How I Make Music

Times have changed since the days of going to the 4-track recording studio. I have more musical options at my fingertips today than the Beatles ever did. So, here’s how I make music.

I’m not a minimalist by lifestyle, but I do use minimalism in my creative work. For music, although I’ve got a room full of guitars and such, I most often simply use an iPad Pro with GarageBand. I do have a few other apps in my toolbox, but I keep it limited.

I compose music in a simple and fairly linear fashion. Anderhill music isn’t really written or played as much as it’s programmed in real time. If you know anything about digital audio workshops, (DAWs), you may understand the editor function. That’s what I use. I simply play a few notes on the keyboard on the iPad in GarageBand, and then I go into the editor and program the rest.

Most tracks take from one to four hours to create, but I might keep editing and mixing here and there for a couple of days.

I make a purposeful attempt to limit how many instruments I use, and I shy away from pop-sounding beats and melodies. (And believe me, I can make those, too. It’s almost a curse that I have to continually fight.)

I often sample everyday sounds like fans, washing machines, cars, and squeaky doors. I also sample instruments such as guitars, banjos, mandolins, and drums. I haven’t done much for lyrical content with Anderhill, but quite a few tracks still feature samples of my voice.

That’s how I make music. In the end, it’s simple and fun, and I usually like the results. – dse

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Author: Dan Steven Erickson

Dan Steven Erickson is a great undiscovered American songwriter.