Hello, friends! Today’s article is a little different; I have had a tough time trying to express what I want to convey without sounding jaded, bitter, or negative. Or at least in a way that could be taken as such. After all, sometimes what could be seen as jaded or bitter could simply be a viewpoint based on some less-than-typical experiences. However, who is to say there is nothing to learn from that? Is there nothing to learn from both your fans and your critics? Perspective is a crucial key to staying on the direction for the message you want to convey with your art. This article is going to dive into some of that; I hope you enjoy it.
The concept of proper perspective, amongst other things, includes being able to take your personal bias out of the equation when focusing on whatever objective or goal one is trying to achieve. This happens to be very difficult to do when you put such an emotional attachment into your music. In fact that first article I wrote, where I quoted Ira Glass, promotes the concept of proper perspective in the sense of improvement over time and not overnight. However, with proper perspective you start thinking in a practical way towards how you can eventually achieve or exceed the goals you set for yourself. After all, there is a reason many have passed around the saying, “it took me ten years to become an overnight success.” That said, I wouldn’t get your hopes up about becoming rich and famous off of chiptune. While gaining popularity, this is and will likely always be a very niche interest and ultimately a labor of love. You can assume that for every ten fans of chipmusic, there are easily one-hundred-thousand fans of typical EDM genres, or metal, or reggaeton.
All the same maybe your goal is to just be capable of producing a really solid, powerful album of music that really speaks out to you. Maybe your goal is to use it as a stepping stone towards an eventual career in music? Maybe you are not the one making music, but perhaps creating visuals; would your goal be creating visuals that fit each artist’s set with the perfect aesthetic? Perhaps you want to create a visual landscape not previously explored in chipmusic? Whatever goal you may have, there are always sequential steps required to actually achieve said goal. Do you need to buy equipment? Do you need to learn to play in a specific scale? Do you need to learn some new software? Make new connections? Learn how to network? Figure out what those steps are, and then figure out what you need to do to achieve each step along the way. As much as it is important to build the product or service you are providing or selling, it is also important to learn and build the demand for your product. A powerful service or product will provide plenty of demand once it has been exposed to the right audience, and sometimes people from that audience will use their word of mouth to like-minded friends and associations to give your product or service their attention.
You may wonder what constitutes as a powerful product; most often do. The first thing I would suggest to the aspiring artist is to learn who is already making the kind of music you want to create, and try to figure out what they’re doing right. Many artists come to understand or learn to imitate various things in music, from the form and structure to dynamics and production techniques. See what you can learn and create, and experiment with all of it often. If you go in with only the bare minimum of what people like, how can you expect them to tell others about how they enjoyed your music? The same concept of observation and critical analysis is a solid way to learn to understand your potential audience or market.
When you start figuring this out and start writing songs, you should actively plan out your next album. What kind of theme do you want to convey? What kind of emotions? Are you making a super-good-happy-feels kind of album, or are you making an album that makes people want to cry at the end? Is there any other artists you can think of that have achieved the kind of sound you’re looking for? Will these sounds all fit together? Whatever it may be, the stronger the theme connects between each song, the more powerful the message of the album becomes. While versatility is important to learn and improve, an album of varying genres only applies to a little bit of everyone, and when you’re making a niche form of music as it is, you can only imagine how few people will react to your music.
Tying it back together; if you are feeling less confident about your work, there is always a different perspective you can try to think about when you aim to improve. Sometimes, we just happen to be too hyper-focused on specific details to see the bigger picture (or vice-versa.) See if someone else has an idea of what you need to fix, or better, what could be missing. Forums can be good for this, but remember that if you ask for the constructive criticism, it is your responsibility to try it and respond accordingly (barring troll suggestions, such as “you need to clean your pins, soak the console under hot water for an hour and then give it a shot.”)
I hope this has provided enough perspective on the subject of direction. The next article or two may end up being some reviews, so in the meantime feel welcome to ask me questions, or ask about certain topics you’d be interested in me covering. After all, I can only guess on what you may be interested in hearing about for so long, right? Happy creating, friends; I’ll see you in a bit.