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Why Make Music When You Can Focus On Buying New Gear?

Apr 10, 2008
Today's technology is growing at a furious pace and music production hardware and software technology is no exception. With so many choices in production software packages, not to mention the wide assortment of peripheral instruments, controllers, work surfaces, microphones not to mention the Mac vs. PC argument, it's easy to lose focus on the art and get lost in the lust for the latest and greatest.

I recently organized my small production studio in a space I created in my home for just that purpose. It's not finished, not by a long shot. There are four stick built walls, no drywall and a gap where the door, which sits inside its original packaging outside the structure, is going to hang someday. The wall sockets and power supply boxes are installed and hot, but with no drywall there are no face plates. I have been working on the space since last October. Money to build my dream studio has run out and it is what it is.

I was speaking with a friend about the disappointment of my unfinished studio when he relayed a story to me about his buddy in a similar situation. It seems his friend has a beautiful studio he just finished at his condo. It is fully sound proofed and features more equipment than Guitar Center. He has the best digital audio workstation (DAW) with the latest plug-ins, the most popular midi controller, a rack full of components and keyboards and an impressive 9 years of work put in to building this magnificent control room. One problem; he has exactly zero tracks in the can. 9 years, zero tracks.

I have another friend who has a home studio and hundreds of songs available for purchase on iTunes. He is successful at creating and selling his music. Music, I should point out, that he created in his somewhat finished basement, on a version of Pro Tools that the Commodore 64 thinks is out dated. When I asked him about his antique equipment he was quick to point out that 'he has everything he needs, and more importantly, he knows how to use it'. He's more proficient on his "out dated equipment" than most people are on a word processor. Like an old school author who writes beautiful novels on a typewriter, he bangs out tracks because he can focus on the art and not the equipment.

Immediately I went home and hung some old sheets on the 2x4's, put a 3x6 folding table up, filled it with the gear I carefully packed in the original boxes back in October and made my self a promise; I will not by another piece of software (upgrades included) or hardware till I have 3 songs completed. I refuse to look back six months from now, only to wonder why I still have no songs completed. Now I sit here between these stick walls draped in old sheets, with equipment that is an ancient one year old, and realize that if I have a hit song in me, I probably have what I need to produce it. I don't have my dream studio yet, I don't even have walls yet, but I have the ability to create music. And because I really want that hot new midi controller, I better start working on music and stop writing articles for now.
About the Author
Christopher French aka dj iMix is a dj, producer, and musician from metro Detroit. Since 1987 he's made and performed music at nightclubs as well as concert venues including Georgia Tech Univ., Hill Auditorium at Univ. of Mich. and Interlochen, Michigan. Find Chris at: http://www.myspace.com/djimix
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