Synth sadness: overworked and underplayed.

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BlackGnosis
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Synth sadness: overworked and underplayed.

Post by BlackGnosis » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:15 am

Anyone else experience this? I work 12+ hours, 5 or more days a week,I've got most of the gear I want in my portable studio, but have no time or convenience to play with your goodies? My boss lets me take my gear in when the main place isn't in operation, which is kinda nice. but its a pain to walk everything back and forth ever few hours (I work security, so my patrols cut in my production time, nor am I foolish enough to leave my gear in a place that's easy to break into. At least in my car I could use insurance if it's broken into.) And lately I've been having a steady decline in creativity. Which kinda kills me cause I have a few nice pieces of gear, but no knack or spark of creativity to bring it to life. :<

If anyone has delt with this, how did you remedy it?
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Ashe37 wrote:I find it funny that you're a guitar pedal snob and yet don't own a single analog synth.

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Re: Synth sadness: overworked and underplayed.

Post by garranimal » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:49 am

This will probably end up in off topic. But I used to be in your shoes a few years ago. Putting in lots of overtime can hurt creativity. To boot I was in a stressful environment. The trick is to turn to music and creativity as a stress-reliever, make the most of the time you do have in the studio. And that can be done with time management principles. You'll still need to get the laundry done, feed yourself, grocery shopping, going out w/ friends, get sleep and all those other things that need doing. For me I decided I wasted much productive time watching TV, so I sold it and saved myself a cable bill to boot. When you do have downtime at work it is perfect for setting up a list of 'to-do' items that you can knock out so that you can open your schedule to music stuff.

And I probably wouldn't take gear to work, it can make you feel worse about the situation. And yes, something might happen if the wrong person sees the equipment coming/going from your work/home. Most burglaries are crimes of opportunity as I'm sure you're well aware. Instead, while at work you can conceptualize what you want to do musically. Imagine the songs in your head, and how you might produce the tracks. Go ahead and bring synth manuals to work and read them there. I'm a weirdo like that, and actually like perusing manuals. What it does is gets you jazzed about getting home and tinkering with knobs, and discovering hidden secrets of your gear. Best of luck to ya bud.

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Re: Synth sadness: overworked and underplayed.

Post by tunedLow » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:04 am

I'm lucky enough to have a job that allows me to afford things like synths, and I'm lucky enough to a couple of kids that require my attention when I'm home. By the late evening I've got some time to myself, and I'm usually to tired to be really creative, but I've come around to realizing that, for me personally, calling it a problem is kind of laughable.

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Re: Synth sadness: overworked and underplayed.

Post by theotherleadingbrand » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:53 pm

I usually do 12 hour days most of the week, and in the winter you don't see the light of day except on your days off. The real problem for me is that I don't have any space to leave my stuff set up, (and I don't even have a lot of gear). If I really want to have everything ready to go, I have to take over our small living room. Noise is also an issue as the landlord has serious health issues and can't handle music being cranked. All of this has been stifling for my creativity, but we're planning on buying a house in a year and a half. Until then, I have to keep things as quiet and manageable as possible; when time permits. I'm lucky to have the gear I do in the first place though, and count my blessings accordingly.
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Re: Synth sadness: overworked and underplayed.

Post by spacefolklore » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:31 pm

Garranimal's advice is golden. I used to do it when I worked long hours in a place where I had a lot of free 'thinking' time during work. In my present job it isn't possible but I still think about my music making while commuting.

I also designed my studio so that I can get it up and running in 10 seconds, play and record everything to a handheld recorder via its line inputs. Even if I get 15 minutes playing time during the evening, I'm quite happy.

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Re: Synth sadness: overworked and underplayed.

Post by nuketifromorbit » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:43 pm

I'm fortunate in some ways. For every 12 hour or longer shift there is usually a nice five or six hour day. Of course there is also the issue of occasionally having to work till 3am and having to be back at the warehouse by 8am. It wouldn't bother me so much if the moronic scheduling weren't avoidable and wasn't largely due to the incompetence of my boss. I've noticed that my creativity seems to follow a bi weekly cycle, and that despite my increased work load I still find time to s**t out a two minute track or patch now and then. Honestly the internet and alcohol are biggest creativity killers in my life. I'm really looking forward to eventually living some where without a ready supply of beer and mind melting digital entertainment.
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Re: Synth sadness: overworked and underplayed.

Post by cornutt » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:06 pm

One thing I do when I'm stuck for ideas for tracks is to work on patches, or patch ideas that I've been wanting to try. Sometimes playing around with a new patch will suggest an idea. But even if it doesn't, you'll have ammunition for later.
And I probably wouldn't take gear to work, it can make you feel worse about the situation. [...] Instead, while at work you can conceptualize what you want to do musically.
I agree, don't take your gear to work. It will become associated in your mind with work, which is a sure creativity killer. You might want to get a small portable recorder that you can dictate/whistle/sing ideas into. Sometimes when an idea pops into my head while I'm at work, I make a note and then email it to my home address. Or maybe get a small and cheap personal keyboard that you can leave at work (one that's cheap enough that it won't be a big deal if it gets stolen), to tap out ideas on during your breaks.
I also designed my studio so that I can get it up and running in 10 seconds, play and record everything to a handheld recorder via its line inputs. Even if I get 15 minutes playing time during the evening, I'm quite happy.
An excellent point. Arrange your setup so that you minimize the amount of non-productive time, like turning switches on and off. I've got mine arranged so I can have everything powered on and ready in the time it takes the computer to boot up, about 3 minutes. Also, if you are interested in recording tracks at all, make sure you have the recording running any time that you're doing anything -- you never know if something good might fall out. Also, use headphones for messing around. That way, you don't have to worry about how loud it is or who it might be bothering. The feeling that you might be annoying someone is a creativity inhibitor, whether it's actually true or not.
I'm lucky enough to have a job that allows me to afford things like synths, and I'm lucky enough to a couple of kids that require my attention when I'm home. By the late evening I've got some time to myself, and I'm usually to tired to be really creative, but I've come around to realizing that, for me personally, calling it a problem is kind of laughable.
It does fall into the category of "first world problems", doesn't it? Thanks for keeping things in perspective.
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Re: Synth sadness: overworked and underplayed.

Post by loungedumore » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:02 pm

Been there done that , even worse at times I had a couple jobs that were feast or famine type scenarios and my brain only wanted to be creative when I was on the job and as luck would have it go into wrighter's block when I did have all the time in the world :?

My solution to these things is to break up the work ....
So in your scenario ( which is cool you can have some kit and time ) I would focus on the experimenting side of things , as it would be great to have short bursts of creativity and provide a kind of rule to drop it if it sucks and save it if it works and just make riffs , passages , beats , little parts , but not any arrangement , mixing or heavy production .
Then when you have time off at home to craft a song out of your parts , loops whatever and work on the arrangements and mixing which although creative too , can be a little more left brain intensive . So in other words set a kind of discipline that breaks up your time more effeciantly .
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Re: Synth sadness: overworked and underplayed.

Post by BlackGnosis » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:06 pm

<3
garranimal wrote:This will probably end up in off topic.
Your right I wa kinda hoping people would shoot me a handful of recommended gear or something to get the creativity rolling better or something. I usually wind up taking just a controller and a synth. but then I get ideas for the gear that isnt there. or worse I'll spend lots of time setting up and adjusting everything to make it play . I do play differently at work then I do home, and when I get a tiny spark of something, I get on a roll and create great projects. It gets interrupted and I lose it before I get back. and unfortunately I suck at remembering stuff when my brain has to shift gears and balance everything within a few hours.

I have thought about cutting down how much gear I bring by just getting updated and better combinations or just racking stuff in a mixer case and pop it open and play when I am at work.. My laptop is always with me though. In fact I'm on here (VSE) more often now that I have limited internet access at work. (Woo!) I've often thought of using a workstation or a groovebox and a synth at work as they'd setup fast and allow me to produce everything.

At work I in all honesty spend about 5 hours working and the rest of the time waiting for my patrols to come up. But the interruptions can disrupt my muse and workflow so its rather defeating. I guess I been getting down over having all those interruptions.

I love playing on the virus (Just sold my snow recently though) but its biggest buzz kill was I had to set it up with a controller every time. I've thought about going keys or polar with the next virus I get... maybe when I fix my mk it will fill my lacking gap... I could definitely afford toting a mk + tape recorder. or perhaps trying to refine my mobile setup further.
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Ashe37 wrote:I find it funny that you're a guitar pedal snob and yet don't own a single analog synth.

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Re: Synth sadness: overworked and underplayed.

Post by tekkentool » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:30 pm

I don't think answering lack of inspiration with gear really works. Just sit down at a piano and go f**k feral for a bit.

I find when I'm most overworked I'm the best creatively. It keeps your brain on your feet. E.G Exam revision gets me VERY creative at inappropriate times. If I'm very intense into something mental like that I end out taking little piano breaks for stress relief and songs are just screaming in my head to come out in a sequencer.

I think it depends on the kind of job you're doing though...

When I had a job a while ago during the summer holidays concreting on construction sites it was no fun. I'd get there at 7 am and leave at 6 after a day of pretty intense physical labor 5-6 days a week. At the end of the day I would be so f**k that I couldn't really do much at all. I'd just check the internet for a bit and wander off to sleep. My hands weren't even in a condition to play instruments, people don't tell you beforehand that concrete seeps into your fingers and makes them all disgusting. Couldn't play guitar. Left that holiday with GUNS though. (They disappeared in the course of 3 weeks, more sadness).

What kind of job are you doing now?

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Re: Synth sadness: overworked and underplayed.

Post by samuraipizzacat29 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:14 pm

have you considered an ipad? You could get sketchups of musical ideas together rather quickly with things like garageband, and then when you want to sound design you have your virus or whatever else. Imaschine interfaces with real maschine. An IO dock would give you i/o for recording other synths. And you'd get mobile books and netflix......

The only other advice I immediately have is that when it gets stale, you must re-organize. Be it your gear, your workspace, the time you spend at work, what you're doing at work, whatever. don't be afraid to shake it up a little. it might get worse, but it won't get better if you do nothing.

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Re: Synth sadness: overworked and underplayed.

Post by realtrance » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:34 am

I just waited for the economy to go bad and my company to go under.

Worked like a charm! ;)

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Re: Synth sadness: overworked and underplayed.

Post by nuketifromorbit » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:19 am

tekkentool wrote:
I think it depends on the kind of job you're doing though...

When I had a job a while ago during the summer holidays concreting on construction sites it was no fun. I'd get there at 7 am and leave at 6 after a day of pretty intense physical labor 5-6 days a week. At the end of the day I would be so f**k that I couldn't really do much at all. I'd just check the internet for a bit and wander off to sleep. My hands weren't even in a condition to play instruments, people don't tell you beforehand that concrete seeps into your fingers and makes them all disgusting. Couldn't play guitar. Left that holiday with GUNS though. (They disappeared in the course of 3 weeks, more sadness).
I've always been told this was brutal work. Of course I think the worst stories I've heard are from people working in saw mills. In short at least you didn't end up with missing digits.
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