DIY Music Blog #1 – A New Thing

Hello there, fellow DIY musos, bedroom prods and home studio fans! So here’s a new thing that I’m going to try out. This is a ‘blog’ site so I thought I should actually do some actual blogging after all… As I’m always working on one musical thing or another I think this will be a good way for me to keep track of what I’m doing whilst also imparting any nuggets of knowledge I come across in the process. I’ll attempt to do this every week or so.

Hopefully you will find this both interesting and useful, but feel free to tell me if you don’t. As this is the first of these regular blog posts I’ll try to write and overview, covering a few general things, and get us up-to-date.

The DIY Music Website

If you’re reading this then you already know that this website exists. I started this site on the 25th or April 2015, just over three months ago. I’ve since published 27 articles, including a number of FL Studio articles and tutorials and home studio gear reviews, among other things. So far I’ve been getting very encouraging feedback but have also taken on board the occasional bit of criticism which will definitely help when writing new posts.

The plan is to continue writing and recording the FL Studio tutorials, which have proven very popular. I also intend to add more useful info to the gear articles as well as write a few more and tie them all together with an overarching ‘home studio gear’ page. This all takes time, of course, so watch this space.

Running in parallel with the website I also have my Facebook page, Twitter account and YouTube channel which have been growing in numbers of fans, followers and subscribers. All very encouraging at this early stage. Please check them out and sign up if you find them interesting. I’ll also be writing about various other relevant stuff as I go along.

New Facebook Groups

I am a member of various Facebook groups, some very useful, some not so much. I really do value communities of people involved in similar things and love sharing knowledge with and learning from the others in these groups. However, I felt there were a couple of specific needs that none of these groups were completely providing, so I set up some of my own. These have been growing in numbers of members and seem to be fulfilling their purpose so far. I like the idea of having groups for very specific reasons, as you’ll see…

I have an FL Studio Questions and Answers group. The main difference between this and other FL Studio groups being that it is literally only for asking questions and sharing solutions about the software, and nothing else. The other groups are fun and can be useful but you do have to deal with quite a bit of irrelevant junk. Hopefully this group will be much cleaner and therefore very valuable to it’s members.

I’ve also set up a Feedback for Musicians and Producers group. I figured there was a clear need for this kind of group from the amount of people asking for feedback on their tracks in other groups. This one again is very specific in that the only thing you can post is a single piece of music so other members can comment with constructive feedback.

Then for everything else I’ve created a DIY Music group. This one’s just a free-for-all. Anything related to DIY music, bedroom production or home studio stuff is allowed.

Between these three groups I’ve already seen a nice community start to grow with people learning and collaborating as well as sharing some great tips and tunes. Feel free to join in.

Recording GeezaPunx

The most recent recording project I’ve been involved in which isn’t my own was the recording, mixing and mastering of the latest GeezaPunx release, ‘Angry EP’. This is the second time I’ve worked with this band, which was put together by my good friend and fellow home-studio fanatic, Neil Duncan.

Neil has in his basement a proper DIY studio which is known as The Dungeon. Down there he has a drum-kit and numerous amps, mics and cables, and it’s where I learned a lot of what I know now about recording, and I’m still learning. I’ll always be tremendously grateful to Neil for letting me use the Dungeon on his and other projects. It’s always good fun working with him and the band too.

This was the third time I’ve tracked a full band in The Dungeon, though I’ve mixed a few recordings that I wasn’t involved in tracking. Actually being there to track is really useful as I can ensure that the mics are set up as I like them and check the takes before signing them off. I expect I’ll work this way again on future projects.

We got all the tracking for four songs done in one day. I did all the mixing and mastering at home and the band and myself were really pleased with the results. The only thing I would really have done differently would be the kick drum mic setup. At the time I thought I had decent recordings, having tested a couple of takes beforehand. But it seems the actual takes were played louder than the tests and needed a lot of work in the mixing stage to tidy up.

So one lesson learned is to always test your mics with the source at full blast.

Humjunkie and Frank Insomnia

Finally, I do actually produce my own music too! I don’t generally stick to one style and create rock/metal/indie ‘band’ type music with real instruments as well as more purely electronic EDM and ‘pop-ish’ music, sometimes mixing the two. Usually I’m just mucking about and enjoying myself making noises but I do have plans to release some finished songs under two different names, Humjunkie and Frank Insomnia.

The Humjunkie stuff is mainly electronic, mostly synths and programmed drums, with some real vocals. I’ve already started ‘releasing’ finished tracks on Soundcoud here. Eventually I’ll collate the best ones into a début EP or album and release it properly on Bandcamp. But in the meantime I find SC is good to share, get feedback and gain fans. I have a new track nearly finished which will be out very very soon…

Frank Insomnia is taking more time to get to a stage where I feel like making it public. I’ve not even really worked out exactly what Frank Insomnia is just yet… It definitely has guitars in it. It’s a sort of mish-mash of all my favourite styles of rock and metal. It’s pretty heavy in places. However, I’ve not totally nailed a vocal style or decided if I’ll sing at all just yet. I’ve got a few songs in the works and when I am happy that I’ve finished something I’ll unleash it on the world and hopefully it will be awesome. So look out for that.

Thank You!

Really… The best thing about developing this site has been the great response I’ve been getting from those of you who are reading my posts and watching my videos or interacting with me on social media. When I started I didn’t really know what to expect but so far this has grown faster than I could have imagined.

So I’ll end this first proper blog post by saying “thank you” for being there and taking notice of my stuff. I really appreciate it. There’s much more to come. 🙂

Thanks!

– Stu

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