I buy, therefore I can

In the world of music, loops are everywhere, you use a looper to record layers of performances, you can use loops of MIDI information or audio for song construction, you even use a loop button in your sequencer or DAW to work on or listen to a particular section of your composition, the most dangerous loop though is the "I buy, therefore I can" loop.

Buy things = Make music, rinse, repeat, fail

For some reason as a musician I believed that the more I bought, the more music I would make, shit yeah, I always got a boost of creativity every time I bought a new bit of music making gear, I was like a junkie with his fix, every time I got a fix it would last less and less, then one day the finality of being a burnt out old junkie kicks in and I got no inspiration at all from new purchases, at this point I had to take a good long look at my own dumb ass and decide if I enjoyed making music at all or just enjoyed buying stuff, I made it out the other side of cold turkeBay and still want to make music, congratulations, I just took the red pill, and I am free from the purchasing loop and can make some friggin tunes.

I really should use.........

Here's where shit got real, I decided to stop buying, but I still have all this gear to use, now all of a sudden I can't work because everything is more complicated than it should be, I have a keyboard plugged in to a sequencer that is plugged in to some synthesisers because "I had to have real analogue" and a hardware mixer because "I can't mix properly in the box" all this crap everywhere and I fell in to the mindset that I should be using that gear because it is there, the guilt trip of not using it is busting my nuts, in reality I became a gear collector and most of that stuff is less useful than I thought it was, slows my workflow to a crawl and just makes my music making so cumbersome that I simply can't be arsed at all, I have gone from Buy things = Make music to Too much stuff = Too much work, I have found the second most dangerous loop in music.

What do i do ?

I started out with nothing more than an Amiga 500 and Octamed and would write at least one song a day, I first added a crappy Seck 24 desk and still wrote at least one song a day, but then it didn't feel right having an extra 22 channels on the desk, so all my wages were saved up and i bought a Kawai PH50 keyboard, and my song writing went to about one song every two days, but obviously I needed more external equipment because the 4 note polyphony of the Amiga sampling was not enough, more saving was done, next came the DR550 Drum Machine, we could carry on here and this would be about 24 hours to read the blog post for what ensued in the following years, but non of us want that so I shall shorten the tale, from moms shed, to first studio, to second studio, to first studio that I produced others music, to three more studios producing others music, all bigger and better and more more more, till the point when I was lucky if I wrote one song per month, all the very best equipment in the world was on tap, but I was not writing songs, it was easy to blame lack of time, but the truth only became obvious when I finally decide to get rid of my last studio.

I immediately assumed that I would be writing songs straight away because i wasn't recording other people, nope, nothing changed, I bought new samplers and new synths, nothing, until I started selling all that stuff and bought an iPad to just see me through until I decided on my next set up, all of a sudden I was writing music again, freely entering fun online beat competitions and making releases again too, at that point the Buy things = Make music loop became clear and I took the red pill, don't get me wrong here, I buy plenty of apps, but that is more to do with supporting the developers on the platform like you would buy somebody a drink for playing a little guitar for you or such, and most of those apps i never use anyway, but I never need to buy something to inspire my creativity, it is nice to be free.

No gear = Make more music ?

I would be a complete tit to suggest that getting rid of all your gear will make you a better musician or more productive musician, and while I may be a complete tit I am not going to suggest that, it worked for me, but what works for you works for you, what I am suggesting is that every now and then you come up for air and take a quick look to see if you are using everything, is it worth the space it is taking up, is it time for it to move on.


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