Surviving “Gear Lust”
I am a regular reader of “Sound On Sound” magazine and I also like to keep myself up to date with new products and new technologies by searching on forums and other places like that. And when I finally get my Lottery win, I have pretty much already spent it with the shopping list that I have in my head! But when I really think about it, although I probably would buy all the things I want, would I really need them?
I think it is very easy, particularly when you are starting out, to feel that your work would be improved by a better thingy or a bigger collection of something-or-others. In some cases this can actually become a “mask” behind which we can hide. It’s easy to blame the equipment (or lack of it). But I think that this is often just an excuse. Of course, better tools mean that any given person is capable of doing a better job but that doesn’t mean that, just because they have the professional tools, they will do a professional job. If somebody gave me the most expensive medical tools available and then asked me to perform an operation…well…there would most probably be a funeral shortly afterwards!
A better solution in every respect is to learn to get the absolute best out of what you do have. If you only have a couple of synths (hardware or software) then rather than spend out more money on others, really push the limits of what they (and you in some ways) are capable of. Try listening to a sound that you like and then spend time trying to recreate it on that synth. You might not get it right, in fact it might be that the synth you have simply isn’t capable of doing it. But along the way you might just learn a little about the synth you have. And then, when you eventually do buy something new, you will probably be better equipped to get the most of out the new tools anyway and will get better results with those too.
These tools that we have and use on a daily basis are “friends” to us. Get to know them, learn to trust them, and remember that sometimes an old friend, while not as fun and exciting as a new one, can be the one you just might need to depend on one day.
Simon Langford, author of The Remix Manual is a professional music producer and remixer, with close to ten years of experience. He has worked on over 300 remixes, and has had tracks of his own in the UK National Top 20 Singles Chart and the US Billboard Dance Chart. Simon has remixed artists including Rihanna, Robbie Williams, Sugababes, INXS, and many more. He has written a series of articles for Sound on Sound magazine on remixing.