The Key To Finding Your Own Sound As A Music Producer

By Ill Mind

The Key To Finding Your Own Sound As A Music Producer

Ever hear someone say "Yo! I'm like a mixture of Pete Rock and Dilla with a little bit of Neptunes sprinkled in!". Or "I'm like Just Blaze, but on some pop sh*t!". 
Shrug.
Smh.
El-Oh-El.
Listen. That's totally ok and fine. Well, in the beginning at least.
Music is such an awesome thing. Creating music is a very spiritual experience. We tap into energies deep within', and also into the far reaches of the universe. It's weird, but the way it makes us feel as human beings is undeniable.
When we first decide to start "making beats", we can't help but sound like someone else, or something we've heard. That's true for any type of starting point. Creatively, we seek a point of reference. A template. Something to inspire that first creative seed. It's a blank canvas with hundreds of thousands of colors to choose from, with an infinite amount of brushes and stroke techniques. What tempo should I use? Should I chop a sample? Should I start with some random piano chords? Should I load up a bunch of drum sounds (*ehm www.blapkits.com) and tap out a random drum pattern? Do I make a trap beat like Metro? Or do I keep it old-school like Preem? Or do I combine both and do some EDM club ish? AHHHHH! *brain explodes*.
When I first started making beats, they all sounded like bad versions of J Dilla. Dilla's beats are literally what inspired me and intrigued me to figure out and say to myself "how the hell is he doing that?" (amongst other music of course). I took the time to study the guy. I'd listen to his beats on repeat. I'd focus my ears on just the hi-hats and say to myself "why do the hi-hats vary so much in volume and swing?". "Why are his snare drums so loud and crunchy that they sound like my neck is about to snap off!?". "How does he program these crazy abstract bass-lines that seem to be off key, but feel so right?".
I studied. I mimicked.
I studied some more. I mimicked some more.
Then I studied other people. I studied other genres of music. I dissected the music in places I never knew existed. 
It was like staring at a Jackson Pollock painting, not as a whole and from a distance, but close up, analyzing every stroke and color and trying to find the reasoning behind his decisions.
And then I realized that all of it was based on FEELING.
Over time (like 2, 3, 4, 10 years time) your brain starts to change. Things start to become habitual. Creative decisions that you make start to come from your subconscious mind (without thinking) as opposed to your conscious mind. You "over-think" less and execute more. You begin to trust your instinctual decisions. You are in flow. You trust yourself and you get excited by little things. 
At this point, you are crossing over from "searching a sound" to "becoming the sound". You start to find yourself. You're comfortable in your own creative skin. You're expressing your emotions exactly the way they were intended, tapping into the deepest and darkest depths of creativity. Again, you are in flow.
If you do this long enough, you begin to realize that you've acquired all of these tools that you've learned over the years, and incorporated them into your being. They become you. Your true creative colors start to shine in your music. Now, you're starting to go even deeper. Eventually, you've found your own sound without even knowing you did. Other people are noticing it in your music. 
Hey, at this point you might just invent a new genre without even knowing that you did.
At this point, the sky is the limit. In fact, there are no limits (screw the sky!). The scary thing is, you're getting better with every new beat you make (imagine what your beats will sound like 5 years from now! Whoa!). 
Pack your bags because now you are in another world. A world of limitless creative possibility.
Welcome. You've arrived.


I'm creating a platform to help music producers get constructive criticism on their beats to help find their sound. We need your help to donate and spread the word! Go HERE to find out more.


8 comments

  • I Drop The Real Hits On Music But What Is An Information On How Artists Become Rich On Singing Hip Hop

    Givenchy on

  • Illmind,

    You’ve recently written some very inspiring posts on your blog. I’m wondering if you could share your thoughts on the following topics:

    1. What is your advice for us beat makers who are trying to find that balance between a 9-5, family life, and beats. Many of us who work full time are completely drained by the end of the working day, and of course try to give our remaining energy to our families. Therefore we usually act as weekend warriors, having our most prolific periods in between our children’s soccer matches and family get togethers. We may sell a few beats here and there, one month making hundreds and the next nothing. Due to this unstable income, it is extremely risky to make the switch over to pursuing our passions and doing beats full time. What’s your advice on how to go about making the transition from a hobby to a full-time?

    2. For newcomers who have yet to have made a name for themselves, what is your advice for handling MCs who are interested in buying beats. I am often approached by dudes who are interested to buy and there are two scenarios: A: the guy is dope and can flow, of course I’m down to collab and will sell him the beat. But B: the guy is not so dope, but is willing to throw down for beats. What is your advice on what to do in situation B? I have two attitudes towards this, and honestly in times when I need the money I often do the deal just to get some fast cash without thinking of how it could affect my rep in the future. However, if the beats are truly good enough, won’t they just elevate the sound of a wack MC?

    3. How much should be charged to amateur MCs who are willing to pay? Most of us are not in this for the money, but of course to be able to do what you love as a profession is one of the greatest things we can have on this earth. What is your recommendation?

    4. In which situations should a beat maker give away beats for free? I’ve had some dope MCs approach me for beats, and I just viewed them as an opportunity to make some quality music which would help my career in the long run so I gladly threw them a few beats free of charge. What are your thoughts?

    Kris van Huystee on

  • Thank you!!! Im actually finding my own style. Combining different sounds with drums and percussions. So, when i think no one will understand my Beat composition, Thats when i know its all me.

    THomas gReen on

  • thank you so much for this please keep up with culturing and learning us it is very helpful. i cant find to many worthwhile blogs these days for hip hop

    LEse Majeste Music on

  • TRue motivation to keep inspiring Yourself!

    DAnk on


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