A Minimalist Approach to Making Music

Updated: May 14, 2019

Today we’re gonna talk about minimalism. Not the movement which characterizes music by the repetition of short phrases or simplicity, I’m referring to the minimalist lifestyle which focuses on letting go of the unnecessary and living a life with just the essentials. I’m not here to lecture you on the benefits of being a minimalist, or to try to persuade you into selling all your gear, shaving your head and moving to the woods, but there’s certain principles I wanted to take from this way of life and implement them into the way I make music and what I make music with. 

 Over the last few years my studio grew from a cheap $50 midi controller to thousands of dollars worth of music equipment. This was way before I made any YouTube reviews or had any beneficial relationships with companies that would justify (if one could call it that) a room full of gear. It was during the time I discovered hardware for the first time and went 100% Dawless. I started off with volcas and other cheap gear, and then bought my first polyphonic synthesizer, the Minilogue, spending $400 on an instrument was uncharted territory for me at the time, but it brought me happiness, so I didn’t mind making sacrifices in other areas to feed my addiction- I mean hobby. 

During that time I started to notice other people making really cool music with more expensive gear, this greatly had to do with the amount of time I was spending on social media, which was a lot. I quickly lost interest in my volcas and Minilogue and started chasing after other gear, but that just became a never ending cycle of buying, selling and trading, never really learning my instrument to the fullest.. at the end it left me feeling uninspired and underwhelmed, the same feelings that brought me to use hardware were slowly pulling me away from it. 

I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s considered giving up on music all together when things just don’t go right no matter what you do, but as creative person I know this isn’t an option, the mere thought of this destroys me emotionally and mentally. I know there’s areas in my life that need improvement, starting with my obsession with hardware, I wanted to transform that into the obsession of music making, I want to become enamored with not only the idea of creation but the process itself. This can be difficult with too many options, so I did the unimaginable, I decided to sell everything and just keep the cat synthesizer. Just kidding, but I did downsize my studio drastically, at least to what I consider to be the bare minimum in my situation, yours could be different. 

 So what’s happened since I made this drastic decision? Do I miss my gear? Do I stay up at night questioning my choices? At first I was a bit reluctant of letting go of certain “What if” items, but my determination to bring minimalism into my studio and my life wasn’t going to be taken lightly, I knew what had to be done and was determined to make it happen.  As I walked into a half empty room the next day I felt an unexplainable relief, as if letting go of these material things opened a door of possibilities of what I could create with what I had decided to keep. Since then, I’ve been pushing every piece, learning something new every time I turn something on, which is more often than before. 

Having a few pieces makes it easier for me to pick something up and start jamming then dreading on the thought of turning everything on and creating on 4 to 5 devices at the same time. Having less distractions has allowed me to reprioritize my time, allowing me to work on a lot of new music and other projects. Life is a never ending journey of change and daily improvement. I hope you guys enjoyed this read and good luck on your journey.

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Dawless Jammin'


Dawless Jammin'

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