hi yes uh I just realized you saw that post I made about your channel way back in like September and wowie I'm honored you replied! thank you. I really love your music and More Than Human looks really, really good! I'm hoping to get it as soon as I can.
Ahhhh thank you so much!!
Thank you very much! It all looks fairly intimidating to be candid no really sure how I'll put it together with what I have (as I have the bad habit of putting notes to lyrics solidly before working with instruments), is it possible at any point if you could help me out with this? If not that's totally fine, again thank you!
No problem! :)
It’s all pretty scary to start off with. And as I said to Clara (URL jackfrostitution) in the previous answer, the overwhelmingness of everything never really stops. But hey, you can treat that as a good thing, because you already know how scary it’s going to be so you can just forge ahead, right?
I do exactly the same thing. Probably ninety percent of my songs are written melody/lyrics first. That used to be a huge problem for me when I was still learning my way around chord progressions and how they work with one another as I had no idea how to make the melody in my head fit with the piano keys in my hand. But it’s worth working through that because I’ve found going melody first like that can produce some of the most singable songs. If you’re humming the melody and liking it, chances are others are going to do the same.
I can’t help very much with writing the song itself, but doing that yourself is the best way of learning. One of the critical points in songwriting for me was on a singing school camp when we were told ‘write a song and perform it tonight’, then sent off to go write in whatever manner we pleased. I remember panicking, eventually running off by myself to an empty piano, sitting down and getting it done, which surprised me more than anyone. The song that came out of this was Out Of This Life Alive, which I don’t have on YouTube any more oops.
Tell yourself to do something like that! When you have a free afternoon, make yourself write a song before dinnertime. Sure, a song written in a couple of hours is usually not going to be an absolute masterpiece, but it’s practice and that’s all good.
I hope I haven’t misinterpreted what you were asking for help with, haha. As always, feel free to clarify if I’ve messed up!
Thanks for replying! I have been playing clarinet for three years and my parents don't really want me to get a piano because they're expensive and they don't want me to play it once and get bored. I also listen to a ton of different music and observe what sounds good so I have a good eye for tone and stuff. Also, I downloaded the demo of FL Studio 11 yesterday and it's SO confusing! (cont.)
(cont.) Were you as lost as I currently am when you first started? Is Cubase any easier? All of the tutorials I’ve found are for people who have a basic knowledge of digital workspaces and I can’t find any that are for completely stupid people. :( I’m going to keep messing with it. Thanks so much for answering and I’m sorry for asking a lot of questions! I’m sure you are very busy, so no rush answering!
Clarinet is a good start! Like I said, any background in music theory helps, so that’s a good thing. You don’t need to get an expensive piano at all, a cheapo one from like a local supermarket will do for learning in the beginning. It’s not like some other instruments where getting a cheap one will make everything difficult and discourage you. The keys are like. Right there.
This seems to be the cheapest one I could find on Amazon, but I’m sure you could find the same kind of deal in a brick and mortar store. I highly recommend checking places out in person, you’ll never know what you might find!
Of course, if you still can’t afford that, it’s totally okay! Don’t stress over it.
I started with FruityLoops but I can’t really remember how I learned the first couple of things. I’ve got a gut feeling that my cousin showed me (in person) how to make patterns and get them into the… I think it’s the arrange window? Mixer? Playlist? I honestly don’t remember much about how stuff in FruityLoops is named haha.
Thinking back to how FL is laid out, Cubase is probably an easier option as you can draw MIDI regions right into the window you start off with, so that would help out. Unfortunately, it costs a lot. I’ve heard Ableton is pretty good and a lot of people with Macs like Logic (I do not) but they’re all vaguely in the same price range, if I recall correctly.
This tutorial for Cubase seems pretty good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYV2Hi6uAnU
I can’t really watch through the whole thing right now, but you can learn almost anything you want to know from YouTube from people who explain things better than I could hope to!
And don’t worry, I was in so far over my head when I first began! The thing about music - or any artistic sort of skill - is that you’re always learning and pretty much always feeling a little overwhelmed. Don’t let it freak you out, it’s totally normal.
You’ve just gotta keep plugging away at it. A year, two years, three years from now you’ll get the urge to re listen to something old you created and you’ll be blown away by how far you’ve come. For example:
Constantly making stuff - even when you have ZERO idea what you’re doing like I did in the 2011 piece - is the best teacher in the world. Good luck! :)
I’m really sorry about the questions left unanswered in my inbox! They’re going to take a lot more time to properly answer than I have right now. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about either of you!
I have a question, I've listened to a good amount of your songs, most recent being Blood Knight on youtube, and I need to ask, how do you create the instrumental, you said fake guitars in the description and I've been looking for something for a song I've written so it's been mildly frustrating. Anyway thank you for taking the time to read this!
I do pretty much everything via MIDI programming and soundbanks. I only work in Cubase nowadays. The guitars in Blood Knight were defaults that came with Cubase. I chucked some amp effects on them and fiddled for ages until I got a sound I liked. Unfortunately I can’t really tell you more than that - I would if I could but I can’t access the project file and I don’t remember what I did, hahah.
These days for most guitars I use EWQL’s Ministry Of Rock 2 which is pretty good but… far from perfect. I love the Stingray Bass patch and the rhythm guitars are insanely useful, especially once you’ve changed up the sound of them (and the drums are FABULOUS but I rarely use them as they’re too intense for my computer) but the lead guitars are not fantastic, in my opinion.
Here’s an example of a song where I use the Bass/Rhythm Guitars from MoR2. The ‘lead guitar’ is actually this bank’s violin with some pretty intense guitar amps on it. Don’t underestimate the power of messing about with non-guitar instruments to get certain sounds. Helped me out a lot.
As always, feel free to ask more if you like!! :)
Hello there! I've just discovered your music from Land of Fans and Music 2, and I love it! I really want to get into making music similar to the Homestuck style, but I have NO idea where to start! No idea what program to use that would help me compose such music or what! Do you have any beginner's tips? Thanks so much! :) x
It’s taken me far too long to get around to answering this question, so I’m really sorry about that!
First of all, thank you so much :)
It’s a pretty overwhelming topic when you don’t know where to get going. The first thing I’d recommend is learning to play either piano (a cheap home keyboard will do!) or guitar, depending on where you want to go with things. If you’re leaning towards being a singer-songwriter and playing your songs all around the place, I’d recommend guitar. If you want a headstart in digital music production, go with piano/keyboard.
It isn’t absolutely necessary, but the amount of help you’ll get from a good grounding in a musical instrument will be invaluable. Obviously it’ll be easier to go with a teacher, but you can slowly pick things up from tutorials on YouTube (that’s what I’m trying to do with guitar right now, actually). So if you can’t afford lessons, it isn’t the end of the world.
Now, when I say you should learn either piano or guitar, there’s nothing to stop you from learning both, or learning another instrument entirely. I feel like they’re really good options for getting to learn how chords work, though. Any background of musical theory will help you out, but I feel like those are probably your best options (Other musicians, feel free to chime in here if I’m forgetting something!)
The two most important things you can learn from this are chords and keys (as in key signatures, not keys on a piano). If you think of chords as numbered in relation to the key signature (for example, chord I of C Major is C Major, chord ii is D Minor etc), you’ll be able to noodle on them pretty quickly. Something that I found really helped me to learn chords was jumping onto www.ultimate-guitar.com and printed out pages upon pages of chord sheets for songs I liked and playing them over and over again. You get to notice all sorts of patterns that way, plus it’s heaps of fun. This does apply to piano, by the way - you just won’t be able to use the guitar tabs on the site.
As for software, it depends hugely on your budget and how serious you are. I started off on FL Studio (back when everyone was still calling it Fruity Loops without getting strange looks, haha), but I currently use Cubase 6.5 (the full, expensive edition).
FL Studio gets a bit of a bad name (from what I can tell, this is because it’s the easiest to pirate) and I think that’s undeserved. It does have its limitations but it’s a decent piece of software! Plus, it’s so cheap for a full DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that it’s a wonderful option for beginners. I don’t mean to imply that it’s only for beginners, though! And you’re a Homestuck fan, yeah? Well, Toby Fox uses Fruity Loops.
If you can afford it I’d recommend Cubase over FL just due to personal preference. Plus, Cubase comes with a tonne of preloaded instruments, whereas with FL, you have to hunt the internet for free ones/buy some yourself. In the long run you absolutely will be buying yourself some more soundbanks if you’re serious about digital composition - I’ve dropped over a thousand dollars on them in the past couple of years and am nowhere near done (at the moment I’m saving for some acoustic treatment for my room though, so no shiny new sounds for me for a while *sniffs and sheds a single tear*)
If you’d like some examples of different stuff I’ve done with the different DAWs, everything from Temporal Shenanigans and earlier is on Fruity Loops (with any vocals recorded on Cubase… I had no idea what I was doing lmao…) and anything from Blood Knight/Indigo Archer and onwards was made entirely on Cubase.
uhhh yeahhhh i had more plans to say stuff but i forgot all of them uh
go ahead and ask as many questions as you like if you want more detail on anything, don’t be a stranger :)
Saw your photos from the fob concert in Melbourne a few weeks ago, I was there too! Probably one of the best nights of my life. Thanks for putting up the list of all the songs they played, I'm making a cd for my dad and I'd forgotten the order of them lol
You’re welcome! Happy to share!! It was a fantastic concert, wasn’t it?