Is Gear Really Essential to Make Minimal/Techno Music?

Is Gear Really Essential to Make Minimal Techno Music?

Thank God (and thanks to my hard work, of course) I have been rewarded with a lot of luck in my artistic life. Apparently, the Universe has insisted on giving me the best fans in the world and there is nothing that makes me happier to know that I am an inspiration to some producers, DJ’s and other musicians out there. A lot of people ask me questions about my adventure in music production. Here are some of them:

Well, this won’t be a tutorial post but all of these questions made me think about what is essential and not essential in what we are doing here. For that reason, I want to share with you my opinion as a music producer on the million dollar question:

What is the hardware gear required to produce minimal/techno music?

The more talented a producer is, the less gear he/she need

Unless you’re a gear addict (I mean, a complete nerd) or one of those producers who has been dreaming of a Roland TR-808 since he started producing banger techno tracks in Ableton, to make electronic music (like minimal techno) you don’t have to spend all your money on equipment.

Don’t get me wrong! I totally respect artists who have those fancy studios full of equipment to create their magnificent symphonies. Not to mention that special sound of an analog instrument. But if you ask me “Do I really need this to make good music?” My answer is “no”!

Whatever your genre or musical style is, complex or not, there is nothing (or very little) that you cannot do through your DAW and your vst plugins. All you need is the holy trinity of electronic music:

  1. Computer – A desktop or a laptop. Honestly, I don’t give a f*** as long as it works.
  2. DAWDigital Audio Workstation, or as I usually say – Do Amazing Work!
  3. A device to listen to the music you’re making – Headphones or speakers, depending on your budget.

The most important thing to keep in mind is:

There’s no correlation between creativity and equipment ownership. None!

Hozho In The Studio

Understand what works for you and be the master of it

It’s not about the gear, it’s about the way you use that gear! In fact, as the producer gets more into his thing and develops his musical style, his number of tools tends to go down. I know great producers who only use 2 or 3 plugins maximum and a MIDI controller. And that’s it! Why? Because they know what works for them. Expending mental energy on hardware wastes time. The last thing they want is to spend 2 weeks learning how to use a SSL 4000 if they don’t need to. I mean, they just need Sylenth1 or Nexus 2 or FL Keys (FL studio producers will get it) to make great music. They spent hours and hours in this plugin creating the unique sounds that are their signature move. The good thing about electronic music is that you are allowed to reinvent the wheel here, and probably it will be an amazing wheel!

Just for curiosity, did you know that Van Gogh rarely painted with more than six colors on his palette?

SSL 4000 - Hozho Blog
The SSL 4000. A monster!

If you’re serious about changing your life, you’ll find a way. If you’re not, you’ll find an excuse

If you are just starting out in the producing thing and you have big ambitions but no money to buy equipment right now, remember that the first tracks I produced were created using just a cheap Toshiba laptop and Fender headphones that came with my bass guitar when I was 16 years old. So what is your excuse?

Just remember: the best gear you have is your brain and it’s priceless! That’s where the best songs in the world are made. Gears are only tools where you reproduce these songs.

Having cheap equipment and not having a fancy studio should be no excuse for not producing and practicing every day to improve your technique. I know that using cheap equipment, you may not reach that perfect and clean sound you want. But you have to ask yourself: “Is it so bad that it’s not worth sharing? Is it so embarrassing to show this song to the world?”

Adapt your ears to any equipment you have, especially cheap speakers or headphones. A good tip is to listen to songs from your favorite artists, understand how it sounds on your equipment and try to reproduce that sound quality with your productions. But please, don’t give up!

Take a chance. You are just a track away from the artist you always dreamed to be. There’s no such thing as mistakes. Failure is always the best fuel to success!

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