TRYING TOO HARD (Tracks No. 7, 8 and 9)

Using the momentum from my previous tracks, I set out to write this piece Alpha Centauri. Inspired by space and downtempo music, I tried to create a dark, brooding, mysterious setting, still feeling my way around Logic and trying to figure out my workflow.


Alpha Centauri was a pain in the ass to complete because I got completely stuck in a loop of perfectionism. I think it took me three weeks to get it done. I was thinking too much. I wanted it to be killer! I spent days messing around, deleting parts, tweaking, looking up tutorials… and most importantly, constantly worrying that I wasn’t able to make a professional sounding track. It was getting me depressed and when I finally finished it was a huge relief. 

I then produced another track - Somnium. Inspired by post rock and a cool riff that I came up with earlier on the guitar, I made this track in Logic over the course of two days. This one was, as always, a lot of trial and error and tweaking for ages without getting anywhere, but what's cool is that I was able to maintain the dark theme that I envisioned throughout the song. Note that the vision wasn't musical, but visual. As a photographer, it was easier for me to see various scenes in my mind and then sort of try to write a soundtrack for them. If you are curious what sort of visual ideas I was using as the foundation for the track, check out my Sinc series here.


The visual inspiration allowed for a brief state of flow which was followed by a long slump. I was too afraid to start another track for the fear of failure. I would procrastinate and do other things. Why the hell would I want to face frustration again only to fail? I concluded that I didn’t have what it took to be good at making music, completely ignorant of the importance of experience and learning by failing. Perfectionism ruined any hope of progress. Perfectionism resulted in no music.

Fast forward two years, and for some reason I am back at my DAW trying to make sounds again. Countless 8 or 16 bar loops that go nowhere, bad sound design, boring drums, hours of trying, and not a single piece of music longer than thirty seconds to show for it.

That’s when I stumbled on Mike Monday’s tutorials and realized that it was time for a change. It was time to start finishing music.

And so I made this track, titled appropriately Choke:


For this track I tried not to get carried away by the things that happened by accident and trial and error, and instead I tried to guide it to represent the dark sound that I knew I liked. It wasn't easy because I would jam and get something that wouldn't fit my idea, so I'd have to scrap it and start over. Finally I was able to capture the mysterious kind of sound, but my production feels repetitive and stale. But oh wow, it was so nice to be making music again.