This is the first installment in a series of posts about TikTok’s best tips for indie musicians. If you don’t know already, TikTok is an ocean of amazing content for producers, songwriters, and musicians who need help with the business and promotion side of things. So to kick off this series, here are the best music production tips I’ve seen on TikTok…
Produce Music for Yourself
Every indie producer knows about Rick Rubin. If you don’t, now you do. He has some blunt advice about how to “make things that you love.” Making music you love is enough reward in itself. But if you love it, other people are bound to love it too. Keep this mindset when you’re in the studio.
Run Producer Drills
If you want to push your creativity to its limits, try what this producer calls “running producer drills.” Create for five minutes only. Then bounce it. Then start a new project and try to recreate the same exact sound. Rinse and repeat.
Vocal Production Trick
Follow this tip for a fuller vocal sound. It involves doubling your vocals and then pitching those doubles. In addition to this tip, try layering your vocals several times. So just record a new take of the same melody on a new track, then pan it to the side. Then do that several more times.
Get Ethereal Ambient Sounds
Musician and producer John Mark Nelson shows you how to use a plugin called SoundShifter to get ethereal ambient sounds in your production. You’ll also need a decent reverb plugin (he uses Valhalla VintageVerb, which I love) and EQ.
Bounce Your MIDI to WAV
Why bounce your MIDI sounds into WAV files? There are a few reasons. First, it makes you commit to the sound you chose. Second, it future-proofs your project because you may lose access to a plugin or your DAW crashes. Also, you can more easily edit and effect the sound of a WAV than a MIDI.
10 Mixing Mistakes To Avoid (Verified by FINNEAS)
You need to see this list of 10 mixing mistakes. And then avoid them. FINNEAS, producer for and co-songwriter with his sister Billie Eilish, commented on this video, saying, “I do all 10 of these things and they’re literally the secrets to my success.”
Getting a Balanced Mix
Next time you mix, turn the volume on your interface down. Then turn it down more, almost until you can’t hear the music. What elements jump out? Is everything equally audible?
It’s a good idea to make sure you can hear the vocals at this super low level. A good starting point is to make sure you can hear the vocals, kick, and snare when the mix is turned down.
Trust Your Ears the Most
Grammy-winning engineer and producer Greazy Wil makes the point that you should trust your ears. If your production sounds good, then it is good. And allowing too many cooks in your kitchen can lead you to thinking you need to change something when you don’t need to.