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How long has it taken you to musically get where you are today?


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I started playing bass in 97, I was 13 at the time. A few years after that (maybe 99 or 2000) I started to make music in addition to playing it. Back then I was really interested in electronic music, and playing music and making it were actually two separate hobbies. Then at some point I grew less interested in electronic music and quite automatically the two hobbies combined. Today I hardly use any electronic elements in my music, so the making and the playing is usually the very same thing.

I submitted my first remix in 2000. It was a remix of the Megaman 2 Heatman theme. (http://www.ocremix.org/remix/OCR00145/) That was one of the first songs I've ever produced. You can actually kinda follow my progression just by listening to my remixes. The first ones are all electro and somewhere around 2003 or 2004 things start to get more "actual" instruments and stuff.

Actually when I think of it : My first contribution, EvilHorde Heatman (2000) is one of the first songs I've ever completed, and my latest remix "El Lagarto" (2008 - http://www.ocremix.org/remix/OCR01793/) is the last complete song to this day. Cool.

So, to answer the question: I started my musical hobby in 1997, and bass is still my main instrument when I make music, so I would say that it took me 12 years to get to where I am. Dang...

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I could say I started out with piano lessons imposed on me by my parents at age 8. I hated them. Maybe they were beneficial, or they worked as a deterrent for a while, I dunno.

I started playing the guitar in '01/'02, aged 15, and soon had tremendous fun doing it, and thus got reasonably good at it within 1-2 years. Played in bands for a bit but the magical chemistry didn't happen.

Then I found a crappy general midi sequencer and subsequently Fruity Loops, and found out that composing isn't all that hard (composing good stuff is though :P)

I still slightly regret that I didn't get into sequencers earlier; I was almost 18 by the time I really got into it. There's still a certain mindlessness you maintain during the earlier teenage years, and it's always interesting to see what happens when that mindset is channeled into something creative. I think the concept of sequencing would've always appealed to me, I just didn't know about it and didn't seek. Ah well :)

OCR wasn't a bad place for growth, but I took the wrong approach and tried to produce stuff to gain acceptance in the community at times, and always utterly failed right from the start. Most people would advise against this approach, but I think it works for some to motivate themselves by showing their skills to a community. Not for me though, in the long run. So I went back to making music for myself.

By now, I feel relaxed enough to submit something and not feel too bad if it should get rejected.

So, my generic advice would be to take things as slow as you have to and always focus on the music. Duh.

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Screwed around casually with trackers since around 1996, started doing stuff "seriously" in 1999. I wrote stuff in trackers then mixed it in external tools. By 2001 I switched to Fruity Loops and stuck with it ever since. My growth technically has felt pretty stagnant since 2005. Some people like zircon started out much later than I did and have already surpassed my technical prowess IMO, so it's clearly not something set in stone. Though I've never been able to see myself sticking to one type of music and putting it out on a label. I suppose I lack that kind of focus. Like Jaxx, I'm just having fun and won't let the OCR guidelines dictate what I want to do with my remixes.

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I love this question because I talk to so many people that say they'll never be any good, and all I have to do is link them to MY first remixes...

I started out in late 2002, but my first remix didn't get accepted on the site until July 2004 (Calamitous Judgment). If you compare that to my 2007 and 2008 remixes, like Monstrous Turtles or Nuclear Flash, it's like night and day. But the period between late 2002 and mid-2005 was where most of my growth took place, and that's after a TON of practice. I made at least a dozen remixes, four of which I submitted (and which were rejected) before I even got *one* posted...

I would think the differences are more evident to you than they are to fans and listeners since you created them. I admit that I can tell your style has evolved since Calamitous judgment. (not any for the worse mind you) I guess what I'm saying or rather asking is: What do you mean by a night and day difference? Besides Calamitous judgment being an incredible arrangement the fidelity on it isn't shabby, even if it was created 5 years ago. Calamitous Judgment is also much more of a work of art then Nuclear Flash in my honest opinion.

Interesting knowing that even you've had remixes rejected. I guess that's that high OCR standard that was mentioned earlier in the thread.

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Its taken me 6 long, ungrateful years with many false starts, unreliable partners, complete lack of any real training, autism as a learning disability, some thousands of dollars, and pretty much anything even resembling a conventional tool.

It wasn't until about this year that its finally getting somewhere. My sound quality has improved dramatically since about this time last year. I got a lot of work to do still - a game, an album i havent finished, another one, the Seiken densetsu remix project, and hell I have to buy another damn Fruity Loops, but all this on the power of will alone - thats not bad.

I'm not a David Mamet fan at all, but his credo is mine: "There is no such thing as talent, only hard work." And i can personally attest to this.

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I'm not a David Mamet fan at all, but his credo is mine: "There is no such thing as talent, only hard work." And i can personally attest to this.

I used to think the same thing, but at some time I saw a special on TV about this 7 or 8 year old kid in the UK with some type of mental condition which left him fairly unable to communicate, understand directions, and to a certain degree, function like a normal kid his age. In a car ride he was on they passed a certain bunch of buildings, and later on either that day or that week, he was able to draw the structures he saw, not very neatly, but with near perfect accuracy with respect to perspective and object placement. They showed some of the drawings he did and compared them to the real places, and while they were rough and very sloppy, they were insanely accurate to the point of being creepy.

Hard work is definitely the most important factor in improving a skill level, but I definitely believe that certain people are born with certain brain / personality conditions that make them more adept at certain things. I have a friend who can pick up and learn nearly anything technical with zero problems whatsoever, but he hasn't an ounce of creativity in him - go figure lol.

Back on topic though, I took piano lessons from a young age and after that started working on music in the early to mid '90's. For better or worse, soft synths were years away at that point, and I was pretty much limited to hardware synthesizers and raw audio recording at that point. My how the times have changed... I still barely know how to properly freeze a soft synth track, lol

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I'm not a David Mamet fan at all, but his credo is mine: "There is no such thing as talent, only hard work." And i can personally attest to this.
I loved your response to this, McVaffe... It's obviously not wrong, it just makes me want to change the quote to...
There is no such thing as talent for normal people, only hard work (unless you either are talented or have a strange disability that gives you superpowers!).
lol... Sorry, had to add that in.
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Well of course there are such things as people who just automatically "get it" right from the start and go on to do great things with it immediately - if you want to call that talent, fine - David's point (same as mine) is that you don't have to start a career at the age of 4 and parade around the Oprah circuits until your unbalanced childhood turns into a messed up adulthood to actually be good at what you do.

Fuck, who wants to be talented anyway? Those people are freaks who coast on their one skill their whole life, build an ego, and clash with reality hard when its suddenly all over. I'd rather earn it so I can appreciate what I have and still have my balance and dignity.

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Fuck, who wants to be talented anyway? Those people are freaks who coast on their one skill their whole life, build an ego, and clash with reality hard when its suddenly all over. I'd rather earn it so I can appreciate what I have and still have my balance and dignity

Well then... that's one way of looking at it.

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Fuck, who wants to be talented anyway? Those people are freaks who coast on their one skill their whole life, build an ego, and clash with reality hard when its suddenly all over. I'd rather earn it so I can appreciate what I have and still have my balance and dignity.

That seems a little generalized. People who are talented still have to work at what they do to get better. There's no way to become a good musician without earning it, some degree or another. And I know many people who, though better than everyone at what they do, can appreciate their talent and be modest about it. If you could be happy and successful while excelling at your area of expertise, why wouldn't you? Isn't that what everyone wants in any walk of life?

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I was waiting for someone to point that out :)

Anyway, I just want to take away some of the mystique of being talented. I've long hated how glorified those with natural abilities are over those who worked and willed their way to get where they are.

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I was waiting for someone to point that out :)

Anyway, I just want to take away some of the mystique of being talented. I've long hated how glorified those with natural abilities are over those who worked and willed their way to get where they are.

:smile: understandable. lol

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I feel slightly responsible for this break from the topic, so I'll try to wrap it up...

Mozart wrote his first opera at the age of 12. However, if he we're to post on this forum at the time, he'd say, "I've been playing the violin for nine years and the piano for seven. I've been listening to the best musicians in the world for my entire life. I've been writing my own compositions for 6 years, so I decided to give operatic writing a try."...

Point is like Meteo Xavier said; if your talented, great! It still takes time and work to develop that talent, though.

Can't say anything for the disabled that have some special ability to instantly understand something... They're called 'Idiot Savants' (that's the real term for them), due to their ability to perform a single task so well, yet completely lack in every other area. Bad trade off, in my opinion...

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It takes both natural ability, and the drive/opportunity to work at it to become the best.

With a little bit of luck, you have the opportunity to have both ready and available for use when you want to be the "best" in whatever it is that you do. With even more luck, you get all this through your own merit and love for whatever it is that you do well, and nothing sours.

In terms of music:

I know there are many people that were not quite as naturally gifted as some, but have worked their asses of to become respected. They have passion and they figure things out on their own from hours and hours of continuous pursuit of expressing themselves.

However for you egos out there, just consider this, IMO for every person that is famous and recognized for their talent, I think there are hundreds of people that probably have more latent abilities, that could take it all further and have more to offer, if just given a chance that you've been given.

So many people, if they had the opportunity to realize what they could do, well I think the playing field would be leveled, and slowly it is. It's really evident nowadays because of the easy access people in the modern world have to make their own music. You think you're special? There's a thousand other people doing the same thing you're doing, in their parent's basement, in their room during High School, in their first apartment while trying to raise their first child, etc. etc. I wonder if there are any grandma's with their first computer, for the first time in their lives, having ready access to express themselves through music with a touch of a mouse?

Self-discovery is a rare gift IMO, especially at an early age. I'm really grateful that I've even had this opportunity to just mess around for a few hours making some video game remix or some dinky song about groundhogs at age 27.

On the flipside, check out Youtube and type in the word "child genius"... See how many proud parents are posting videos of their special kids. Hell, just type in "genius" and I bet half of them will be children playing the piano or violin, or recognizing flashcards while eating a cookie.

I think it's even rarer for natural ability to not spur a parent into an overzealous rage over their "special" child's abilities, and I don't know which is sadder, pushing your kid into a life where his only merit is his talent, or letting talent go undiscovered. Both suck!

SO yeah, what I mean is, I think it takes a mixture of luck, talent, and opportunity to be the best, and I think it practically takes a miracle for the recognition, and the ability to survive all that comes with it without going insane.

the end

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Now that is very interesting, as I actually read an article the other day about parents raising children with huge amounts of talent in a certain area. Kids who are praised for their intelligence and talent tend to devalue effort in what they do, and, when faced with a challenge that they can't overcome solely on natural talent, they assume that they simply cannot do it.

This is why, in my opinion, effort and hard work are more important than natural ability. If your success stems from effort, then you have a variable that you can control yourself, rather than being dictated by natural skill.

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This is why, in my opinion, effort and hard work are more important than natural ability. If your success stems from effort, then you have a variable that you can control yourself, rather than being dictated by natural skill.

And yet, it seems that the talented people always get farther than the hard-working ones. :-(

I agree though. I'd rather be that guys who worked hard to get somewhere, than that prick who feels like he deserves to be there.

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And yet, it seems that the talented people always get farther than the hard-working ones.

Try as I might, I can't think of many occurences of this happening. Usually talented people end up doing things that are either not what they were put on the planet to do or squander it specifically.

Take me for example. I work in advertising. I only work in advertising because professional Paladins no longer exist and therefore cannot get insurance coverage.

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I love this question because I talk to so many people that say they'll never be any good, and all I have to do is link them to MY first remixes...

I started out in late 2002, but my first remix didn't get accepted on the site until July 2004 (Calamitous Judgment). If you compare that to my 2007 and 2008 remixes, like Monstrous Turtles or Nuclear Flash, it's like night and day. But the period between late 2002 and mid-2005 was where most of my growth took place, and that's after a TON of practice. I made at least a dozen remixes, four of which I submitted (and which were rejected) before I even got *one* posted...

I would think the differences are more evident to you than they are to fans and listener's since you created them. I admit that I can tell your style has evolved since Calamitous judgment. (not any for the worse mind you) I guess what I'm saying or rather asking is: What do you mean by a night and day difference? Besides Calamitous judgment being an incredible arrangement the fidelity on it isn't shabby, even if it was created 5 years ago. Calamitous Judgment is also much more of a work of art then Nuclear Flash in my honest opinion.

Interesting knowing that even you've had remixes rejected. I guess that's that high OCR standard that was mentioned earlier in the thread.

I think this was skipped over. Frankly, I would like it dignified and my interest in your response is genuine.

I apologize if I'm prodding more than I should.

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And yet, it seems that the talented people always get farther than the hard-working ones. :-(

I agree though. I'd rather be that guys who worked hard to get somewhere, than that prick who feels like he deserves to be there.

Actually, from what I've heard from some of my friends who have been involved with different companies in the game industry for quite some time, the real truth is that the hard working, less talented people get further more often than not, because they're driven and they hustle in the workplace. They've told me that they've come across a lot of people who they work with that - based solely on the quality of their work - shouldn't even hold the positions that they hold. BUT, they're very hard workers, and that even in creative fields that usually counts even more than talent (which makes sense).

I think you also have to put something else in a certain perspective - in the art and performance fields, whatever the vague notion of "better" is, isn't always best (unless it's so blow-your-socks-off-awesome that it just can't be ignored, but what is like that these days anyway?). In any creative fields your success has depressingly little to do with how good you are at something. Rather, it's typically based on if not how hard you've worked, your connections, and how much your contribution - be it talent or straight up grueling work that they want you to believe is talent to keep you motivated - can be successfully packaged and distributed to the mainstream public eager to spend money for it.

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Now that is very interesting, as I actually read an article the other day about parents raising children with huge amounts of talent in a certain area. Kids who are praised for their intelligence and talent tend to devalue effort in what they do, and, when faced with a challenge that they can't overcome solely on natural talent, they assume that they simply cannot do it.

This is why, in my opinion, effort and hard work are more important than natural ability. If your success stems from effort, then you have a variable that you can control yourself, rather than being dictated by natural skill.

QFT. Some of the musicians and writers I know are more talented than anyone else I've ever heard or encountered, but because they were brought up knowing that they were good at whatever field they're in, they brush off the amount of time and practice it takes to maintain those skills. As such, most of them will never amount to anything in their fields, and instead pick up accounting, or veterinary medicine.

It's only when you have a mix of natural talent and work ethic that it really pays off to the extent that anyone cares about. Either that, or to live on forever, you have to die horribly before anyone can really praise you.

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I think that 99% of what we recognize as talent is, as has been said, just plain hard work. The "talent" is really just the dedication to continue working at something when others would get bored or overly frustrated. People tell me I'm good at math. Well, I think everyone can be just as "good" as me if they worked as hard as me at it. Sure hard work will only get you so far, but I honestly don't think that most people go far enough in most things to run into talent barriers.

Same thing with music. I don't feel I have any special talent except for a simple love of music creation. I can't get enough of it and while other people are perfecting their jumpshot or kickflip or dancing, I'm playing with chorus plugins till 3am. Everyone has their own passions.

To answer the question, I started piano lessons when I was 5 and took private lessons until I was almost 14 when my family moved and I was forced to stop. I kept up the practice myself until I picked up a guitar in 1999 and dedicated most of my musical time to learning it. Around the same time, I bought Voyetra's MIDI-only Orchestrator music starter kit. I started messing around with that and I was instantly hooked. Orchestrator -> Orchestrator Pro -> Cakewalk Pro Audio 9 + Fruity Loops 3 -> SONAR

So, in terms of recording, I've been at this about 10 years. As OCR goes, I've never had a remix rejected, but I submitted my first one in 2005 after 6 years of recording experience and with lots of musical background.

I don't want to say that it takes years to get on OCR though. With the free stuff that's out today, you can literally download an entire musical setup in a couple of hours. With Google and forums like KVR and the ReMixing forum here, you can learn to use it in a few weeks. Then, with the great presets out there you can throw something together that is AWESOME in a few days. Just takes creativity and a lot of hard work.

Now is a great time to be getting into music creation.

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