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 Post subject: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own style.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 11:38 pm 
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Q33 NY

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I have been trying to make techno for a year and despite having no knowledge of how the original producer did it I seem to make sounds that have been made before.
I'll make a sound and then think "oh wait, that sounds like that track by such and such. I get really disheartened when it happens, to the point where I feel the fun being taken out of making music.
I then throw another effect or arrangement at it and it loses the spark.
It's so hard to find a signature style.
I find myself doing less and less music because of frustration.Should I just have more courage in my convictions?

Anyone have any advice?

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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:21 am 
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Keep hacking away. The self doubt probably never leaves but you will inevitably & eventually put your own sig on those rhythms & 'melodies'.

Look at dubstep & wobbles.. reese basses & the stuff skrillex & his sort do/used to do. So many different ways to approach something & have it still recognisable both as music that fits a particular style & that sig sound of an artist.

Hammering out the bare bones is probably easy enough, but finding that sparkle to make it stand up & breathe can only be got with trial & error.

TBH, I guess we can all be quite negative on ourselves for all those seemingly wasted projects where we cultivate ideas that go nowhere. Maybe they don't make it to tracks.. but the lessons learned in figuring out sound design etc.. are essential.

So yeah.. keep at it. Doing some of the smaller stuff will help you to unlock those signature vibes. What other way is there?

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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:24 am 
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A big dilemma.

Probably when you are making music you are lead by your taste, influenced unconsciously by the music that other people done before. No way to avoid that.

But, if you run away from that, then... maybe the music you are making will NOT like you!...

So... that's the thing...


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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:42 am 
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I would try to stay away from listening to other techno for some time. What helps me is to do some sounddesign for a few days, and to feed your brain with new music genres and other inspiring things (movies, interviews and stuff). I wouldn´t damn recreation, even if it is unconscious. It´s fundamental in order to learn something. But remember son, only a fool will be satisfied with a passable recreation.

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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:32 am 
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Thanks guys, some good points made by all.

I think I'm gonna ditch my expectations and just have fun!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:39 am 
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Thats like, looking for the answer searched for millenia by Jewish sholars "what is the true name of god".

Finding your own style......
You have to reach some bizarre zen like state where you both actively try to find your own way, but let go enough of the engagement so that it happens naturally. Its a paradox.
You have to both employ and disengage your inner censor at the same time.
Connecting to the muse.

You know it when you find it, because the music appears, like it finds you and not the other way round. And then you can tear your mind apart trying to recapture that moment again.

Clearing your mind can be very helpful.
But so can utilising influence.

I can't think of much applicable advice beyond listening to as little of the genre you are trying to make to remove too direct an influence.

Listen to techno all the time and then try to make it, whatever you do will probably sound too much like everything else.

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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:48 am 
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It takes time. A year ain't long enough man. Simple as that really.

Just keep at it. Cause you'll find a style soon, then grow out of that and find another, etc...



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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 2:07 am 
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Lost to the Void wrote:
Thats like, looking for the answer searched for millenia by Jewish sholars "what is the true name of god".

Finding your own style......
You have to reach some bizarre zen like state where you both actively try to find your own way, but let go enough of the engagement so that it happens naturally. Its a paradox.
You have to both employ and disengage your inner censor at the same time.
Connecting to the muse.

You know it when you find it, because the music appears, like it finds you and not the other way round. And then you can tear your mind apart trying to recapture that moment again.

Clearing your mind can be very helpful.
But so can utilising influence.

I can't think of much applicable advice beyond listening to as little of the genre you are trying to make to remove too direct an influence.

Listen to techno all the time and then try to make it, whatever you do will probably sound too much like everything else.


That's just it though Steve, I never listen to techno apart from when I'm at a party. I reckon I'm just trying too hard to make the 'perfect' track. I need to view it from a new perspective.

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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:35 am 
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Well what is the perfect track?

I think you always have to accept compromise, and try to learn every time.

I`ve probably deleted/destroyed 10-20 tracks for every 1 that gets finished.
And even then I am rarely happy with what gets finished.

At some point you just have to let go and move on, and let other people decide if they like it or not.

Usually at that point, I`m so detached from the work, I really don`t care about it any more.
Once something gets released I`m already over it most of the time, it`s flaws etc, and it`s behind me and I am already working on something else.

My own internal critic is fucking brutal...

Back when I studied art, one of the few useful things I got from a tutor were the words
"No painting is ever finished, it merely stops in interesting places"

And the same can be applied to music, at least if you are the kind of artist chasing the art, and not the things that come with it.

Essentially, just keep going, keep moving forwards, your voice will come. Even when it does, you probably won`t notice/be happy with it.
There is always something else to improve or do.
You just keep climbing that mountain.......

That`s pretty much what keeps me going anyway, it`s like an endless puzzle.
I think if I ever stopped thinking like that then it would be time to do something else.

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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:43 pm 
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Pelecaras wrote:
I have been trying to make techno for a year and despite having no knowledge of how the original producer did it I seem to make sounds that have been made before.
I'll make a sound and then think "oh wait, that sounds like that track by such and such. I get really disheartened when it happens, to the point where I feel the fun being taken out of making music.
I then throw another effect or arrangement at it and it loses the spark.
It's so hard to find a signature style.
I find myself doing less and less music because of frustration.Should I just have more courage in my convictions?

Anyone have any advice?


I think you're being too hard on yourself. Most producers don't have their own style, despite what they think. Just go and listen through a weeks new Techno releases and 99% are just reusing the same old tried and tested methods. Any major shift wouldn't be considered Techno anyway (which would be a good thing imo).

In terms of coming up with new sounds, you've just got to keep fucking about man. Come up with something, throw a bag full of effects at it, resample, reverse it, let it settle, throw yourself round a bit, go back to it and repeat the process. Or not. Maybe just nice square wave thrown through some distortion will be enough. But whatever, chances are something similar has been heard before. It's how you sequence that sound though and how it sits in the track you come up with. Seriously though, why do you think Techno is so obsessed with acid and other old sounds currently? People have run out of funky fresh ideas for the most part so are looking back rather than forward. The Roland Aira range, Korg reissues, Yamaha reface, a shit tonne of smaller boutique synths aimed at basically copying 303/606/808/909 etc etc etc. I don't think software is that much better. Every time Computer Music/Future Music/Synthtopia etc etc announce a new fucking modeled analogue synth I cringe a little. Surely manufacturers/developers can come up with some new shit? New exciting instruments and effects will lead to new exciting music and probably genres. Easier said than done though. So yah, Good luck.


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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:26 pm 
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Posts: 535
Lost to the Void wrote:
Well what is the perfect track?

I think you always have to accept compromise, and try to learn every time.

I`ve probably deleted/destroyed 10-20 tracks for every 1 that gets finished.
And even then I am rarely happy with what gets finished.

At some point you just have to let go and move on, and let other people decide if they like it or not.

Usually at that point, I`m so detached from the work, I really don`t care about it any more.
Once something gets released I`m already over it most of the time, it`s flaws etc, and it`s behind me and I am already working on something else.

My own internal critic is fucking brutal...

Back when I studied art, one of the few useful things I got from a tutor were the words
"No painting is ever finished, it merely stops in interesting places"

And the same can be applied to music, at least if you are the kind of artist chasing the art, and not the things that come with it.

Essentially, just keep going, keep moving forwards, your voice will come. Even when it does, you probably won`t notice/be happy with it.
There is always something else to improve or do.
You just keep climbing that mountain.......

That`s pretty much what keeps me going anyway, it`s like an endless puzzle.
I think if I ever stopped thinking like that then it would be time to do something else.


Wise words, thanks mate.

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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:28 pm 
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Wiu wrote:
Pelecaras wrote:
I have been trying to make techno for a year and despite having no knowledge of how the original producer did it I seem to make sounds that have been made before.
I'll make a sound and then think "oh wait, that sounds like that track by such and such. I get really disheartened when it happens, to the point where I feel the fun being taken out of making music.
I then throw another effect or arrangement at it and it loses the spark.
It's so hard to find a signature style.
I find myself doing less and less music because of frustration.Should I just have more courage in my convictions?

Anyone have any advice?


I think you're being too hard on yourself. Most producers don't have their own style, despite what they think. Just go and listen through a weeks new Techno releases and 99% are just reusing the same old tried and tested methods. Any major shift wouldn't be considered Techno anyway (which would be a good thing imo).

In terms of coming up with new sounds, you've just got to keep fucking about man. Come up with something, throw a bag full of effects at it, resample, reverse it, let it settle, throw yourself round a bit, go back to it and repeat the process. Or not. Maybe just nice square wave thrown through some distortion will be enough. But whatever, chances are something similar has been heard before. It's how you sequence that sound though and how it sits in the track you come up with. Seriously though, why do you think Techno is so obsessed with acid and other old sounds currently? People have run out of funky fresh ideas for the most part so are looking back rather than forward. The Roland Aira range, Korg reissues, Yamaha reface, a shit tonne of smaller boutique synths aimed at basically copying 303/606/808/909 etc etc etc. I don't think software is that much better. Every time Computer Music/Future Music/Synthtopia etc etc announce a new fucking modeled analogue synth I cringe a little. Surely manufacturers/developers can come up with some new shit? New exciting instruments and effects will lead to new exciting music and probably genres. Easier said than done though. So yah, Good luck.



Never looked at it that way before, and of course you're right about the recycling of old sounds. I guess I'm looking for perfection when such a thing doesn't exist.

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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:32 pm 
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Thanks for all the replies, they have made me feel better about it all. It was getting to the point where firing up my DAW was filling me with dread.

I think that I have to learn when to tell my inner critic to shut the fuck up.

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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:46 pm 
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A year is fuck all, if you are worrying about stuff like this at this stage of your creativity, personally I think something is wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:01 pm 
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The inner critic is useful, but think of your mind like a child. It needs a parent. Watch what it's saying, but consider whether it's advice is going to be helpful and lead to some skillful action or just emotional and distracting.

Make lots of music. Don't be afraid of copying. Try out your own take on stuff outside your genre of preference and see what happens. Many of my best ideas come from listening to music my friends like, but isn't something I'd own.

But seriously, make lots of music and let it sort itself out.

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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:10 pm 
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Wiu wrote:
Seriously though, why do you think Techno is so obsessed with acid and other old sounds currently? People have run out of funky fresh ideas for the most part so are looking back rather than forward. The Roland Aira range, Korg reissues, Yamaha reface, a shit tonne of smaller boutique synths aimed at basically copying 303/606/808/909 etc etc etc. I don't think software is that much better. Every time Computer Music/Future Music/Synthtopia etc etc announce a new fucking modeled analogue synth I cringe a little. Surely manufacturers/developers can come up with some new shit? New exciting instruments and effects will lead to new exciting music and probably genres. Easier said than done though. So yah, Good luck.


Maybe it's my perception, but it seems over this past year I've read more about 'jamming' and 'rawness' than I have previously. And it certainly seems to me that a lot of techno tracks I listen to (admittedly not many these days) seem to be using sounds coming out of these boxes/plugins in very conservative ways. So it's no real surprise a lot of tracks sound the same. I'm not saying it's not out there, but I'd like to hear more craft and less noodling.

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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:33 pm 
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ross-alexander wrote:
A year is fuck all, if you are worrying about stuff like this at this stage of your creativity, personally I think something is wrong.


What could that be? please expand.

I have made music for years, firstly in a band and then singer/songwriter kind of stuff. I have been into techno since 1991 but only decided a year ago that I like the idea of making some. Personally I don't think anything is wrong, other than a bit of self-doubt and the lack of experience making the genre.

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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:35 pm 
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1nfinitezer0 wrote:
The inner critic is useful, but think of your mind like a child. It needs a parent. Watch what it's saying, but consider whether it's advice is going to be helpful and lead to some skillful action or just emotional and distracting.

Make lots of music. Don't be afraid of copying. Try out your own take on stuff outside your genre of preference and see what happens. Many of my best ideas come from listening to music my friends like, but isn't something I'd own.

But seriously, make lots of music and let it sort itself out.


That last point is the secret... I have just spent 3 hours tweaking and programming without a goal or expectations and it was really enjoyable, got lost in it to the point where I lost track of time.

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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 5:09 am 
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Planar wrote:
Maybe it's my perception, but it seems over this past year I've read more about 'jamming' and 'rawness' than I have previously. And it certainly seems to me that a lot of techno tracks I listen to (admittedly not many these days) seem to be using sounds coming out of these boxes/plugins in very conservative ways. So it's no real surprise a lot of tracks sound the same. I'm not saying it's not out there, but I'd like to hear more craft and less noodling.


Ive no issues with jamming out an arrangement with some raw, rough around the edges sounds. Its something I'm drawn to and enjoy listening to. Theres definitely a level of craft needed in developing the patches/sounds and also performing the arrangement, so i wouldn't really associate jamming and rawness with noodling. Maybe I'm thinking of 'rawness' slightly different but i get ya.

People can be lazy, easily satisfied cunts, a guy i know owned a Machinedrum for 3 years and when he brought it down to jam i was amazed that the original sounds and patterns where still loaded and he hadn't even made a kit yet :shock: . Rocking a TRish kit is good enough it seems.

The same guy asked to use my MD at my second ever gig because he fancied adding a bit of hardware to his ableton set, starting after me. I was a bit hesitant and said 'but mate, all thats on there is my live set, you'd need to start building your own patterns' and he preceded to show me how he'd use it by pushing the record button and wiping my p-locked snare pattern and jamming in random triggers! I was completely baffled to say the least, it was the greatest snare pattern ever :D

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 Post subject: Re: Haven't I heard that sound before? Finding your own styl
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:31 am 
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Music is a language which you learn. Imagine if someone sat down to write a book and got all upset that the words they were using were used before somewhere. That's what you are doing.

Don't be scared of sounding like something. If you want to make something which is recognizably techno, you'll need to have the common techno elements in there, so don't feel pressured to re-invent the wheel. You could make a track consisting of nothing but sampled farm animal noises which no one has ever heard before, but it's not likely to be any good.
Originality needs to be balanced with familiarity, otherwise it is known as noise. The internet is very fond of shouting "make your own style" in response to the "how do i make this sound" threads, but really, originality is overhyped. Learn from the greats, stand on the shoulders of giants, give the audience 90% of what they expect, learn the rules before you break them, etc etc. Otherwise you are not a musician, you are just neck bearding. Your own style doesn't just come from the sounds used, it comes from the selection of sounds you use, how you arrange, and how you mix it together. And personally, I don't see anything wrong with an artist who fits exactly and anonymously into a particular mold, once its something i like. If I put on a particular web radio for a genre, or a dj mix, I dont care who the artists are I just want a stream of a particular style. Individual fingerprinting all over everything isn't important, imho.


Also, if you think you sound like someone else, are you really sure your tracks are as good as all that? Like, every time you write a track its up there with professionally produced well-known tracks, is what you are saying? An enviable position indeed.


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