The following post comes directly from Soundfly’s mentored online course, The Art of Hip-Hop Production. Learn the nuances of producing beats, arranging tracks, and creative sampling, drawing on the rich history and influence of hip-hop. Free preview here.

Because I’m personally so influenced by Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen, I’ve spent a lot of time reading poets like Sappho, Auden, Berryman, and T.S. Eliot, and listening to Jewish and Christian liturgical music, which were all major influences on them. Cohen’s “Suzanne” oozes with classical, religiously steeped references.

All of Soundfly’s mentored online courses come with six weeks of 1-on-1 professional coaching and feedback on your work. It’s like having a personal trainer, but for music! Share your goals with us and we’ll find a course for you, or create a custom mentorship session with a pro musician, engineer, educator, or music industry veteran, to help you achieve them. 

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A common distortion pedal for shoegaze is the fuzz, and there’s almost none more famous than the Big Muff Pi. It’s famous for a reason. It creates a high quality, juicy, fat sounding distortion for a comparatively low price and is sought after for its sustain as well. The Big Muff is really quite perfect for creating those colorful walls of noise, but there’s such a huge range of overdrive and distortion pedals out there, you really need to find what fits your personal taste.

[AC]: “I think the most interesting thing about this is that even participants or listeners who don’t have any musical training show the similar patterns. So in your head, I’m sure you’re not really thinking, ‘How important is that tone?’ You’re giving it a rating based on your gut feeling.”

There are extras you may want or need to purchase, such as a pop shield or pop filter (this is the circular disk that you see in front of a microphone usually made from a nylon material). If you’re using an XLR mic, you’ll also need an XLR cable — I use Jumperz, but Hosa are a cheaper option and Mogami are the best and most expensive. A microphone stand may be helpful too depending on whether your mic came with one included or if you’d like to stand up to read, etc.

Here’s a handy piece of advice from pro audio engineer Joe Lambert. This video appears in Soundfly’s mentored online course, Faders Up I: Modern Mix Techniques.

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If you are still unsure if your mix is ready for mastering, send it to the mastering engineer and ask their opinion. Any professional engineer will be able to help you catch potential issues in your sound and give you advice on how to address them within your mix to ensure best possible final results for your mastered song.

Obviously, you always hope to just show up and the magic will take over, and before you know it, you’re going platinum. Sure, spontaneous magic can definitely happen in the recording studio — but in my experience, it’s almost always facilitated by being above-and-beyond prepared for what you’re going to do.

When you’re in the trenches every day, it’s so easy to forget where you’re headed. When you see your friends or other musicians on social media growing their fan base like crazy, remember the big picture. Take a few minutes every day to zoom out and look at where you, specifically, are going.

All of our mentored online courses come with six weeks of 1-on-1 professional coaching and feedback on your work. It’s like having a personal trainer, but for music! Share your goals with us and we’ll find a course for you, or create a custom mentorship session with a pro musician, engineer, educator, or music industry veteran, to help you achieve them. 

One other interesting thing about the I-IV-V progression is that, within the chord tones of this progression, it collectively outlines the entire major scale. Remember, the I chord is D, made up of the notes D, F♯, and A; the V chord is A, made up of the notes A, C♯, and E; and the IV chord is G, made up of the notes G, B, and D.