I was poking around the internet, reading my usual spaces of record label websites, magazine/ezines, current favorite artists, soundcloud, blogs, etc etc, when I happened to get the usual advertising email from Om Records to my personal inbox. I checked it out, as I usually do, since I’m a big Om Records fan. Groove Armada has been kicking ass lately, and I’m in love with everything Samantha James releases. Then I noticed a blurb about Mike Monday and a new project he just launched. 10 songs in 10 weeks for his new, free-to-download-from-his-website album! Sweet!
I’m a casual fan of his quirky music because of the interesting bits and pieces of production that weave together to make his music. His songs feel, to me, as if I were standing in the Seattle Art Museum looking at a mixed-media piece with vibrant colors, shapes, sizes, texture, and depth. Some of it clashes, some of it is beautiful discord, and some of it is aesthetically tantalizing. By way of link-jumping from Om Records, I went to Mike’s main website over at http://www.mikemonday.com/ to check out his project and re-familiarize myself with his catalog. I was pleasantly surprised to find more content there than I was expecting.
Ever since I started making music w/my computer, I had always been pretty adept at organizing my files. Whether it be sample libraries, projects, templates, snippets, hand-recorded media, one-off art projects; it’s all organized in a file system that makes sense to my brain. Though, it has been awhile since I have really taken a good look at how I do things to see if there are ways that I can improve my workflow. I’m not unfamiliar with the idea of the musicians sketchbook, especially when it comes to file organization on the computer. Yet, something just clicked when I read this statement taken from Mike’s post about “Using a sketcbhook…”
Often the best plan is to forget them for a while by saving them in your sketchbook folder and deleting them from your work in progress folder. This is because seeing all your unfinished DAW files every time you turn on the computer is a sure way to reinforce self-doubt and an even surer way to kill inspiration.
Then I get to thinking. Currently, the bulk of my heavy lifting comes from Reason. I know it well, I’m able to produce in it VERY quickly with excellent sounding results. The “problem” which is a byproduct of being able to work quickly is that I end up with a ton of “song starts” and “ideas”. I name everything with the date first (YYYYMMDD) followed by the project title (or song title if I’m that far along in the process). They all live in a project folder called “Sliptide” on my computer under my master “Audio” folder, in “Projects”.. more clearly: drive:\Audio\Projects\Sliptide\20100714 - Getting Into Position , as an example.
This works fine for seeing the timeline of works in the file explorer, but good god— after four years of having this project folder in the flow of my various computers and back-up strategies.. I now realize that I think one of the speedbumps in my brain is the sheer size of unfinished or undesirable projects that sit in front of me every time I look for stuff to work on. I go “oh yea! that sounded awesome.. but I don’t know what to do with it yet..” or “Ah, yes.. that needs to be finished.. but I’ve got some other earworm in my head to get down into a track”… you see where this is going, yes?
So while I am very familiar with my catalog of song starts, snippets, and sketches, perhaps I should consider moving them to 1 more folder beyond my usual “in progress” thought flow. I know which songs I *want* to work on and *want* to finish soon.. the other stuff is mostly peripheral unless I need somewhere to start, or remember that I had something good going that I can come back to now that I’ve moved the current items off of my plate.
Food for thought. Thanks, Mike!
Check out Mike’s site and music