Since I became part as a Fill-in for the NGADM 2019 event here on Newgrounds, I have constantly been reconsidering my music, my style of music and especially the production (and production value) of my compositions. This is - unfortunately - going to be an informational "wall of text" to somewhat explain how my composition process works and has been working for the last years.
But first of all, a big "Thank you! ♥" to all of you for listening to my tracks. It's nice to see that people seem actually curious about my compositions. And to top that off, I have been getting some really great feedback from a couple of you which I am looking forward to making use of in the future. But there begins the issue... :/
I have started composing (half-heartedly) in 2011. I have no education in composing, audio engineering or anything that's related to this. So I started completely from scratch, trying to figure out "which button does what" and doing some minor research. I never had and don't have money to get somebody to teach me or study something like this. So, the biggest problem I am facing - who would have thought it - is my financial situation. The only thing I was able to afford, since I started composing, was the SD-90 studio canvas, which uses a couple of synths that are only (!) available on this specific synthesizer. Which sucks. Additionally, I use FL Studio 9, a veeery old version of this program. I am aware that there are far newer versions of this program available; I just cannot afford them.
Another issue I face is the functionality of my personal composition setup. It is a very "spartanic" setup because, besides the outdated software, I don't own the necessary hardware to properly mix everything and record my tracks. Again, I have no idea how this works and I don't know how to set things up without the help of a professional.
What I did find out, though, is that my setup - which by the way is the only way I can compose at the moment, unfortunately - prevents me from using the effects and mixing possibilities (even) FL Studio 9 offers. I have a good friend who also uses FL Studio and they tried to help me get things set up in terms of software via screensharing and talking on Discord; only to find out that even simple things like sidechaining/ducking are impossible for me to get done. What I also found out is that I can use more of FL Studio's effects if I only use preset instruments provided by the program itself. Needless to say that this isn't an option I want to make use of since the SD-90 - including all its instruments, effects and mixing options - would go to waste.
To sum up how I compose nowadays:
I use FL Studio 9 and boot my SD-90. Then I set up the channels and instruments I want to use for a song. Some of those channels control MIDI channels, which are sent to the SD-90. These get kinda "transferred" back after they've been applied the instrument I want from the SD-90, back to FL Studio. Now, besides the MIDI channels, I also use preset channels from FL Studio, as well as some external (free to use!) VSTs, to get all the instruments and sounds I want. Now, after all these things, the final "wave" of sounds gets transferred back through the SD-90 as my music output, so I can actually listen to all instruments playing besides each one at the same time. And to record this, I start an external program - Audacity - to record everything I can hear through my headphones, plugged into the SD-90 sound output.
Yeah. I know. This setup is terrible. Unfortunately, as I alread explained, it is the only way I can record my music semi-properly. I don't know how to set everything up and what I would actually need to make it better. The only thing I know is that I would definitely need money for that. And I don't have any for that.
I do own a "fruity" edition of FL Studio 12 which I mainly use to make my "piano" arranges; got it as a gift to be exact. The problem about this version is that it prevents me of loading my usual instruments or VSTs into it. When I reload a project, everything that is not a preset of this FLS edition or a MIDI channel of the SD-90 gets deleted by the program. And even if I tried to compose a piece in one setting, I am not able/allowed to use all instruments I would like with FLS 12. So, yeah... kinda useless for me at the moment. :/
Basically, since I have gotten more in-depth feedback here, I have begun to reconsider my music and composing music in general. What I do notice is that I start disliking my former compositions more and more. And when I sit down and try to get some composing done, it always feels wrong, unprofessional, bad and - the worst thing for me - I don't really have fun composing because of that anymore.
I am not blaming anyone. This is entirely on me. I only write this blog to show/explain to you - who seem to like my music (thanks again!) - what my current situation is considering music.
I will try to continue composing for now, but these issues have been with me for years now and I am slowly getting (emotionally) tired of this. I barely have a "fanbase" to keep going for, but at least all of them (you) are totally worth it. And I know that, as long as there is at least one person besides me out there who enjoys my music, I will try to keep it up.
Anyways, I'm sorry for this big wall of text. I know it is a lot and probably most of you are not really interested in reading all of this. If you did, though, you have my sincere gratitude for doing so. I don't know what I would do without the kind words I have received from some of you; probably have stopped a looong time ago. Thank you really much for reading, for watching and/or listening to my content. ♥ ♪