Thursday, 26 March 2015

March 2015 Review - Music Production, Podcast and Website Updating

This is my first post on setting goals for myself, so I'll do my best to talk you through them, and my reasons for concentrating on them instead of others. I'll also do a quick review on how this month has gone for me, and what I have been up to.

Hopefully it will be of interest to you, and if you are a music producer or DJ you may find some of it helpful.

March 2015 Review

I still feel like this month has been about me finding my feet again within electronic dance music. I had taken a break for a while with other personal commitments, so in some ways it feels like I am starting from scratch again. I am fortunate enough to bring nearly twenty years experience with me this time though, so hopefully I will hit the ground running. 

There were three main objectives for this month:
  • Start Making Music Again
  • Record And Publish My Podcast
  • Get This Website Up to The Previous Standard

Start Making Music

It's been well over a year since I have either produced or released any music. This presented a few problems. I have a few projects that are half finished, so they've been gathering dust while also getting more and more out of date with what is happening in the dance music scene at the minute.

After taking such a long break I wasn't sure which direction to take any new production. So to combat this, I have started a couple of different projects, all with different styles.

I have the beginnings of an EDM big room tune, some Future House (which kind of sounds like stuff I was playing years ago, but never mind about that...), a darker techno influenced song and a big distorted sounding tune which is more the direction I want to go in at the minute.

I also have some tunes that need finished off, but I haven't got round to revisiting them properly yet. They include another EDM style track and a more laid back house track with some beautiful vocals recorded for it. I want to leave this one for a few months though, as it deserves a lot more attention than I can give it at the minute.

Upgrading My Studio Plugins

This month I haven't put any pressure on myself, just more about getting back into the habit of turning Cubase on and coming up with a few ideas. I also treated myself to a few inexpensive plugins.

First up was the Voxengo Span Spectrum Analyzer, which is free to download. Free is always good, when it's legal and bug free. This seems to be both. I've been looking for a decent EQ Analyzer for a while, and this is proving to be a good option so far.

I visited the Waves website and bought their Renaissance Reverb during a weekend sale. It's better than the reverb plugins I had, but I think I may need to play with it to get the most of it. It is normally quite expensive, but if you see it on sale it might be worth looking at. So far I'm happy with it for the amount I paid. I still want a Lexicon reverb though...

While I was on the Waves site I also took advantage of a free giveaway of their OneKnob Pumper Stereo. It's like having an instant sidechain, very easy to use and free. I think I was able to get this after I signed up to their email. I would recommend checking out the Waves website, if only to receive the offers that might interest you occasionally.

I'll go into more detail about the music production over the next few posts, but for now it's looking like my next completed production will be the future house track. It seems to be shaping up nicely so far, so I'm going to see how that goes.

Making My "All The Best" Podcast 

It's been nearly 6 months since my last podcast was published, so this is long overdue. It is supposed to be a monthly podcast of all the best music I can find, but it has been seriously neglected of late.

First off I needed to get myself some new music, something else I hadn't done in a while. I either buy my music on Beatport, or use the promos that I get sent via email. I had nearly 1000 promos to sort through, although as they had been sent months ago most of the links had expired. So this month's podcast music was mainly sourced from Beatport.

I think podcasts are a great way to get mixes, music and information out into the world. I like to use the microphone at the start and the end, which not only makes it a bit more personal, but also lets you promote any new releases, gigs or anything else you want to the listener to know about. I try to keep a balance between doing this and letting the mix speak for itself though. I'm not sure if I've got it right just yet, I guess I'll have to work on it next month.

I've posted a tracklisting on this site along with a media player that automatically starts playing when you go to the page. I don't know whether I like this feature or not yet, but I'll try it this month and see how it performs. You can check it out on my James Best - All The Best - Episode 10 Post, or go directly to either my iTunes or Podomatic links.

I'll be keeping a close eye on my podcast stats for the next month. After such a lengthy absence, the downloads and plays have been minimal.

The rest of the statistics don't fair much better to be honest. But this was before I had uploaded the latest episode, so I'm hoping to see some big improvements. I haven't promoted it yet on any social media sites, as I want to see how it performs on it's own first. I'll do them separately, so I can analyse what works best.

Getting The Website Up To Standard

This is going to take some time, as I want to turn this into a site where you get quality for money. Even though it's free... Still, I want you to enjoy a quality site, with plenty to offer. I felt my last one just seemed a bit flat. Almost like an information board with not much going on.

I will be constantly improving this site as much as I can, but I also have to try and balance my time doing that with actually making music and mixes and podcasts and everything else. So this month it has maybe been the one that has suffered with not getting enough time, I'll just have to improve on that next month.

April 2015 Goals

Over the next month I want to keep the momentum up, but with slightly more specific targets. So here goes..

  • Get A Track Finished, And Ready To Bring To The Studio For The Mixdown
  • Get My Next Podcast Episode Finished With Better Mic Skills And More Info On The Show
  • Reach At Least 100 Downloads For My Podcast For The Month 
  • Get The Website Up To Standard
  • Do A Giveaway On My Site For The Month Of April

This is more than enough to keep me busy for a month, and I hope I can get it all fitted in. I will keep you updated through the month, and I hope you will return to see how it goes. I will pass on any tips I can as well. If you want to keep updated, please enter your details in the email sign up on the right hand side. I'll be posting emails about once a week and I'll throw a few of my music in with them for you too.

I hope you found some of this either useful or interesting, and hopefully next month I'll have some new music to share with you..