Finding the right workflow isn’t easy.
No matter if you’re a hard-on analog nerd or like to keep it digital, a smooth workflow is what gets you to that magical place where the good stuff happens. We all want to find ways to optimize our setup to make it budget-friendly, compact, yet versatile and fun - after all, why make compromises?
I have been making music as Lakmé for a bit over three years now. I try to create moods and atmospheres through my music and I love to use a lot of organic sounding textures. It would be quite hard for me to try and define what genre of music I make, but I like to think of it as a mix between soul, ambient, hip-hop beats with a touch of RnB. When I joined the MOD team, I had never used anything quite like the Duo and I was really surprised by how powerful this little box can be.
When I first got into production, I was all over the place. I was somehow convinced that the ultimate setup meant having lots of gear and machines and cables everywhere. But little did I know that, sometimes, less is more and simplicity can be a great pathway to getting where you want musically.
As a singer and keys player, it gets pretty tricky to juggle between everything, especially when wanting to do some effects processing on top of it. When I was first introduced to the MOD Duo, I remember thinking that it almost seemed too easy to be true. As I unfortunately was not blessed with the nerdy and techy genes at birth, I tend to get pretty intimidated by gear. I just need something easy, straightforward, which helps me translate my ideas into something concrete.
So here are 5 ways that the MOD Duo has helped me improve my home studio workflow:
1. It helps me generate new ideas, and fast
Only a few seconds after switching the Duo on, you already have access to a huge amount of plugins and pre-made pedalboards. I like to try different ones which are specifically designed for vocals. It helps me get into a vibe quickly, and then I’m inspired to create new sounds to surround the voice.
2. I am already designing my live set while producing
One thing that I find particularly challenging is bringing productions from the studio to the stage. Something that I really love about the Duo is the very hands-on approach. While trying things out in the studio, I can already anticipate and create saved presets of my home sessions. I can then take the Duo with me on stage and find all my boards, ready to use.
3. I am detaching myself from the computer
Producing obviously implies using a DAW and being very dependent on your laptop. Even though I do find a certain pleasure in it, I also do miss the more intuitive and less ‘robotic’ approach to music making. I find that a lot of time and energy can get lost when fiddling around with the computer and trying to get my ideas into shape. With the Duo, I get more of a jamming vibe, because I don’t need to be behind the computer to process and tweak my sounds.
4. I have a constant flow of new sonic possibilities
Even though having access to too many sounds and options can get slightly overwhelming and slow your workflow down, it is always nice to be able to renew your sounds in order not to get stuck in a routine or recycle too much. The Duo’s Plugin Store gives me access to all sorts of plugins, and there will always be something to suit my needs. MOD also has an active community of users who regularly share the pedalboards they’ve created (yep, there’s an embedded “share” option…). So when I feel like I’m in need of a bit of inspiration, it’s always nice to see what other musicians have been creating.
5. It pushes me to get out of my comfort zone
As I previously said, I am not very tech-savvy and my setup basically consists of my laptop, a midi keyboard, a midi controller, a condenser microphone, some decent monitors and a Duo. Even though I would love to get a powerful classic synth sometime in the future, I find that this setup is enough for me to get the results I am looking for. I nonetheless sometimes feel like my approach to production could be a bit more adventurous and I would like to experiment more. Before getting the Duo, I would usually start a track by playing some chords on the keyboard using a synth plugin. But at some point, I realized that this is a slightly limiting, almost conventional approach to composition and that I would like to change my workflow into something else. Lately, I’ve really been enjoying starting a track with vocals going through the Duo, without any melodic background, just improvising and creating an atmosphere, and then adding other elements on top of that. It’s been surprisingly inspiring.
So, if you find yourself stuck into a routine and struggle to find the adequate workflow that works best for you, I’ve found that introducing something new to your setup can really help with changing the way you approach producing. The Duo kind of allows me to do that all the time. All I need to do is download new plugins from the gear shop. It has been a great improvement to my workflow and I am looking forward to diving even deeper.
What are your tips and tricks to improve your workflow? Share in the comments!