New Years Resolution: 5 Ways To Minimize & Optimize

Modern artists must play multiple roles in order to maintain modern standards. You must be responsible for your presentation and, let's face it, social media is unavoidable if you are trying to get some traction.

Here's a brief and broad list of things that I do constantly, that you may want to apply to the new year.


1. Resolutions and goals

I'm from the school of thought that you don't need to announce something to manifest it. However I do like to set some concrete objectives whenever possible.

Mine include upgrading my sound card, starting a new record label and securing more out of state bookings. I could further extend this into getting "better" at mixing and mastering, but that has been an ongoing process, so perhaps a more specific goal would be appropriate.


2. Remove excess social media posts

I like posting bullshit, from photos of my dogs to food and things that may not matter in a year. Looking back, I have also re-posted a lot of material from friends and associates that, really, has nothing to do with my brand.

So I am taking the time, when I have time as it's not a huge priority, to archive (not delete!) posts on Instagram and focus the account. What if it's someone's first time visiting your Instagram, or you are promoting an event or release, and they can't find it because there's a bunch of non-related material? Sounds like you fucked up. Clean that shit up.


3. Uninstall unused plugins

I install demos almost every day and 95% of the time never run the application again. While they may not bog down the system, I find decluttering in general a nice way of getting re-focused and making it easier to get working


4. Reorganize / audit your production folders

My process is as follows:

I make a new Ableton Live session, I save it to a big folder with all of my main session folders in there. If it's unclear what I might be doing with this, perhaps it's just a sketch, I will save it to a folder denoted "sketches and sound design". If it's a solid start in a specific genre, I have genre/BPM folders that I can then save to.

I am also sure to render a mixdown - I probably won't remember what "175BPM halftime BPM reggae dub jungle thing 2" sounds like in a couple of weeks, so it's nice to have a quickly playable mixdown - even if it's just 16 bars!

All of this material - the Ableton Live Sessions and Mixdowns (in my giant mixdowns to sort folder) stack up over time and eventually need to be trimmed down. Sure, I have multiple hard drives and seemingly endless space to save as a result, but navigating through a dense sea of poorly labeled sessions is a headache and make some not want to work on music.

I bet that 85% of what I create gets forgotten about or deleted within a few months. I am okay with making broad (bad) sketches of sounds and songs without fear of failure. For every garbage track I attempt, I am getting closer to accomplishing the idea I am seeking.

So - I take time every so often to go through all of my recent session files. I listen - honestly - and decide whether it's worth keeping or if I will delete it.

Reducing the number of active sessions and placing the "I'm going to work on these later" ones in a Back Burner folder is a great way to return when the time is right to complete that session. Deleting duplicates, bad takes and overall forgettable failed attemps is a great way to declutter.


5. Create shortcuts / pre-sets / etc

As I am going through these potentially trashed sessions, I listen not to the entire piece but the sounds as individual concepts.

If one out of the ten channels I have going is interesting, I will save that instrument as a pre-set (pro-tip: make it an Instrument Rack in Ableton Live, with the effects) or render the audio to a "to sample folder". This folder perpetually grows as time passes, providing a bounty of new and potentially original sounds to work with.



Posted in 5 Ways, Improvement, Music Production.