3 Ways To Develop Your Own Sound As A Music Producer
In today’s environment with great technology, creative high-quality plugins and affordable recording equipment, it’s easier than ever to start creating your own music. While you had to spend a fortune to book studio time back in the day, you can now literally create hit songs from your own bedroom. However, with this development, it is now more important than ever to develop your own sound as a music producer so you don’t sound just like anyone else. In this article, you will learn about 3 ways to develop your unique sound and style and stand out from the crowd.
Why Should You Develop Your Own Sound?
Let’s briefly talk about the WHY. If you want to build a career for yourself in the music industry, you just have to have something special to offer that thousands of other people don’t also have. Of course, if you just want to dabble in creating music for yourself without any intention to build something bigger, then it’s not that big of an issue. However, if you want to play in the professional game, you have to find something that sets you apart.
Imagine 20 producers, all inspired by Avicii, and by Avicii only. Chances are their productions will all sound pretty much the same. Even worse, they will not only all sound the same, but they will all sound like an inferior copy of Avicii.
In turn, if you actively work on developing your own style, you will be that one producer standing out from all the others. That’s when artists want to work with YOU, because you have something special that nobody else can offer in exactly the same way. Now, let’s see how you can actively develop your own sound.
1. Find Signature Sounds
Every song (and every artist) needs that little something that sets them apart. Think of your favorite artists, and you immediately have a picture in your mind of what they sound like.
- Billie Eilish: spooky, dark, whisper vocals
- Bruno Mars: funky, feel-good, somewhat like the modern Michael Jackson
- Led Zeppelin: raw, huge, energetic
You know exactly what you get when you push play on one of their records. And sometimes, when artists venture out too far, the reaction to their music by their fans can be brutal because the artist broke with what people fell in love with.
So, how can you find signature elements to develop your own sound if you haven’t done it yet? The easiest way nowadays is to visit one of the sample library websites and just dive into the hidden corners of their libraries.
Examples for Sample Library Websites
Browse these databases and find a couple samples that inspire you and that you think might work in your current production. Then go ahead, add them to your project and play with them. Mangle them with FX, cut, splice and move them around. The magic happens when you take them and change them up in different ways.
Remember, your goal is to sound unique. So, you shouldn’t just use a loop that anyone else can use in the same way. You can, however, take any of these loops or samples and change them up until they fit your song and sound like nothing else. For starters, just pull up the first FX plugin that comes to mind, and see what you can come up with.
2. Emulate Your Idols
At first glance, this might contradict the previous paragraph. However, there’s a big difference between plagiarizing and being inspired by another artist. On the quest of developing your own style as a producer, it can be a huge advantage to have a wide range of sources of inspiration and to be familiar with their production styles.
Let’s say your main lane is rock-influenced pop music. That’s what you like to produce and where you’re most experienced. But your music doesn’t quite have that one thing yet that would make it unique. Now is the time that you could check out some of your musical idols and see what elements in their songs always draw your attention.
Maybe you have never noticed the distorted saw basses in the early electro house tracks that you love so much. Suddenly, however, you hear them and instantly think to yourself “wow, this might just be the missing piece”. Next thing you know you put a distorted saw bass in your rock-pop-track, maybe add some vibratos and slides, and suddenly the track comes to life.
Moral of the story: analyze what your beloved artists do in their songs, and try to combine different pieces into something new. That’s how you develop your own sound through the inspiration of already existing music. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel as they say…
3. Evaluate And Compare Your Work
The last tip on this list is to constantly evaluate what you come up with. Be creative and let the process flow while you’re at it, but as soon as you have a direction, put on your evaluation hat. Do you have something unique here? Does this approach sound just like the 25 previous productions you’ve done? And how does it compare and hold up against other songs in the same style?
This evaluation process is a great way to quickly improve and develop your own sound more and more with every single track you make, instead of just wasting time and creating one track after another without moving forward.
This tip helps you develop your signature style in the way that you constantly challenge yourself. Your ambition is to always find that one unique element or combination of elements. Over time, this will make you a much more versatile producer. It might be hard in the beginning, but with every completed project, it gets easier – and your music gets better!
Develop Your Own Sound With Plugins
There’s one more way I’d like to quickly touch on because it might help you a lot. It has made a big difference for me in my productions and in the process of finding my own signature style.
I’m talking about plugins. Virtual instruments and effects. If you can find FX plugins and instruments that inspire you to create a unique vibe, then that’s a huge win. Oftentimes, it’s a unique way of combining multiple plugins. Sometimes, it’s using a plugin in an unconventional way. And the only way to find these tools for yourself is by playing around and trying different things.
That’s exactly our motivation with Mixing Night Audio as well – creating audio plugins that make people more creative. GreenHAAS for example has been built with a single goal in mind: to create unique vibes in an intuitive and playful way.
Of course, there are plenty of plugins out there that might become the holy grail for you, and the right choice also depends on what genre you’re in. However, the general idea is to just play around and have fun exploring new things. Many of those ideas won’t work at all, but some of them will…
Summary: Develop Your Own Sound As A Music Producer
The process of finding your artist/producer identity and unique style takes a lot of time. And that’s a good thing because it allows you to grow into your role and really represent it with confidence. In this article you’ve read about 3 specific ways to develop your own sound as a music producer. These 3 ways are:
- Digging for unique signature sounds
- Emulating your idols
- Evaluating and comparing your work
- Bonus: creating your unique style using plugins
Check out the following video by Ken Lewis where he goes into more detail on the aforementioned strategies. And then take these tips and let your creativity carry you to new heights!