Collaboration is one of the most vital facets of modern music. It helps shape new sounds, unique creations, and builds a bond between artists in different genres and various types of musicians. Whether it's a singer bringing a track to life or different producers combining their instrumentations, collaboration is the ultimate key to pushing music forward.
That being said, collaborations are not always a walk in the park. You hear stories of artists walking into a room together and having everything instantly mesh, but that's not always the case. Nowadays producers often never even get the chance to work in the same place, sharing stems and ideas through file sharing sites.
The Internet has changed the way collaborations work, but it has also opened up a new way for artists across the globe to mesh their sounds together. It's something that takes time for a young artist to learn, and that's why we teamed up with Futuristic Polar Bears to bring you some expert advice.
The UK trio has worked with names like Sultan + Shepard, Thomas Newson, and Danny Howard while releasing countless tunes through Hardwell's Revealed Recordings and Spinnin' Records, and know what it takes to put together a big collaboration. Check out their production and collaboration tips below, and use them to help further your own music.
1. Identify Your Aims: How can you get somewhere if you don’t know where you’re going? The key to successfully working with anyone, on anything, is to identify and share the same vision and goal from the very beginning.
2. Networking : A huge part of success in any industry is networking – after all, sometimes it’s true when they say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. It helps if you already have a relationship/friendship with whoever you’re working with – the best results always happen if you are having fun whilst working. We find that social media is a great tool to contact people through – Twitter especially.
3. Opinions Matter: Don’t be too shy to give honest critique and feedback on whatever you’re working on. Equally, don’t take criticism on your own work personally – there’s no point arguing over things, take criticism in your stride and take all comments on board. It’s easy to overlook flaws in your own work, an extra set of eyes or ears can pick up things that you might not notice.
4. Location: The beauty of a modern set up (in any industry, not just music) is that not all collabs have to be done in the same place. We have worked with so many artists over Skype sending back and forth different ideas. If you do this make sure you are using the same DAW and have the same plugins etc
5. Schedules: When you’re working alone it’s very easy to work to your own schedule, collaborating is a very different ball game, especially across time zones. When working on a track we don’t set a time limit on the collab as everybody has different schedules. Some of our tracks have come together very quickly where as others have taken months. You might find that it doesn’t feel like a natural process when collaborating with someone –don’t force creativity, some things just aren’t meant to be.
6. Test What You’ve Made: Possibly the most important part of any process! You’ll never know if what you’ve just spent hours working on works in the way you intended unless you both try out an almost-finished version the clubs; then *even more importantly* compare your feedback. This is a really good way to see how both artists are feeling about the project and whether there is much left to do.
7. Polishing: OK, so this one’s mainly about making a tune – but it applies to all projects we guess! When you’ve finished the production process, it’s essential that you don’t forget the mixing and mastering stage. It’s amazing how a good mix and master can bring a track to life! After all, you want to make sure that the project you’ve just worked on is the best it can possibly be before it gets released into the wild!