1. How do you produce to perform electronic music? Intro

In between writing, producing and performing electronic music I sometimes like to pontificate on the same subjects. Mainly to pass some tips on to those starting out as it is an enormous subject with many decisions to be made regarding style, equipment, producing and performing in addition to the usual music industry pitfalls. I have come back to making music after a hiatus and while everything is different nothing much has changed.

Yet I still had many questions:

  • I like that genre but what is it called?
  • what equipment/instruments do I need to make that sound?
  • what production techniques are needed to make it sound authentic?
  • how can it be 'played' live with only one or two people?
  • how much investment of cash and time do I need?

Most of these were answered with research. Ewetoob has it all! Electronic music though is an enormous subject. From the Theremin of 1919 through the analog ages and finally to digital everything. And there is a huge media machine of continuous information digging into every element and nuance of how it works.

Yet some eternal questions remain and can't be answered by the UTube cognoscenti:

  • why am i doing this?
  • is my music any good?
  • will people like/buy it?
  • can I get gigs with this stuff?
  • what are my objectives?
  • Self realisation or world fame?

In theory these are the questions we should answer first before spending a shitload of dosh on gear we only use twice. But we don't. We like to jump right in. And there's nothing wrong with that. I am a big fan of experimentation and happy accidents. But it can be a fruitless cycle. I am assuming most people want some form of result for their efforts. Such as:

  • produce complete/tracks sounds
  • produce quality tracks
  • release tracks online or to CD/Vinyl
  • develop an audience
  • play live
  • get some monetary return

So this occasional blog will help you think about those issues and hopefully help you design a path that excludes lots of dead ends and very expensive mistakes. (Luckily there is a healthy second-hand market for electronic music gear but still.) I'll share the decisions and mistakes I have made and also share the tools I have used to help me clarify my place in the contemporary music business.

Next week we'll try to answer the critical question of are you a DJ, Producer, Performer or all three?

And just for the record:

  • I started my career as a songwriter with EMI
  • I am a member of APRA (Australian Performing Rights Association)
  • I am currently producing and performing Soundcloud
  • I pioneered and developed online learning with a little company called Apple.
  • I have a Masters of Education and wrote a PhD thesis on the Implementation of Technology.
  • And I have been playing with synthesisers for way too long...