Category Archives: Bedroom Producer

Internet Micro-Genres and the Over-Classification of Music Online

When I was a young lad playing music in my teens and 20s, before the Internet took over, me and the rest of my fellow musicians made music that we considered to be un-classifiable. We didn’t want to be called things like alternative, punk, grunge, hardcore, indie rock, math rock or any of that stuff. It was considered pretty lame to classify your music something and if it fit neatly into one of those categories you were doing something pretty wrong.

This is basically the opposite of what 20 somethings do with their music these days. Everything is about internet exposure, and how you get that is by manipulating and exploiting trending micro-genres, keywords, and cliques on the internet. The problem with this is a homogenizing effect on music, not just pop music, but all music. The more people try to conform to Synthwave, Vaporwave, Chiptunes, Sadcore, Trap, or whatever else, the more they just sound like everything else in that net-scene.

I’m not saying that all of the artists making music in those styles are bad, but I am saying there’s a problem with fit too neatly into categories. This is the very definition of thinking WITHIN the box. The fact that my music doesn’t really fit neatly into any category has made it very hard to market online, but also is what makes it special (at least to me).

So what can be done about this? I’m not totally sure. I have tried in the past with the blog version of my Anthill Recordings Label to help promote good music that’s hard to classify. But then I’m stuck with the task of how to market that blog itself?!

I think this is really up to the artist and their integrity. If people want to create unique and original music, they will. People that are into music just to gain a little notoriety, will most likely be concerned with fitting neatly into whatever sub-genre that want to target, and those with creative integrity will not concern themselves with this and will most likely be heard by less people. Maybe this is the new underground. 

Maybe now that this site has a bit more traction and popularity than in the past, I can use this as a place to share some hard to classify music I think is good. I’m not sure how I’ll tag it though. This is a pretty big problem it seems. I’m not the only one thinking this either. Last night I was having a discussion about this with my friend Fornax Void, and he brought up many of the points I’m making in this post.

If you feel like you’re making great music that you can’t fit into a neat category, by all means send it to me in the comments section of this post. I’d love to hear it.

Get an adjustable stereo image with Mid-Side Miking Technique

The Mid-Side miking techniqe is a very cool miking setup that will give you a way to adjust stereo image width after recording. How does it work? You only need two mics, but they have to be mics with specific pickup patterns.

The first type of mic you’ll need is any mic with a figure 8 pickup pattern. What this means is a microphone that picks up on both sides equally. The silver ribbon mic seen in my posted pics is like this. Other mics with a figure 8 pickup pattern are the Beyerdynamic M130 Double Ribbon Microphone, or the adjustable BEHRINGER C-3.

The other type of microphone you will need is any microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern. This means the microphone is one directional and picks up in a sort of heart-shaped pattern in the area in front of the microphone. Most dynamic micrphones such as the Shure SM-57, or the Sennheiser MD 421 II will work for this. You can even use a condenser mic like the BM-800 I’m using in the 3rd pic above. 

Then once you have the correct mics, you need to place them correctly. Whatever you are miking (in my examples it was drums) you need to place the figure 8 mic with one of the sides of the mic that does not pickup, so the figure 8 is horizontally placed in front of the instrument you are recording. Then you take the cardioid mic and point it at whatever you are miking and place it as close as possible to the intersection of the figure 8 pattern without actually touching the other mic. (see my example pics above).

When you open the two channels in your DAW, the first thing you will want to do is copy the figure 8 mic and put the copy on another channel. Then invert the phase of the copied channel of the figure 8 mic. Once this is done, pan the first fig8 hard left and the second fig8 hard right. Then keep the cardioid mic panned center. Keep the two figure 8 mics the same level. If you have the higher the cardioid mic is set in comparison to the fig8 mics, the narrower the stereo image will be. And likewise the higher the fig8 channels are in comparison to the cardioid the wider the stereo image will be. Some DAWs like Qtractor lack the ability to invert phase, but there’s an LADSPA plugin called inverter that you can put on the channel that will do the trick.

I’ve used this technique with great results as drum overheads, and have heard of people using it on guitar too.

5 Ways to use MIDI Pad Controllers in Linux

Pad controllers are a lot of fun to play and use for making music. They’re great for live performance, or for composing drums at home and not disturbing the neighbors or taking up space. I have one just like the one pictured above (MPD24) that I used to make many performance videos on YouTube.

If you’re on Windows or Mac, a lot of people just use Ableton Live for pad controllers. But what if you’re using Linux? What kind of options do you have for fingerdrumming? I thought I’d put together a list of a few programs I know work well with Pad Controllers.

  1. Creating your own soundfonts with Swami.

Swami is great for pad controllers because you can create very complex sample sets then save them to .sf2 files. Then you just open them up with qsynth/fluidsynth and you have an awesome standalone sample player that is fully customizable with your particular pad controller.

2. LinuxSampler

Linuxsampler is a very powerful software sample player that can load many sampler formats like sfz, GigaStudo, and sf2. It’s a bit of a pain to setup and use though.

3. AVLDrumkits

If you’re wanting to just play drums on your controller, AVLDrumKits is an LV2 plugin that has some good drumsounds. You can program your controller to a comfortable layout to play the kit.

4. Drumgizmo

Drumgizmo is another great drum sampler for Linux. There’s some very high quality drum kits available for it, and you can create your own using it’s special editor called DGEdit.

5. Drumkv1

Drumkv1 is probably my favorite option for pad controllers on Linux right now. All you need to do is drag and drop any sample into whatever slot you want to have on your controller. This makes it easy for mapping, as well as easily apply fx, filters, and LFOs to any sample. No external editor needed! Then you can save your kits and use them any time!

If you’re looking for a place to get a ton of samples, loops, and one hits, check out this page!

Why Young Creatives Should Use Linux Instead of Mac or Windows

The tutorials I’ve made on YouTube about Audacity are by far the most popular of all of my videos. I started to wonder why this was? I realized the answer was pretty simple. It’s free software that is pretty good at what it does and runs on every platform. This is why Audacity is very popular among young creative musicians. This got me thinking about how these people are only using about 1% of the amazing open source software they could be using if the were all using Linux instead of Windows or Mac OS.

If you’re a teenager and want to setup a computer to become a YouTuber, Music Producer, Film Maker, Photographer, Graphic Designer, or all of those things, doing so with Mac or Windows is going to cost you an arm and a leg. It is hardly worth spending $3000 on a Macbook, then another $3000 on software when making money in the creative landscape can be challenging, especially when you are first starting out. A much better option would be spending $500 to $1200 on a PC then install a Linux distro geared towards creativity like  Ubuntustudio. You could even spend far less than this. I personally use a 10 year old Macbook running Ubuntu and KXstudio that I purchased for $150.

If you’re a young music producer, there’s a ton of great programs on the Linux platform. There’s several DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) like Ardour, Qtractor, Rosegarden, and LMMS. There’s high end mastering tools like Jamin, and of course Audacity. There’s the Jack Audio Connection Kit, that allows you to interconnect nearly every piece of audio software into one gigantic modular audio workstation, there’s thousands of plugins, software synths, and FX all available for free on Linux.

But it’s not just about audio, Linux has become incredibly powerful as a full multimedia workstation. For photography there’s full RAW development capabilities with Darktable, and Digikam, photo editing programs like GIMP and Fotoxx. For Graphics there’s Inkscape and Blender, and for video editing there Kdenlive and Openshot. 

This is all just the tip of the iceberg too! There’s always new and exciting software being developed for Linux, there’s a huge user support group online, and there’s more and more of us who use it for everything every day!

To me there’s also ethical reasons to use Linux as apposed to the other two. Mac is one of the worst companies when it comes to planned obsolescence. Every time they release a new OS, suddenly computers they made just 4 years ago are completely useless (if you’re using Mac OS). There’s no more security updates, no updated web browsers, software companies all play along and drop support forcing you to purchase software and hardware updates. This is not only unneeded, it is incredibly wasteful. It is completely insane that we live in such a society that normalizes throwing away a computer after only 5 years of use when the only reason is corporate software developers decided they want you to buy a new one.

If you’re a young creative person, I urge you to consider what I am saying here. You can spend a lot less money, make the money you DO spend last longer, and help the environment as well has have all the tools you need for complete creative expression if you switch 100% to Linux.