On Vibe

What is “vibe”? Abstracting for a moment, it’s something about listener’s response to your music. More practically, it’s the agregate effect of your choices of timing, sound design, composition, mixing, performance, etc. Really, vibe is the result of your taste in music. It’s the multitude of tiny decisions you make – often without even realising there is a decision tobe made. You just do it.

So how do you create vibe? How do you create music that has a distinctive identity, that feels individual, that sounds like you?

This comes in two equal parts: you need to learn your tools, and you need to learn yourself.

Learning your tools is a topic that’s been covered in great depth everywhere. The more of the music production process you do yourself, the harder this is. Develop your composition skills. Practice your instruments. Know your studio equipment inside-out. Become an expert at mixing. Don’t suck at mastering.

Learning yourself is more difficult, and isn’t discussed very widely. This is about your taste in music, and mostly comes from listening to as music music as possible and making as much music as possible. As a music creator, music is your literature. Listen to as much as you can. Learn to apprecate different styles. Fill your music library with classical, heavy metal, techno, rap, pop, experimental, jazz, etc. The more different varieties of music you listen to, the more you learn about what you like and what you don’t. You’ll also pick up interesting ideas to try out for yourself. This also helps prevent getting stuck in a rut, or running out of ideas. When all you listen to is one variety of music, you’ll find your own imagination becomes limited.

Making as much music as possible is also terribly important. The more music you make, the more opportunities you have to try out different ideas, different approaches, even different styles of music. The more experimentation you do, the better you’ll understand what works for you. Try as much as possible to finish projects. Don’t leave them hanging, and (more importantly) don’t get stuck endlessly refining and touching up. You’ll learn more by spending a month finishing two or three songs than deliberating over a single song.

How does this relate to vibe? The vibe comes from you. It comes from within. It comes from what intrigues you, what excites you, what moves you. 

-Kim.

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    • MadPsyance
    • May 19th, 2009

    Where has your blog been my entire music-making life? You keep saying things that I know must be true because I’ve come to the same conclusions independently…only it’s taken me years to do so. Keep up the good work!

    • rebuscador
    • May 20th, 2009

    nice blog. tenkiu.

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