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snugglepuff 2013-03-18 12:10

How to manage and finish songs?
Hi there,

I was wondering if anyone could share their insights on how to manage projects. How many projects do you work on at the same time? What do you do when a project feels like it isn't going anywhere? How do you encourage yourself to finish projects? That kind of stuff. I always start a million things and then walk away when it starts to get heavy so I'd love to know how you guys handle these things, and I'd also like to know how you get creatively inspired.


CharlesRES 2013-03-18 12:28

I also have multiple projects going on. I work with one song and then I come up with an idea for another song so I start a new one. But I usually get stuck on the arrangement of the song. I believe if you have the arrangement of the song complete, then the rest will be a fun and smooth ride.

AnthonyMichaelAngelo 2013-03-18 14:13

At the moment I'm finishing up a dude's first solo album. This is his soundcloud: (That's a track off the album on that page as well.) There's a lot of variety on this album, so that one song will not sum up the vibe.

The second big project is finishing up a single and halfway finished shooting a music video for a guy Zach B, with a Jamaican gyal Jody singing on it. I will be making an entire album with her next. 100% Reggae/Dancehall/Caribbean riddims. BIG GUN SOUND.

My next solo album will be DnB, about 11 tracks in the works still. On the side of that, I'm recording a Comedy/Satire/RAP artist's second album in which I'm making all of the beats for it..

If I can suggest something simple to keep you going, I'll try this: Discipline yourself however you have to. Actually setup a schedule for yourself if needed. I hate/almost never scheduling any of my own personal projects, and usually go off feel & impulse, but some others like to plan ahead, like buying tickets to an event and feeling obligated to go.

I have more projects on my back-burner than I can handle, but it's because I don't have the music studio setup for it. Someday I'll start clearing the old ideas out which you might consider to become "heavy". Just don't release a lot (or any) unfinished stuff and you'll be a lot happier when you do release something. It'll be finished, and that's all that you need to know.

Then it's a rinse & repeat, move on and continue with your life without stressing over your old production quality. You'll look back and still appreciate what you've done. I'm 5 albums in and I still look back at my amateur productions with laughter, but I still know I loved the music I made at the time because that's what I felt like making.

Production quality comes in time.

vanKloot 2013-03-18 15:39

For me I kinda have to power through a new idea to something I consider "completion", or I won't come back to it. That's tough because pretty much any time I call up any patch of any kind, I can come up with an idea for a song. But even if I jot that idea down in a new file just to capture it, odds are I won't go back and revisit it later. I have to get sucked into "the moment" of a song and see it through almost non-stop.

Recently I've decided to go through and really organize my Refills/Sound libraries collection. I'm happy with the direction it's taking, but as I audition each refill to get a sense of what's in it, I'm coming up with a zillion little ideas. Blessing and curse rolled into one! LOL

Wyggy 2013-03-18 17:29

I liked the Figure Sketches. Are these sketches individually something you consider completed or is the collection a completed project? :(

I like collections of short pieces.

carlgrace 2013-03-18 17:55

The two biggest things you can do are:

1. Make a commitment to finish.

2. Don't be afraid to discard, rework, or combine.

I usually have about 5 songs going at once. That way, I'm always inspired to work on at least one of them. However, if I start wanting to begin new songs, I force myself to finish an older one. By finish I mean record lyrics, mix properly, and master. AT some point you have to tell yourself: I'm going to finish 2 songs this week, and do it.

A great way to do that if you have a bunch of so-so songs is to combine them. Take the good bits out of song A and put them in song B. It may be that the chorus of song B fits the verse of song A well (after you transpose it). If so, do it! Don't be afraid! Some people are timid to trash their own work. Don't be! Through destruction comes progress.

I would say on average each of my songs starts as three or four sketches. I've had people tell me I am good at melodies. The way I do it is to make 10 or 20 melodies, and then throw 9 or 19 of them away. The one I keep is a good one.

I find that much more effective then continually polishing. Make more new stuff, then combine!

Wyggy 2013-03-18 18:20

Super music. Very useful advice. Thanks.

vanKloot 2013-03-18 18:22

Well the thing about Figure is that you're limited to 8 bars, PERIOD. Slowest tempo you can do is 60bpm so if you're clever you can do 16 bars at an apparent 120bpm. I wouldn't generally consider them "finished" as far as songs go, but they're "finished" as far as Figure is concerned, since that's all you can do.

Sometimes hard limits are a good thing. Though personally I still really REALLY wish we could import Figure files to Reason (or export them as Reason files, either way). I'd love to work on some of those ideas more inside Reason.

Good suggestions also carlgrace, I don't tend to think of taking one bit from one idea and merge it with another from another. Might have to give that a whirl...

rankine15 2013-03-19 07:01


You are forgetting how to stay in a mode. All the advice about discipline will not help you. You should do something like the following:

1. Begin a file and use Matrix
2. Set the starting tones to the note of your choice. All E's etc.
3. Begin writing a melody with this note as the dominant tone.
4. Write all parts of the song, with this new setup.

Many times, people leave the damn machine on C for start up, and it disrupts your ability to play any other mode. Every Reason song designed ever, begins with a C cause no one thinks outside the box.

Try a Matrix setting of E, or A for a new sound and use that as your dominant note.

You are mixing the modes of your recording or file so nothing is probably coherent.

My band is Rankine Star, the singles are at this link:

vanKloot 2013-03-19 08:23


Originally Posted by rankine15 (Post 1266161)
Every Reason song designed ever, begins with a C cause no one thinks outside the box.

Ummmm... no. Just, no.

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