When does 'jamming' become 'writing'?

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tioJim
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When does 'jamming' become 'writing'?

Post by tioJim » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:56 am

I do this a lot ...

[jamming]

"Ooh yeah, this sounds good/feels great!"

[continues jamming]

"Oh man, I dig this."

[deep in the zone ... until ...]

"This could make a great track. I should record it."

[falters ... practical thoughts intrude into process ... ]

"Can't just keep doing this though. Need a B part. What about drums? What about ..."

[sound of car tyres screeching on roadt]

"What about that bit I played a few minutes ago, what was it?"

[sound of building collpasing]

"Oh balls, where's the groove gone. Where was I? Gah! All is lost!"

[wanders off and watches TV]

So ... how do you turn 'jamming' into something more permanent that leads to completed tracks?

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naturligfunktion
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Post by naturligfunktion » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:59 am

Practice to make a habit of recording your jams. The important thing is that you are really comfortable with the session being recorded, which is why you should make it a habit. After a while it will be second nature to press record before any jam starts. By doing this you remove the whole "oh I should record this!" replacing it with "that sounded nice, let's hear it again!"

After that it is really just a question of choosing the best bits and then layering with more sound to taste. Some prefer it loose, I like it a bit more structured, but that is up to you.

Some tips:

1. Make sure to tune everything. Otherwise it will be difficult to layer with more instruments later on. (again, many prefer not to tune, so this is up to you);
2. Get your levels right. It is a real pain to record a great jam only to realize that the levels are terrible and that everything sounds bad;
3. Multitrack if possible (also a preference really..)

Personally I do this a lot, but I focus more on a good patch. If a patch sounds nice and is playable, I try to record several different takes in different tempos etc. Then I layer with more, figure out some harmonies, a sense of progression, melodies, basically anything that fits the general asthetic of the track. Sometimes I end up only using one thing from the initial jam, other times I only add a melody.

This is a fun way of making tracks, so I hope this help in your musical exploration :)

:sb:

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Post by Technologear? » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:29 am

Yes to what naturligfunktion said! Especially 2.
Recording into the jam (rec on before it gets good) rather than jamming into recording is way better. If you forget, get good at picking the moment just as the jam gets good, and quickly press record before you get deep into it. If it's a good jam you'll forget that your recording.

Hide the red record light (cover the light with something, turn the screen off, etc) as you get used to recording.

My improv buddies and I now have a process where we do a 'pre-jam', where you just find a few sounds that have clear potential, then leave it until Go time. We each scan what one another is doing during this phase and interrupt one another with 'stop, leave it, that'll work' before the jam part can start and before that potential is lost by too much wiggling. Once everyone has their sounds/patch/sequence, we pause for a minute then go straight into jam recording. Sometimes we walk away and have a drink/dinner, leaving it all paused, especially if setup etc took a while. Works for us.

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cptnal
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Post by cptnal » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:12 am

Absolutely to all of the above. But see the guy who says this:

"Can't just keep doing this though"

...get rid of him. He's bringing you down. :deadbanana:

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TheRosskonian
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Post by TheRosskonian » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:25 am

cptnal wrote:Absolutely to all of the above. But see the guy who says this:

"Can't just keep doing this though"

...get rid of him. He's bringing you down. :deadbanana:
Very good point. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield covers this topic in depth, but basically, you have to not let your mind get in the way of creation.

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Post by Torn n Frayed » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:08 pm

TheRosskonian wrote:
cptnal wrote:Absolutely to all of the above. But see the guy who says this:

"Can't just keep doing this though"

...get rid of him. He's bringing you down. :deadbanana:
Very good point. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield covers this topic in depth, but basically, you have to not let your mind get in the way of creation.
"Create like a child, edit like a scientist..."

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cptnal
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Post by cptnal » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:34 am

Torn n Frayed wrote:
TheRosskonian wrote:
cptnal wrote:Absolutely to all of the above. But see the guy who says this:

"Can't just keep doing this though"

...get rid of him. He's bringing you down. :deadbanana:
Very good point. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield covers this topic in depth, but basically, you have to not let your mind get in the way of creation.
"Create like a child, edit like a scientist..."
...and, when the mood takes you, edit like a child too. :cloud:

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tioJim
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Post by tioJim » Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:07 am

cptnal wrote:Absolutely to all of the above. But see the guy who says this:

"Can't just keep doing this though"

...get rid of him. He's bringing you down. :deadbanana:
LOVE THIS! :hail:

Thank you for that, screw that guy indeed!
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield covers this topic in depth,
Love SP, have read loads of his stuff recently
"Create like a child, edit like a scientist..."
Also great!

Thanks guys/gals, very inspiring/great advice

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naturligfunktion
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Post by naturligfunktion » Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:35 am

cptnal wrote:
Torn n Frayed wrote:
TheRosskonian wrote:
cptnal wrote:Absolutely to all of the above. But see the guy who says this:

"Can't just keep doing this though"

...get rid of him. He's bringing you down. :deadbanana:
Very good point. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield covers this topic in depth, but basically, you have to not let your mind get in the way of creation.
"Create like a child, edit like a scientist..."
...and, when the mood takes you, edit like a child too. :cloud:
I very much agree :D

The most important thing, I find, with music is that it is so FUN! It is really a great way to spend the time

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joeTron
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Post by joeTron » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:01 pm

Here's what works for me and I know it won't work perhaps for most.
Pencil and paper ! Especially if your a musician, but you don't have to be.
Just be familiar with an important but simple concept in music theory: SONG FORM. example: Intro-Verse-Chorus-Verse 2-Chorus-Vamp out

Or more traditionally: Intro-A-B-A2-B-C

You don't have to stick to it religiously but have that in mind while jamming, then be prepared to do some MAD audio editing later (there's the real sweat and toil but at least you'll have material to finish).

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Noodle Twister
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Post by Noodle Twister » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:56 pm

I have an audio interface and sadly I haven't even plugged it in to test it despite having had it for months as I've been busy building modules.

I feel as if I'm more or less where tioJim is at with the first post.

The tip to get the levels right .. Is this taken care of to some extent by the audio interface ?

I also have no external mixer. Am I ok to go from modular to audio interface, to USB, to computer and record ?

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ignatius
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Post by ignatius » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:04 pm

always be recording. the jam is the magic bits. then you can just keep recording all the time and go back and edit out the good chunks when you feel like it.

multi-tracking all the parts helps.. or at least enough parts to give you some control. i've made plenty of songs out of 4 or 5 multi-tracked modular things.

but yeah.. my rule is.. always be recording. i have tons of things that are like 30 minutes long. it's really freeing to record a lot.. you get the nuggets of your path and then you can just turn the knobs and see where it goes and sometimes that's better than what i started with.

always. be. recording.

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naturligfunktion
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Post by naturligfunktion » Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:17 am

Noodle Twister wrote: The tip to get the levels right .. Is this taken care of to some extent by the audio interface ?
It is determined by how loud the incoming signal is. This can be controlled by the audio interface, as it can increase the incoming signal. You can also lower it from the source. Modular signals are quite hot. If you also are plugging in a guitar or a drummachine, these signals may need more amplification than the modular ones.

Be advised that I am not an expert. There are plenty of people on this forum that know way more on this than me.

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Noodle Twister
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Post by Noodle Twister » Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:07 pm

Thanks naturligfunktion and everyone. Some good information in this thread.

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Post by Panason » Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:31 am

Almost never , in my case. I keep thinking to set up my system so that I can always record what I'm jamming on but the thought of having to edit the recording after always puts me off. Also, I get performance anxiety as soon as I hit Record, and it's never as good....


I am trying to come up with a way to jam live without it needing a lot of editing work after and without it being really basic but the limitations of pattern based sequencers are a big hurdle. I will eventually overcome if I manage to find the time and energy....

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Post by spew_boi » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:26 am

Any time I build a decent patch or sequence, I stop what I'm doing immediately, set up my interface and Ableton and start recording. I try to treat it very seriously in my performance but also I am kind of just seeing what happens. I usually end up playing for 5-7 minutes, quickly mix it and export it into a folder. Occasionally I go through the hours of music and try find good moments and see what can happen from that.

Don't put pressure on yourself, it's meant to be fun, keep it fun.
I sold my drums and three guitars just to twiddle with knobs..

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Post by RhythmDroid » Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:31 pm

1) Hit record and jam for 5 minutes
2) Listen to it and find the best part
3) Set up your machines to play that "best part" again
4) Mute everything but the kick drum and turn the cutoff on everything down
5) start recording on a fresh stereo track
6) try and build up to your "best section" of the jam, then strip back down, taking about 5 minutes
7) Listen back and see what you need to change
8) repeat steps 4 through 7 up to 3 times
9) save this recording and listen to it after a few days
10) do steps 4 through 7 again a few more times and call it done.
11) post it
12) start the next one

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Re: When does 'jamming' become 'writing'?

Post by Americangrapefruit » Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:38 pm

My rule is always be recording. When my bandmates and I get together to jam we hit record as soon as we get plugged in. It helps us forget that the red light is on. The less time you spend thinking about "the right time to press record" the more likely you are to capture some awesome stuff.

When it comes to taking the jams to the next level ("writing"), I find the real work beings when the editing starts. If you want it to be something, you have to put the time in on the other end. Sometimes it's hard to tell what you have until you really dig in. I've taken hour-long jams and gotten an album's worth of material out it. Other times all I've managed to dig out of a super long jam is a 4 minute pop song.

I have the most success when I'm patient with the process. It also helps to have collaborators who are open minded and enthusiastic. That's a rarer commodity than anything else!

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Re: When does 'jamming' become 'writing'?

Post by ersatzplanet » Fri Jan 31, 2020 5:05 pm

Definitely record everything. Have a set and forget recording setup helps a ton. Something you turn on every time and forget it's even there.

Modules like the 4ms Wave Recorder are perfect for this. It can record up to 4GB files straight to microSD cards of high grade audio, up to 96k/24-bit in stereo. The recording times vary based on sample rate you choose and the unit will automatically start a new file when the 4GB file size is reached (auto names sequentially). The 16GB card that comes with the unit will record 27 hours @ 44.1/16bit before filling up. You can record for days or weeks depending on sample rate and card size. The Wave Recorder can be slaved to others if you want to do more than 2 tracks at a time.

The 6HP module has a gate/trigger in to start recording so you can wire that to a power line and the unit will start recording the second you turn on your rig if you want a real set-and-forget operation.
-James

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