity. In many cases, this is still true. If you go to a restaurant, you don’t only want your food to taste good, but to look good as well. Restaurants pumping out major quantities, at high speeds aren’t usually the best quality.
However, when it comes to producing this isn’t the case. I’m sure you feel as though you need to be ONLY producing the BEST quality tracks. Wrong. You should only be RELEASING the BEST quality tracks.
This doesn’t mean that every single track you write should be quality, because most tracks you write, you won’t actually release; at least not until you’re more established.
With this in mind, it’s important to accept and understand that not every single track is going to be the best one you’ve ever written.
Once you accept this, it becomes easier to finish more EDM tracks, even the ones you don’t like because they aren’t really up to par with your “acceptable” quality.
As soon as you can break into this mindset, then you can just focus on one thing, quantity. Write and finish as many tracks as you possibly can, as fast as possible. Two things happen when you start to do this.
- You start to become faster and faster at writing music which allows you to really focus on that quantity rule.
- The quality will start to follow the quantity.
No this isn’t a restaurant, but we’re still crafting a piece of art for others to consume and enjoy. We need the quality to be there for when we release it. But, we also need to be able to write a ton of songs in a short amount of time.
Once you’re used to writing a fully produced track in 4 hours, the quality rapidly picks up. From that point on, not only can you write in a short amount of time, but you can start finishing more EDM tracks that have the quality you’re really striving and gearing towards.
2. Write Shorter Tracks
This one seems too easy to be true, but it works! Shortening your tracks is one of the key elements to actually finishing more tracks. Not only that, but it also helps with the previous tip as well: shorten your tracks, easier to write more.
Instead of trying to write a full 4 – 5 minute track with all of the little details involved, just focus on 2 minutes.
Create your 8 – 16 bar loop, like previously stated, then copy and paste the loop up to 2 minutes, and then start deleting away! Follow this step and I guarantee that you’ll have the structure of your song done within 1 hour and be close to finishing more tracks within a few hours.
3. Set Timers When Writing
Another simple but wildly effective tactic to writing more music and finishing EDM tracks. One of the points of timers is to get you to say “done” to a specific part that you’re working on.
If you’re like me, when you aimlessly write music you’ll tend to focus on one section for hours on end.
You’ll keep tweaking the sound design, melody, FX, processing etc. What timers ultimately force you to do is stop, and move on to the next section.
The next time you start a new project, try this. Set a 5 – 10 minute timer and start working on just the drum section of an 8 bar loop. Once the timer is up STOP. Do not do another thing.
Reset the timer and move on to your melody. Once the timer is up STOP. Reset the timer and move on to the bass line.
Continue this until you have the full structure of the 8 bar loop written out. This should take you anywhere from 25 – 50 minutes to finish.
Once you’re done, copy and paste to 2 minutes, then you can start deleting. Congratulations, you just wrote the entire structure to your track within less than an hour. Once you’re done with the structure, then the fun begins. Start to experiment, add in FX, processing, fills, transitions etc.
4. Separate Out Your Sessions
When writing electronic music, it can be way too easy to get sidetracked while working on a million different things in your project, sample selection, organization, sound design etc.
This is exactly why you should schedule these sections out during your week for non-writing hours. During these non-writing hours, you’re doing just about everything else involved with writing music, except actually writing music.
Schedule sound design sessions so that is ALL you’re doing for maybe 1 – 2 hours.
Have a couple of these sessions scheduled out so every time you get into a new project, you have fresh new sounds to work with that you know you like.
This will cut down on all the wasted time you spend flipping through and designing/editing new sounds when you could have been writing.
The same goes for your organization. When you stay organized, you naturally move through your workflow faster.
You know where things are, what to grab when you’re looking for something specific, and where your unique/best/most used samples or sounds are.
Just like sound design, you should be scheduling out at least 1 session per week to work on organizing all of the new sounds/samples you’ve gotten.
I’ve said this one time and time again, so I won’t harp on it too much. If you’re trying to finish more EDM tracks the quickest way to go about this is to have a well put together template that you consistently use and update. This can be a part of your organizational sessions.
Take the time to setup an effective template that will shorten the time you spend on specific tasks.
Make sure you put in your most used plugins, most used VST’s, setup presets for your most used plugins that you’ll have ready at hand; specific sections for however many basslines you use, leads, piano, drums etc.
Your template should basically have all of your most used things in one spot, ready for you to go.
If you want to start finishing more EDM tracks, you need to effectively think about your situation and how you can improve your songwriting.
Automate non-essential tasks (templates), make sure you’re organized, write shorter songs, and while doing so, you’ll write more songs.
If you’re new to some of these tactics, it might take a few weeks for you to really see a noticeable difference, but the key is to stick with it. Stick with it, keep trying, updating and improving your songwriting tactics, and you’ll naturally find yourself finishing way more tracks.
If you want to hear me take a deeper dive on the things said here, you can check out the episode of my podcast about this topic! – Electronic Dance Money Episode 009 – How These 5 Time Management Tips Will Help You Finish More Tracks
Are you also interested in reading more about how to be better at managing your time? It’s one of the most precious things you have, and as you become more successful, you’ll find less and less of it.
It’s especially important to nail your workflow now and be as efficient as possible.
That way when you are successful, you won’t be struggling to juggle everything all at once. I highly recommend Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. This book has helped me completely dominate my work and personal life, it’s a game changer if you can manage to work in what the book teaches you!