How Do You Do...It

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1 month 1 week ago #34 by October6th
October6th created the topic: How Do You Do...It
I'm curious to find out how people work to get the Challenge done, as this is my first one. Do you have an idea beforehand so it's just a matter of going through a list when you get going? Do you have waypoints in the month so you know you're on track? Do you just nail the door shut and don't emerge until the whole thing's in the bag? Do you not think even about it and just enjoy the journey?
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1 month 1 week ago #36 by tonyhogard
tonyhogard replied the topic: How Do You Do...It
Short answer ... yes.
However you do it is the right way to do it. Some go into the month with a detailed plan, some just wing it. You're going to discover what works for you.
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1 month 1 week ago - 1 month 1 week ago #38 by klandry
klandry replied the topic: How Do You Do...It
I have completed the Challenge a number of different ways...

My first year, I heard about the Challenge only a week or two prior to February 1st. I wrote two songs in that week or two, recorded during the first couple of days, and then embarked upon a write-it-in-the-morning, rehearse-it-all-afternoon, record-it-at-night festival leaving some time at the end of the month to try to mix it to some level of listenability.

Once I determined that the best two songs on the album were the ones I wrote ahead of time, I decided to write everything before the next Challenge started. If I remember correctly, I started writing for the next RPM the week after I submitted my album. After having met so many amazing people here through blog posts and forum discussion, I asked just about everyone to help with my second RPM. I was happy with the results (although the coordination required was a challenge, both to me and the amazing musicians I was working with).

With the end result not quite meeting my high hopes for "The Greatest Album of All Time" (entirely due to my limited abilities - my collaborators were brilliant), I asked those same people to help me with a non-RPM album that was recorded throughout the following year... So, having been completely burned out by the collaborative process, my next RPM album was an utterly stripped down one mic live album recorded in three nights. Amazingly, that album may have been the best received of all the albums I've done before or since.

Realizing how good my non-RPM album came out (mostly due to the immense amount of time spent by me and given to my collaborators), I then set out for my fourth RPM album to be "The Greatest Album of All Time." I recorded demos throughout the summer. I got them into the hands of my collaborators. I rehearsed like crazy and recorded all of my parts during the first week of February, allowing my RPM co-conspirators the flexibility to find the time to record their parts (many of which had already been demo-ed and discussed in the fall). The result of the album was amazing.

Since then, I've recorded an RPM album with my daughters, a one-guitar acoustic live instrumental album, a part story / part songs inspired by those stories album, and another stripped down live one vocal / one guitar album (though not nearly as successfully as the first live album).

This year, it's just going to be me. I've written all the songs already top to bottom, and will attempt to execute them perfectly. I'm not planning on collaborating, but rarely do RPM plans go unchanged.

My greatest advice to you is to do what feels right at any given time. If you want to write something ahead of time because you have a great idea or chord progression, do it. If you want to wait to see what happens in the madness of February, go for it. If you change your mind along the way about your plan, that's great. But first and foremost, allowing yourself the freedom to do whatever you want to do is the greatest gift The Challenge presents... And the greatest gift you can present to yourself.

Keep posting in the Forums and Blogs, and get to know the crazy people here (it's a healthy crazy in most cases). Taking on The Challenge may very well be the best insane thing you've ever done.

Keith
Last Edit: 1 month 1 week ago by klandry.
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1 month 1 week ago #39 by angiefightscrime
angiefightscrime replied the topic: How Do You Do...It
I'm with Keith, I've done everything from had the entire album written and just recorded in February to starting from scratch Feb 1 with no ideas and no plans. My first RPM was 1/2 older songs 1/2 new songs, so there's no wrong or right way to do it.

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1 month 1 week ago #41 by carrier_signal
carrier_signal replied the topic: How Do You Do...It
I typically WAY overanalyze the entire process and let it consume me for a month. I'm not sure I recommend this but I'm not capable of doing it any other way. That being said I like to vary my initial approach.

I'm a big fan of using RPM as a learning opportunity and typically try to figure out what I want to learn the most. Sometimes its software, hardware, a specific emotion, or sound.

For example, last year I decided my approach was going to be single take electronic songs with no computers.

Once I've figured out my approach, I do a dry run. Basically, I make a song in the style I intend to do for RPM. This irons out kinks in the setup/studio. Sometimes this can take me weeks to get right, so I try to start this as early as possible in January.

After that its just a matter of keeping your head in the game and not getting worn out after the first week.

Oh yeah, try not to get sick from lack of sleep and try to keep backups.
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1 month 1 week ago #43 by SmoothAroundTheBend
SmoothAroundTheBend replied the topic: How Do You Do...It
I've used the "wing it" method 7 out of 8 years (and will be using it again this year). The other year I had lyrics written but not music. I'm a master procrastinator. Good luck on your first !

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1 month 1 week ago #45 by ali_kilpatrick
ali_kilpatrick replied the topic: How Do You Do...It
I rarely have anything written in advance - part of the fun in RPM comes from not knowing what you'll end up with at the end of the month! Good luck with your first, and have fun! :)

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1 month 1 week ago #49 by syncope
syncope replied the topic: How Do You Do...It
In a nutshell...

November and December is spent learning/practicing all the things that I think I want to try or do for the project. I am also doing this the rest of the year, but there is a definite project focus toward the end of the year.

January is where I try to start thinking of a theme or mindset for the project. Maybe I read certain books/comics and/or watch things that put me in whatever space I think I want to be in.

I write and record in February, nothing is pre-done. There is typically a plan of sorts - 2 weeks of sketching and ideas, sound design, composition. Then a week of picking which sketches work and arranging them. Then the last week is everything else. That last week is typically very busy with mixing, adding the magic dust, finalizing, and exporting everything.

I do use a spreadsheet to keep track of things like each songs/track status for:
arrangement, mix, sound design, eq/compression, reverb, pan, automation/effects, length - for the 35 minute lower limit, and whether they have been exported or not.
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1 month 1 week ago #50 by daedae
daedae replied the topic: How Do You Do...It
My advice is always to not get too hung up on the "rules.*"

Do you have some song you wrote 10 years ago that maybe you did a lousy recording of? Go ahead and rerecord it if you want.

Did you only get 9 tracks and 34:59? Who cares? If you really want to hit the threshold for submission, I am a proponent of just doing a little jam or making noise to fill it out. For that matter, did you only get 1 track? Who cares? That's one new piece of music that you finished, that didn't exist at the beginning of February.

And, most importantly: have fun!

*There are some "rules" that affect your ability to upload to the site, like doing covers or using non-royalty-free samples. I mean, feel free to ignore those, too, but those will be the songs you have find some other place to share :)
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1 month 1 week ago #51 by catfingers
catfingers replied the topic: How Do You Do...It
I use a lot of TV & movie dialog - even if this element get dropped form the final mix. So my preparation involves watching cannibal movies on Dailymotion etc listening out for good lines.

I agree with the 'not thinking about it' though I usually enjoy the journey more after it's over.

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