5 Benefits of Collaboration for Electronic Artists

When it comes to electronic music production, you might be forgiven for imagining a lone producer creating tracks in isolation. It doesn't have to be that way, and music may even be better together.  

Electronic music production has historically been a lonely pursuit, the domain of bedroom producers condemned to sleepless nights tuning oscillators and programming hi-hats. I can personally attest to the appeal of creative independence afforded by the liberation of modern DAW technology: after playing in bands for years, I finally had a platform to realize my fully-formed compositions without compromising ideas for the sake of an extended guitar solo. Nevertheless, there have been countless successful collaborations in electronic music, and it's a doorway to all sorts of expanded creativity. Here's why.

1 - Pooling Resources

You've saved for years to acquire your respectable gear collection, but the hunger for more never goes away. You'd love a dedicated studio, but can't afford the monthly rental cost on your own. If you live in a big enough city—or get lucky enough in a smaller one—chances are there's someone else nearby in a similar predicament, and, more importantly, similar taste in music. By joining forces, you've instantly doubled your gear and cut the studio rental costs in half. What's not to like in that equation?

2 - Accelerated Learning

Even people that use the same DAW work differently. Years of producing in isolation can lead to loads of unique workflows and heady tricks; unfortunately, these may develop alongside plenty of bad habits as well. Working with a respected collaborator gives valuable insight to using your favorite tools in new ways—along with the opportunity to learn the nuances of instruments you've never had the chance to use before.

3 - Instant Feedback

Working alone, it's all too easy to go along with a questionable synth patch for your main melody, orienting your mix around it and becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the results until you finally realize what the problem is: the questionable synth patch you settled on earlier. By the time you've remedied it, hours have passed that could have been spent developing your production far more effectively. The right studio partner will be able to nip those questionable ideas in the bud—and you, theirs—accelerating the path to quality, and sparing your ears from plenty mediocre synth patches in the process.

4 - Friendly Competition

There's no competition when you're working alone: no one to impress, show off for, or out-do. Now, of course you don't want to overdo it and turn what should be a fun, creative environment into something weirdly vindictive, but healthy competition has had its impact on culture from day one. Few dynamics have the potential to accelerate the quality of ideas and techniques more quickly.

5 - Shared Workload

An equal division of labor is the hallmark of a healthy relationship in the studio. Not only are you both contributing, but you can accomplish twice as much in the time it might normally take to do something alone: you can program the drums while your partner gets the mix dialed in, or your partner can automate the effects while you record some chords from your favorite polyphonic synth. These shared duties will come in particularly handy when it comes to the tedium of managing social media, should your project get to that point—and it doesn't hurt that the dynamic of two or more performers on stage is far more compelling than a solitary knob-twiddler.

As they say, two heads are better than one, and three might be even better still. That said, some people may not be cut out for collaboration, but why not give it a try? You'll at least pick up some handy tips and tricks along the way.

Noah Pred is a Canadian techno and house producer, DJ and Certified Ableton Trainer living in Berlin, Germany - where he runs his label, Thoughtless Music. His Juno-nominated full-length album Third Culture, is out now: http://www.thoughtlessmusic.com/releases/tlm086-noah-pred-third-culture/ - and you can check out his new project with... Read More

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