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Stevo's Newbie Guide to OverClocked ReMix

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Ok, as a guy who larry has named as getting rejected a large amount of times before getting posted, I thought I might make a post about the process of how I got to the point of having 25 mixposts on OCR (and more coming! :D) It might help you guys figure out how to help yourselves here...

Ok, so I got to OCR after some success on youtube with my remixes, my subscribers had told me to come here and get mixes posted. So first thing I did, I submitted this:

. Now, I waited 5 months for a response, thinking that the site just didn't function with the judges panel for a while, when I finally got a rejection, which basically said everything was wrong with my remix.

Now, first things first... don't do what I did, don't submit to the judges panel blindly. The standards are a little specific and even if you're an experienced musician with good production skills, that doesn't guarantee you to get past the arrangement standards. Unless you're a talented guy with good production skills and a lucky arranging style that fits with the criteria of OCR, you're going to get rejected first time.

So I submitted blindly again, and got an instant rejection in the form of an email. Now I got a little annoyed at this, and one thing thats very important is that if you want to become an OCRemixer... getting a grudge against the judges is not the way to do it. Don't ask me why, but anyone who does, just doesn't improve their craft in the same way as others... maybe thats why they get disillusioned (its not easy to get posted folks) but blaming the judges for doing their job really isn't the way to go :)

So I decided to head to what is now the Workshop forum, to post my remixes there for quick feedback, which is what ALL of you should do from the start because its not only a good place to learn, but its a good place to find out what the judges look for without waiting 5 months for a response. Now, I updated a fair few of my older remixes, but they just weren't cutting the mustard apparently so I started one from scratch, getting feedback as I went along, and I came up with my first mixpost, Mountain Of Dreams. Now, this is what I started with: http://tindeck.com/listen/qwwj. The WIP forum helped me get it to the point of the OCRemix version.

So through them I got my first OCRemix. Its the way forward folks, the WIP forum. Now, once you've got your first mixpost, don't get cocky, you'll get rejected again for sure. Chances are your first mixpost was a fluke (like mine) and you'll get about 5 or so rejections at least before you start to do stuff constantly over the bar. You'll get there tho, with practice.

Use the knowledge available here to you, I joined OCR at the same time I joined university and I learnt more here than I did there. Not kidding. Its a gold mine of music technology teaching basically, and if you use it well, you'll go above and beyond OCRs calling :D

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As someone who a few weeks ago got his first really hard mod-review rejection :tomatoface: in the WIP forum can only say, don't give up and listen to the advice. The judgement may be hard, but it never occured to me that it was unfair.

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Thanks Stevo for the answer. I am starting to experiment with Reaper and I hope to post a WIP in the Workshop sometime "soon"!

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Me, two years ago: " I WANT TO LEARN HOW TO REMIX LIKE YOU FOLKS AND GET POSTED!"

Me, a month ago: "Dear god, I've never submitted anything.."

Me, now: "I want to lay down a drum pattern that doesn't sound like an autistic monkey is playing it."

I'm fairly certain that an autistic monkey would lay down a better beat than I.

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So first thing I did, I submitted this:
.

Not to be a wiener, but you should totally remake this, with actual rock in it, like rhythm guitars! Panned both ways! And it'd be awesome.

I'm fairly certain that an autistic monkey would lay down a better beat than I.

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Are you trying to run the actual address of the IRC server in a browser window, or are you saying your computer can't access the java applet that is hosted for connection to the OCR IRC? If its the former, that's likely not going to work in any browser. You need a client, like mIRC or XChat2 or even Pidgin, to connect to an IRC server and then select a channel or channels to talk in. If it is the latter, not sure but maybe your ISP is blocking the protocol.

That probably sounds like technological mumbo-jumbo, but the bottom line is if you can't connect through the applet in the browser, you need to get a client program and connect through that. There's a few guides on the web for connecting to IRC, depending on the program you use. I recommend using XChat 2, which has a free Windows port and a pretty good setup guide.

Question -- does the channel not work with Chatzilla? I have Chatzilla installed but I'm not sure if that could be of use.

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... don't do what I did, don't submit to the judges panel blindly. The standards are a little specific and even if you're an experienced musician with good production skills, that doesn't guarantee you to get past the arrangement standards. Unless you're a talented guy with good production skills and a lucky arranging style that fits with the criteria of OCR, you're going to get rejected first time.

I'm already deterred from submitting anything to the judges — as much as I want to, one, I know for sure they're going to turn round and say something is wrong. Two, I have the best of ideas but with all the limitations that I have, I CANNOT express them. Three, I can't even afford a studio mic. What I have now is from two years of continuous improvement — I started by recording my vocals with a phone mic. Yes, you read correctly. A phone mic. All the talent and ideas in the world are not going to help me until I'm somewhat better equipped, which I will not be in the near future.

I know this isn't taking me anywhere, but this has added to my frustration. I'm sorry.

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I'm already deterred from submitting anything to the judges — as much as I want to, one, I know for sure they're going to turn round and say something is wrong. Two, I have the best of ideas but with all the limitations that I have, I CANNOT express them. Three, I can't even afford a studio mic. What I have now is from two years of continuous improvement — I started by recording my vocals with a phone mic. Yes, you read correctly. A phone mic. All the talent and ideas in the world are not going to help me until I'm somewhat better equipped, which I will not be in the near future.

I know this isn't taking me anywhere, but this has added to my frustration. I'm sorry.

Of course they'll say something is wrong - it's what they're there for. And it's helpful. The first few times it stings, because you thought you had a great mix and hate having them poke holes in it. Once you know better, getting rejected is frustrating for a different reason: because you know you could have done better.

Use your limitations as direction. Crappy mic? Make distorted, industrial, post-apocalyptic music, or apply synth-y effects and make android music.

We all have ideas, and most of us fall short of realizing them the way they are in our heads. What's the best idea you have that you can actually make something of? Do that one. If it doesn't turn out as awesome as it is in your head, do another one. Learn something new from each attempt.

I've started over 2000 tracks. Many have great ideas in them. How many actually sound good in the state I left them in? Not many. Be less frustrated, make more music. :P

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I'm fairly certain that an autistic monkey would lay down a better beat than I.

It's all in the hips. Just swing your hips when you do your drum sequencing. It works wonders.

Forget it, I'm renting a monkey.

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We all have ideas, and most of us fall short of realizing them the way they are in our heads.

To build on this point of rozovians further, your limitations with software and hardware, or your lack of experience, can be a blessing in disguise. Confused? Well, sure Rozovian is right, we have ideas, and we do fall short of how they sound in our heads, but that doesn't mean that they sound worse than it sounded in our heads. You might end up making something more unique or interesting due to your own limitations in equipment and sound design.

Don't think about what you don't have - think about what you do have and how you can maximize the potential of what you're using.

Just listen to this:

Now, this was made for the NES as you can see, same sound capabilities, as the music for super mario bros, and the first 2 zelda games, i'm sure you know the soundtracks. Yet here, the composer decided to try and break the limitations of what he was using and it sounds incredible in its own right. Limitations force creativity - use that to your advantage.

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Really interesting topic! It’s reassuring to see veterans of OCR have begun too :)

So, 5 years? Maybe the double? Yes, we can become frustrated when, after all our efforts, we are no more able to see what to do to progress. I spend an uncountable number of hours on some mix to get a result, not good enough for OCR. At this step, I’m not able to see what I have to do to progress, the judging being often not understandable (technique notions those I don’t know).

I’d really like to know how long an experimented person can spend to get a good and proper mix. I ask this because after retouch and retouch, never getting a good result, maybe it would be reasonable to work on sthg easier or to drop it.

I recognize that I have made some progress since my register five years ago. Although it can be difficult to morally hold and to bear all these negative responses, OCR gave me the boost and the motivation to invest myself on this. So thanks for that!

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My advice would be to finish what you're working on. If you find that you've made choices early in the development - eg writing, sound design - that you can't get rid of anymore, just finish the track and move on. Maybe it won't be the masterpiece you expected when you started it, and maybe no amount of pro skill and tools could get it there without pretty much redoing it anyway.

I've sat on tracks for years, years. Dragonfood is a good example, although that one's been resurrected and rebuilt a few times in the process. Those old tracks were bad, and some stuff I make today is also bad. It can have plenty of good things (melodies, sound design, mixing things, arrangement, mood, whatever) and still be bad as a whole because something else is dragging it down.

TL;DR: If your track is bad, finish your bad track and move on. No use getting hung up on tracks that won't get any better. Make lots of music and you'll learn to avoid badness.

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Back when I started in April 2011 (so not that long ago)... yeah, I sucked. I know that now. But I still made do with what I had, which brought forth some stellar arrangements now that I can look back at them and critique more objectively than I could back then. Unfortunately, those stellar arrangements were essentially based on the fact that I used specific sounds.

Rozo is right, sometimes a mix just can't be salvaged because the arrangement is highly dependent on your sound choices at the time. I tried changing some of the instruments in my old, old Golden Sun remix which I actually still kinda like (I abused dBlue Glitch on synthetic guitar to create a neat groove, and used Harmless for synth leads), but it didn't really work because a whole bunch of mix levels, balancing, acoustics, stereo fields, and other spatial stuff changed due to the new sounds I had picked at the time to replace the older ones. So I really just find it better, if you find an old mix of yours of which you really like the arrangement, to just take it and recompose it completely from scratch following the ideas you had. That should turn out to be much easier than trying to redo something butt-old by editing directly from the old project file.

Seems like Chimpazilla and I will have our first mixpost within the realm of 2.333 - 2.833 years, depending on if it happens to be a DP or a regular old judged mix. Gario and loads of other people sure seemed happy with it. =D

Edited by timaeus222

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Seems like Chimpazilla and I will have our first mixpost within the realm of 2.333 - 2.833 years, depending on if it happens to be a DP or a regular old judged mix. Gario and loads of other people sure seemed happy with it. =D

Good luck with that, it's a nice track ;-)

I've submitted some decent songs so I hope I'll get in the front page in less than 5 years!

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My advice would be to finish what you're working on. If you find that you've made choices early in the development - eg writing, sound design - that you can't get rid of anymore, just finish the track and move on. Maybe it won't be the masterpiece you expected when you started it, and maybe no amount of pro skill and tools could get it there without pretty much redoing it anyway.

I've sat on tracks for years, years. Dragonfood is a good example, although that one's been resurrected and rebuilt a few times in the process. Those old tracks were bad, and some stuff I make today is also bad. It can have plenty of good things (melodies, sound design, mixing things, arrangement, mood, whatever) and still be bad as a whole because something else is dragging it down.

TL;DR: If your track is bad, finish your bad track and move on. No use getting hung up on tracks that won't get any better. Make lots of music and you'll learn to avoid badness.

Thanks for your advice! Yes, it's my big fault. I can hung up too much time on a mix until I get a result, even if this result don't come. So I'll try to give up more easily up and to multiply my tracks.

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I love all the advice and points of view in this thread-- I just wanted to pop in and add something I think is relevant to the discussion so far.

I've been taking composition lessons from a pretty impressively qualified composer for a while now, and he said something unexpected earlier this month. I said something to the effect that some day soon I might start to feel like a professional-level composer, to which he responded, "You never do. At no point have I ever woken up and said, 'hey! I'm a pro now! I've reached that magic level!'"

The point I'm trying to make is, you can't judge your progress or ability based on how you feel about your music or how far you think you've come. There may never be a moment where you suddenly feel like you've 'made it.'

But that doesn't mean you haven't reached, and surpassed, hundreds of personal goals and milestones on the way. I think that, above all, is a reason to keep improving, and to never be afraid to face the (constructive) criticism of other amazing music-makers.

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Thanks for your advice! Yes, it's my big fault. I can hung up too much time on a mix until I get a result, even if this result don't come. So I'll try to give up more easily up and to multiply my tracks.

What? No, that's totally depressing. Don't just give up on a track outright. Save it for later, and if you go back to it later (like a month or more later) and you like where it was, might as well recycle it and flesh it out. You don't want a bunch of unfinished tracks lying around that you aren't even planning on doing anything with. :tomatoface:

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TL;DR: If your track is bad, finish your bad track and move on. No use getting hung up on tracks that won't get any better. Make lots of music and you'll learn to avoid badness.

Hrmm? Was this real advice or did I accidentally wander onto The Onion Remix :tomatoface:

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Hrmm? Was this real advice or did I accidentally wander onto The Onion Remix :tomatoface:

It's real advice, believe it or not. Strange as it sounds, it makes sense to me. In the past I made some pretty bad stuff, and when I look back at it, I love some of the arrangements, but the sounds I chose only worked for the specific stereo field, particular velocities, EQ decisions, reverb design, the arrangement itself, etc. There are so many factors that go into writing a song that stuff back then is really hard to go back and fix, especially if "back then" is like 1+ years ago and your apparent learning speed is, say, "1.5-fold" in a year or so. ;)

Edited by timaeus222

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I'm not like other people in that, I really like my old stuff, even if it sounds bad. How bad something is, is pretty subjective. You shouldn't just drop something because you think it's bad because you'll end up not finishing anything. Something they used to tell me way back when, in a different community mind you, is that there's always someone out there who will like what you make. If it doesn't fly on OCR, then don't worry about that, and release it somewhere else. If you want to try to touch it up for OCR, you could do that too. You're not just abandoning the song, you are abandoning the practice involved with improving and finishing that song. Especially starting out you are going to need all the practice you can get. Even when you move on to more serious / pro stuff, you'll be working with stuff that isn't engineered up to your comfortable level and you can't just say "oh this is bad", you will need to be able to improve and fix it, especially if it is for a client.

Just my 2 cents. Carry on. :tomatoface:

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I'm not like other people in that, I really like my old stuff, even if it sounds bad. How bad something is, is pretty subjective. You shouldn't just drop something because you think it's bad because you'll end up not finishing anything. Something they used to tell me way back when, in a different community mind you, is that there's always someone out there who will like what you make. If it doesn't fly on OCR, then don't worry about that, and release it somewhere else. If you want to try to touch it up for OCR, you could do that too. You're not just abandoning the song, you are abandoning the practice involved with improving and finishing that song. Especially starting out you are going to need all the practice you can get. Even when you move on to more serious / pro stuff, you'll be working with stuff that isn't engineered up to your comfortable level and you can't just say "oh this is bad", you will need to be able to improve and fix it, especially if it is for a client.

Just my 2 cents. Carry on. :tomatoface:

I get where you're coming from, but I'm referring entirely to an objective view of how "bad" something is (of mine, specifically). These days, when I look back at my old stuff, I really do just think "wow, I made THIS production decision? Holy cow, I'm glad I don't do THAT anymore! :lol:".

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I get where you're coming from, but I'm referring entirely to an objective view of how "bad" something is (of mine, specifically). These days, when I look back at my old stuff, I really do just think "wow, I made THIS production decision? Holy cow, I'm glad I don't do THAT anymore! :lol:".

Haha yeah, I get that. But you are stronger for having made it / finished it, and being able to go back and look at it and say "damn, I really screwed the pooch on this one!"

Honestly, what anyone chooses to do is their own decision, if you drop something and move on to another project, there's nothing wrong with that. You can get a lot of experience and practice as long as you just keep at it, and get encouragement from your peers. I hope you don't think I came across too harsh with my 2 cents, it wasn't my intention. :-)

I still LOOOOVE listening to Trapped even though it's probably my oldest "metal" song on OCR. The setup for that song is still pretty top notch, I don't know about the EQ or production though. But like, I had the amp double-mic'd, and the engineering itself was pretty rad. The production is totally dark compared to what I do these days.

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Haha yeah, I get that. But you are stronger for having made it / finished it, and being able to go back and look at it and say "damn, I really screwed the pooch on this one!"

Honestly, what anyone chooses to do is their own decision, if you drop something and move on to another project, there's nothing wrong with that. You can get a lot of experience and practice as long as you just keep at it, and get encouragement from your peers. I hope you don't think I came across too harsh with my 2 cents, it wasn't my intention. :-)

I still LOOOOVE listening to Trapped even though it's probably my oldest "metal" song on OCR. The setup for that song is still pretty top notch, I don't know about the EQ or production though. But like, I had the amp double-mic'd, and the engineering itself was pretty rad. The production is totally dark compared to what I do these days.

It's okay, I wasn't offended! =)

"Trapped" still holds up pretty well today! You've definitely improved a bunch too, since then. ;)

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I get where you're coming from, but I'm referring entirely to an objective view of how "bad" something is (of mine, specifically). These days, when I look back at my old stuff, I really do just think "wow, I made THIS production decision? Holy cow, I'm glad I don't do THAT anymore! :lol:".

I get where YOU are coming from T, honest I do... but I have to say this, even though it sounds so cliche, but here goes: objectivity is sometimes subjective. It is different for everyone, and it is almost always a moving target (as we improve both our production and listening skills). Even someone like Deadmau5 or Hans Zimmer may see something as sounding bad a month after they do it. It's just the way it is. Give your past self a break! :-P

edit: may "hear" something as sounding bad (how can you "see" something as sounding bad? silly me)

Edited by Chimpazilla

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