Sampling Steely Dan and other Possibly Bad Ideas

More messing with audio production this weekend…

The idea below was made while trying to learn how to organize and chop up samples. Got a new audio interface and record player just to start learning these sampling techniques.

Of course, Steely Dan is always groovy… Caught a few clips from “Gaucho” and started adding some kick drums.

I’m happy with how this one turned out. Digging how it easily goes from grooving to housey. I added some weird out Olivia Tremor Control loops at the end and a “How to stop Smoking” record samples for the vocal. Automate some filters and BAM. You get this…

Glad to get a second song up on soundcloud within a week of the last one. Instead of dropping a bunch of cash on new software that I didn’t know if I would use, I decided to give myself a challenge.

I told myself. “Put up 3 tracks on soundcloud during the 30 day demo period and then you can buy the full software.”

Well, my demo is just about over on Ableton Live. Will I get that last track on soundcloud? Stay tuned to find out.

Any requests?

Samples + Filters + Automation / My First Track from Ableton Live

Protools was the real reason I bought my first G4 mac back in 2001. Being able to record myself and other local bands with a computer was absolute magic to me.

Eventually, I fell in love with Animation, After Effects, Final Cut, and Cinema 4D. But Music production and editing was where it all started.

Recently the music bug hit again. But this time, it was electronic music production.

One of my favorite styles from the 90s was Filtered French Disco House in the style of early Daft Punk labels of Roulé & Crydamoure.

So, as I went to start learning Ableton Live, this was the first style I went to try to make. I found this excellent tutorial by SadowickProduction all about how to make a filtered house track. PERFECT!!!!

Below is the result after a few hours learning how to sample, filter, and arrange in Ableton Live. The vocal samples are from the actual tutorial I watched!

I’m sharing this simple track because I absolutely LOVE the process of learning and sharing something new. It’s such a weird rush when things start to come together.

I know that it’s just a simple loop and some filter automation. But I think that’s what makes it even more fun to learn and play. It’s when you discover that almost everything made by humans boils down to “Just this plus this” that the world starts to become more human. It’s a human, or a group of them in rooms all over the world combining things together to make new styles, objects, and ways to see the world.

It’s a human, or a group of them in rooms all over the world combining things together to make new styles, objects, and ways to see the world.

When I try to make things I end up seeing the humanity in everything around me. It’s one of my favorite obvious truths of life.

OK, off to learn more Ableton. I’m still in the copying styles I like mode. Any requests? 🙂

How To Archive All Your Vines To Youtube

As you probably know, Vine will be shutting down soon and you will no longer be able to watch all your 5 second video masterpieces.

The good news is, they made it very easy to download all your Vines to your computer. After downloading my collection, I made a Compilation video of all my vines in a row to post to Youtube for posterity.

I figured I would also made this quick video to show you how you can make your own Vine Compilation Video using Adobe After Effects or Adobe Premiere. It’s a very simple process, but I thought you might want to preserve all your Vine goodness so you can share it with your grandkids one day.

How To Make Your Own Vine Compilation

Adding Acoustic Panels To Your Office To Remove Echo

I set up my new recording office today and I wanted to do a before and after of adding sound dampening panels to a room. They help so much in controlling unwanted reverb and flutter. I purchased these six panels at GIK Acoustics.

Graphing The Difference

I used an app called ClapIR on my iphone to measure the before and after sound profile and get real numbers on what the sound panels do. You can see below that the after graph is much flatter, especially in the 1000 Hz and 8000 Hz range. Those two spikes fall right in the human voice range and can be real problems when recording.

You can also see that the after graph has lower echo time overall. Check the before and after section of the video above (around the 4 minute mark) to really hear a huge difference in the clap test.


More Before And After Audio

The audio recordings below are made with Voice Recorder on my iPhone and give a better idea of what the entire room sounds like.

Before Sound Dampening

After Sound Dampening

Let me know in the comments if you have any specific questions about the process. I would love to help make your room sound better

Listen To Learn – 30 Days Of Genius

I learn best by seeing and listening to other people talk about how they do their work.

So, when Creative Live came out with their 30 Days Of Genius series, I loaded up my Huffduffer with these videos every day and started learning.

A Creative Routine

It’s interesting to hear some of the same things repeated over and over again by multiple different people in drastically different fields. The similarities in mindset and routine was pretty astounding. Made me think a lot about my routine (or lack of it) and is making me much more focused.

Routine seems like a bad word for creative people. But it’s specifically the strict routines in their day that give their creative side more energy to flourish.

Remove the mundane day to day decisions from your life, like what to eat and what to wear, and you suddenly have more energy to make the bigger more important decisions when the time comes.

This series is not just theory and mind-set. It can get very tactical and it’s full of things that you can use in your business right away.

I recommend listening to the entire series. I truly learned something from each one of these videos (yes even Sagmeister). But if you want to start with just one or two, pick a name from below and get learning.

Who Will You Start With?

*I bolded my favorites.

Chase Jarvis, the host of the show, also mentioned that he will be releasing all of these as a podcast very soon. I will update this post as soon as I see the podcast version come out.

Join 30 Days Of Genius Here

The Best Place To Invest

Come join me in this once in a lifetime investment opportunity.

It’s not real estate or the stock market. It’s much more reliable than that. In fact, positive results are guaranteed.

And, unlike other investments, you can do with little or no money.

It’s Time To Invest In Yourself

Yep, spending your precious time or money to learn something new, change the way you think, or learn how other people see the world is the absolute best investment you can make.

Want to ask for a raise at work? Why not read a book about negotiating? Want to play guitar? Choose from thousands of teachers on youtube that will teach you for free. Thinking about starting a business? There is no better time to find an online mentor and learn from their every book, blog post, podcast and Youtube video.

Because we are lucky to live during a time where the internet exists, we can learn from the best people in their field from all around the world for next to no cost.

Youtube and podcasts are free and books are cheap. There is a podcast about something you are interested in right now. Go search and see what you find. Don’t like the host’s personality? Try another one. It may take time to find someone you connect with, but the types of personalities are endless. Find a voice you like, and listen.

Too Busy To Learn?

Nonsense. There is already time in your day that you can fill with learning. Your hands may be busy, but often your ears are wide open.

Don’t just listen to whatever is on the radio, get that car bluetooth set up and fire up an audiobook.

Why not go on a walk and learn while getting some much needed exercise.

Put your earbuds in before doing the dishes and get some insights while scrubbing the pots and pans.

Never let your surroundings decide what you pay attention to. The world around you is busy trying to shove useless 24 hour news and commercials in your ears and eyeballs at every corner. Don’t let them decide for you. Go learn something that YOU want to learn about instead.

Being human is about growing. Don’t stop learning!

Interview At 99u “The Unexpected Benefits of Sharing Everything You Know”

Dave Benton from 99u just posted an Interview with me on how I built Greyscalegorilla from my bedroom to a successful small business.

“Anyone can follow a recipe, but at the end of it they wouldn’t call themselves a chef. Instead, if every time you added a step to the recipe, you explained it — when you add the salt, you are opening up the flavor, for example — the person learning will find much more value.”

Read The Interview Here

Save Youtube Audio As A Podcast With Huffduffer


Every time you catch yourself watching a youtube video when you are supposed to be working, try Huffduffer instead.

What Is Huffduffer?

Huffduffer is a free service that allows you to build a personalized audio feed. It’s kind of like a “read later” service but for audio.

The best part is, you can import the feed into your favorite podcast player so you can listen to your saved audio from anywhere.

I recently learned that you can also use this service to save the audio from Youtube videos! This is when my Huffduffer feed started to fill up… fast!

Save Time And Listen Later

Now, when I find good interviews from my favorite authors, I save them to my Huffduffer thread to be listened to later in the day when I’m not supposed to be working.

It’s solves two problems.

It stops youtube as a distraction by allowing me to save it for later.

It gives me something interesting to listen to while I drive, do dishes, or go for a walk.

Give it a try yourself and see what great things you can find on youtube to listen to later.