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Lost inspiration and motivation, what now?


NeoS
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I think some of you have had the problem i have now. I totally lost inspiration on mixing / remixing. And worst of all, i can't find the motivation to remix anymore.

Remixing was one of my favorite things to do from 2004 till last year. I submitted several remixes to the panel and all got rejected. I figured i could improve as long as i kept trying. I participated in a few PRC's, remix-projects and submitted tracks to the panel.

I guess that didn't pay out, since the last remix i submitted was what i thought the best i could do, and it miserably failed. It got rejected in 2 simple posts, saying the same they do always: It didn't make any musical sense. The writing was messy, the progression lacked and the harmony was nowhere to be found. And here i thought it was a nice tune and a pretty good remix...

I'm almost done with my rant, bare with me for a little bit longer.

I really really really want to (re)mix and i really appreciate all the feedback i got from others. I just don't know what i'm doing wrong. I tried copying styles from professionals, but then i got alot of bad feedback saying it was too "cheesy". FYI, i do alot of trance and techno stuff and generally it's style isn't too appreciated. for example: I did a small contest with another remixer (Ambient) on this site. We took the same source tune and we chose the same genre. We'd see who got the best results. It was partially a collab, since we helped each other on the go. Finally we submitted both tracks and waited for them to be judged. Ambient got a killer track and got it accepted. Gratz on getting it YES'd btw. Mine got killed off.

Consider this as my last cry for help. I actually don't have time to do any mixing, but with the right motivation i think i could try again.

I hope some people can relate to this post and maybe it helps other who feel the same way.

To give you an idea of what tracks i remixed, visit my page at www.djneos.tk.

I'm sorry for being a whiner, but i had to get this off my chest.

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All I can say is, sorry man. Come hang out on the WIP board, dunno if you've been there. Come listen to other people's wips, let them know what they're doing wrong. Just because you're not doing it right doesn't mean you can't hear what's wrong in a piece you're not making yourself. It's a great way to learn how to listen to your own tracks, and might get you some inspiration too.

(What's this doing in tutorials?)

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Hey dude you got a lot of good music, don't get me wrong but for me here is the main thing that stuck about that post.

"I tried copying styles from professionals"

This is def something to do if you are starting out, bc it helps you identify how to recreate your favorite music. But you def aren't a begginer. This might sound strange and is def not true for everyone. For me I started to make OCR quality music when I stopped trying to make OCR quality music. For me trying to meet not only my own high expectations but those of OCR really killed my creativity and drive. I started making music that I had a strong emotional attachment to and made the songs how I wanted them to sound. My inspiration, creativity, and quality went to another level.

I think you've been around music long enough you don't need a ton of feedback to know how to make your songs sound good. In my honest opinion what would prob help you out tremendously would be to write in different styles. Seriously try to write a real orchestral remix. IMO good orchestral songs have absolutely incredible writing compared to other genres. Get some experience writing a very complex orchestral song under you belt. Then go back and make a trance song. Your view and how you look at music might completely change.

An easier exercise might be to only give youself absolute shit soundfonts. A piano, strings, bass, and some type of legato lead. Make a song only using those. If your writing is good enough you should be able to make some type of emotional impact with the music only using those elements. I bet if you took the same song and put really awesome synths and sound design behind it, it will prob be a pretty kick ass song.

The best thing to do IMO is to always find something to improve on. Find your biggest weakness musically and only focus on that for a month of two. Make that weakness your biggest strength. I promise in 6 months you will be a much better musician, and you prob have a helluva lot more fun realizing your creative ideas. Good luck dude!

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I did some mixes a few years back and they all sucked balls and got rejected. Don't feel bad. I mean, they reject 95% of the stuff submitted. Try something else for awhile, like original songs.

BTW I listened to a couple of your songs and you don't really sound like a noob. So maybe you're just approaching remixing the wrong way or not focusing on interpreting it enough.

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For me I started to make OCR quality music when I stopped trying to make OCR quality music.

Absolutely agreed. I think it's the completely wrong way to go about things if you're new or unsure of your abilities to try to write "OCR quality" music. It is my personal belief that we all have the ability to create great music, but it simply takes time to train our ears, develop our styles and sharpen our techniques to the point that other people will want to hear what we create. If you start out by trying to meet someone else's arbitrary standards (i.e. OCR's standards) you're effectively attempting to bypass some of that learning process by attempting to adhere to the style and/or techniques of those standards. While I think this can be good if you're really close to those standards in terms of ability, if you're not quite there yet then I think it makes the whole rejection process frustrating and not all that useful.

For anyone who this doesn't apply to, great. But in the end I think the best motivation should come from within. Don't write for OCR. Don't even "remix" if you don't absolutely want to. Just make stuff that sounds good to you, and kill yourself to try to make it sound as good as you possibly can...then move on to the next song. Don't submit it anywhere, and don't seek approval from anyone. Learn by having fun with music, because it is virtually impossible to lose inspiration or motivation when what you're doing is truly fun for you.

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While I think this can be good if you're really close to those standards in terms of ability, if you're not quite there yet then I think it makes the whole rejection process frustrating and not all that useful.

For anyone who this doesn't apply to, great. But in the end I think the best motivation should come from within. Don't write for OCR. Don't even "remix" if you don't absolutely want to. Just make stuff that sounds good to you, and kill yourself to try to make it sound as good as you possibly can...then move on to the next song. Don't submit it anywhere, and don't seek approval from anyone. Learn by having fun with music, because it is virtually impossible to lose inspiration or motivation when what you're doing is truly fun for you.

You, my dear sir, have just hit the nail on the head. I will try and follow your advice concerning the "not submitting to anything" and just make music thing.

I think I'll seriously start looking for some pointers on how to improve my skills in making music, i.e. creating melodies and make it sound "right" you know? The problem is, when I listen to some of my stuff, I can't find the flaws in there...

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Take a short break and either listen to something of a completely different genre or multiple genres for a while. After a while, you'll start to think to yourself "I like what was done here, that sounds nice, didn't like that because..., etc..." Then, go back and listen to your tracks and you should be able to better identify what doesn't work and what does, or even how something needs to be changed. Give your ears a break from the same type of sounds.

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I totally agree about what was said about not trying to write exclusively OCR-based stuff. My abilities grew exponentially when i finally stopped trying to do OCR stuff and just played around and made little original songs. You can be pretty surprised at how well you can make a song by just fucking around.

As for inspiration, I usually go out of my way to save up for some music goody that I've been wanting for a while and then splurge for it. If you concentrate on the new tech and try to use it to the best of your abilities, it can usually completely recreate how you think of music. I recently purchased Colossus and then went to make what I now consider my best song using mainly the samples in it.

For me, experimenting with my library and layering sounds can usually give me incredible amounts of inspiration. Linked to that; I don't know how you mix, but if you use loops and pre-made stuff, just go out of your way to create something like what you would use a loop for out of your own layered samples. That gives me a lot of inspiration and makes me prouder of the songs i make.

Also, I think your bigger problem might be that you're trying to submit trance music to OCR; trance music has to be incredibly well-produced and varied enough from the trance-standard arrangement to even be considered. For a lack of a better analogy, its like being the star of a high-school team and then competing at the Olympics. Try making music out of your comfort zone that doesn't really adhere to any standards other than a simple arrangement base. Even if you absolutely love trance/techno and are not so keen on other genres, making something like happy hardcore, country, or rap (ewww on all for me) can at the very least be fun and you can see music from a totally different perspective.

Hope this helps!

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Well, I joined this forum in early 2004. This coming leap day marks my 4 year anniversary as a member of the forums/site. I once attempted a failed remix collab in early 2005 (http://www.ocremix.org/forums/showthread.php?t=2599). I then helped Aetherius start up the Link's Awakening project. I then took an 18 month break from the site. Lost inspiration, really. Then I came back. Just for the hell of it. Since I've come back I've attended two meetups, (VGL and MAGFest). I am now working on the SM64 project, and have a couple remixes that I'm working on.

In the news of non-OCR related stuff. I was a member of, and am now an assistant director of my (old) high school's marching band and drumline. I write, arrange, and teach music to students. I had lost a lot of inspiration because at first, the reason I made music was to get it posted to the site. Now I come here, mostly just hang out on the forums and chat, and make music for my own enjoyment, and a project. If there's one tip that should go to newbies, it would be that you shouldn't come here and remix music specifically for the purpose of getting music posted to the site. Make music for your own enjoyment. Submit it if you want.

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I think we all go through different periods in our creative lives. Sometimes we need something new, sometimes we need to go back to our roots, sometimes we just need a goal to work for, and sometimes we just need to make music to see what it becomes.

I found that I'm currently in the state where I have loads to gain by learning how to produce music that'll get accepted on ocr. You're probably in a different state. I agree with the advice given, read it all and try it out. :D

Good luck!

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The problem is, when I listen to some of my stuff, I can't find the flaws in there...
That's ok, it all comes with experience. Even if you don't hear any flaws in song after song that you make, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't improve after enough practice and repetition.
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I don't think music has anything to do with inspiration.

if you have the motivation then do it, when you don't, then don't. Music isn't like a sport, you don't have to always make music to keep the same skills sharp. they're in your head for good.

Musical technique can disappear faster than muscles atrophy. Don't let your skills slip away thinking that it's just like riding a bike. From personal experience I can say that it's not.

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I don't think music has anything to do with inspiration.

Define inspiration. Don't you need musical ideas to create music? Do you honestly think most music is created by trying random sequences of notes and listening if they sound good?

if you have the motivation then do it, when you don't, then don't.

What if you're tone-deaf, what if you don't hear musical ideas in your head all the time? Don't assume that it's easy for everyone just because you might have a certain degree of musicality.

Music isn't like a sport, you don't have to always make music to keep the same skills sharp. they're in your head for good.

I beg to differ. It takes time to learn to create music if you're starting from scratch and it's naive to think you can take a few years off and start again with making music of the same quality/quantity as before.

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Define inspiration. Don't you need musical ideas to create music? Do you honestly think most music is created by trying random sequences of notes and listening if they sound good?

What if you're tone-deaf, what if you don't hear musical ideas in your head all the time? Don't assume that it's easy for everyone just because you might have a certain degree of musicality.

I beg to differ. It takes time to learn to create music if you're starting from scratch and it's naive to think you can take a few years off and start again with making music of the same quality/quantity as before.

I agree to some extent, music is a beautiful art yes, but it can only go as far as the ears can.
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What if you're tone-deaf, what if you don't hear musical ideas in your head all the time? Don't assume that it's easy for everyone just because you might have a certain degree of musicality.
I agree to some extent, music is a beautiful art yes, but it can only go as far as the ears can.

Beethoven, 1814. Just sayin'.

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Beethoven, 1814. Just sayin'.
A person who is tone deaf lacks relative pitch, the ability to discriminate between musical notes.

Beethoven definitely WASN'T tonedeaf. Even though he was deaf in the conventional sense of the word, I'm quite sure he was able to hear the music in his head before writing it down, thus still being able to translate the tones he heard in his mind onto paper, which can of course only be achieved by being able to discriminate between those tones and name them.

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