Not sure how to get back into things

I know this might be a really shit thread, but I could use a bit of motivation to start up again.

About 5 years ago my hard-drive crashed and I lost everything because I didn’t know the value of backing up. Lost all my projects, sample and breakbeat library, custom presets, ideas, obscure media, plugins - everything I built music around. I could never come back from it.

I am so ready to begin again and have been binging the break ore and idm and noise and I industrial that got me into music in the first place,leading me back here. but now I have a better understanding of music theory now, through learning guitar in the time between the crash, but I have forgotten how do it. I’ve forgotten all about sound design and programming tricks.

I sit there with my trusty old DAW and just tinker around then get stuck because I’m working with nothing I can call my own.

I might take this opprtunity to learn a different DAW (have been using fruity loops) and want to take a sounds design course now that I have the attention span to actually learn, and not just fuck about throwing shit at a wall, like I did when I was younger.

I have Ideas in my head still, new and better ones after I expanded my tastes beyond IDM and Breakcore and Noise etc. but it’s really hard to transcribe them right now.

What do I do? How do I learn how to make the music in my head once more?

Any advice or wisdom would be appreciated!

Wooohhh dude, that’s a bit of a question !!! sometimes, a fresh start can be rewarding … & haunting as well. You might think of all the stuff you had on that hard drive, trying to replica all that stuff. Forget about it, just start a session, load a lot of plugs, tweak it & see. Even though you lost all your datas, your brain is still there, don’t get lost by the blank sheet facing you. Just dive in dude !!! Who gives a shit, appart from you, as long as you have fun, stop wondering the path. Still here reading my post ??? Go on :grinning:

As you suggested, learning different daws is very useful , learn them all, get the best interface to your needs, stick on 1 or 2, master them before you skip to an other. I’ve been trained on Protools, Digital Performer, Cubase, Logic Pro. Today i use, Protools & Live mostly. For some quick ideas, i use reason & renoise. I like to rewire all that stuff sometimes. Rewire midi data from 1 to an other can bring out some crazy shit sometimes.

The equipment we have at our disposal today is pretty magic, we are lucky to even have a passion, so, stick with it & start twiddling.

To start on something … get a copy … not a divine revelation but quite handy.


Thanks for the encouragement! The reason I stopped towards the end was because it became less fun - was always trying top myself and hit a brick wall. Maybe a more relaxed attitude and actively learning instead of just throwing shit at the wall is a better approach. I’m definitely a lot more mature and serious than I was back then!

I’ll try ableton - I know FL really well and it would be a decent transition if I try and learn it properly"

Thanks again, really appreciate it.

Edit: Just reading that book, it highlights things that I used to subconsciously (analyse the music I listen, actively listen) but I dunno, hate to say it but depression really stopped me from doing that - but i’m into music again now and in a much better headspace and it’s coming back to me, i’ll read this book to the end.

that’s exactly why i liked this book, it’s pointing things we all know & easily forget. A cool reminder.

1 thing i like to do as well, when i’m stuck facing a blank session … use a plugin a way it’s not meant to.
take a drum machine, make it a synth, take a synth make it a drum machine, take an effect chain & make it an instrument, put the mess in your midi datas, a midi drum phrase can drive a synth, a synth midi phrase can drive a drum machine … randomness as a luck supplier is sometimes very effective.

Swap between different techniques. 1 day, play music very solfeggi like, the next day, twist your solfeggi stuff to the most messy stuff you can think of, the day after, interleave both sessions, take a track from the solfeggi session & add a track from the random session & see what happens.

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That’s a good approach also! My favourite way to jumpstart a tune was to inject a random sample into Camel Alchemy and see what cool noises come up!

I think starting a fresh with a new DAW and being commited to learning it wuold also be good thing - start from square one again, and then hopefully all my old inspiration will find itself! I’m pretty excited

Sure it will come back !!! Always learn is a good thing too, the music evolves so fast, we always have new tools, browse, try, things will come back.
Take care, good tweak man.

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Have fun. Don’t overthink stuff. Just use the tools you have or get and be creative. Most important, enjoy what you are doing.

I agree with ACRE, it WILL come back in one way or another.

5 years you say? Uhhh… I think I have some bad news for you… :wink:

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That Ableton book is a good idea, but apart from that, just do things. Try to think back at what inspired you and go back to it, did you love taking a loop and mangling it to oblivion on Renoise? Start from there and build around it.
In my case the inspiration is in the hardware itself, if that’s the case, get some new gear and see where it takes you, no need to invest a fortune, a Korg Volca Drum or modular will have you tweaking for days, record the audio while you tweak and you might stumble into a great source for a track.

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Waiting for inspiration or relying on tricks is the slooooow way. Just dive right back in to writing tracks. Sure, your probably going to be rusty and it’ll take a few goes to feel like you are back to your old self. At this point, five years down the road, I wouldn’t even few that data loss as an upset. You likely would have evolved beyond all those sounds anyway.

Simply do it. Or don’t. Those are really the only two options.

edit: reading this on 16 Nov. 2020 and I needed to hear it from myself lol


The important thing is to not stress yourself out. It’s like riding a bicycle. It will come back for sure, don’t worry about that part!

First of all, unless you really have issues with FL, I suggest you stick with it. Absolutely nothing wrong with it. All DAWs are good in their own way nowadays. Just one less thing to worry about.

That’s actually one way to get back into the swing of things gradually. Just focus on making your own sounds. Be it via synthesis. Or sampling. Just start building your own sample packs and patches. Separate that process from the process of working on tracks. Maybe get some hardware, if you have a bit of disposable income. Since you had been out for 5 years, I have some good news for you on that front: there has been an explosion of all kinds of cool and affordable boxes. Get one of them and spend a month doing nothing but tinkering with it, learning it inside out and sampling it. Or get a cheap Zoom recorded and go outside and sample everything. Then process the shit out of it all in FL. Boom. Something you can call your own (and nobody else can).

I think you’re psyching yourself out. You want to get to writing your masterpieces straight away and it all feels very overwhelming. Don’t do that. Do the opposite. Give yourself permission to make the shittiest piece of crap possible. Like, seriously. If someone asked you to make the worst piece of shit track imaginable, what would you do? Then go and do that. Or just say: I’m going to make the most generic version of X. And go do that. The important thing is to start and finish something. Anything.

Alternatively, the Beat Battles on this very site is absolutely perfect for something like this. They are usually 1-2 weeks in duration and someone posts a sample pack and some rules and you just crank out a track without hopefully overthinking it. It should take some pressure off. You’re not writing your masterpiece. You are just making something within very specific limitations. With other people. And there’s a deadline. So there’s not a whole lot of time to sit there and deliberate shit. You just need to get on with it. We just finished one (, so keep an eye out for the next one in the Community Projects subforum . But there’s also the 808 and 909 day tracks that are still ongoing and you can get something in for those:

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Yes Mononyn I had a similar experience and lost a mountain of files but it wasn’t musical data. I agree that you just have to pick up the pieces as the old song says, “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again”. That masterpiece might be hiding in that buzzing activity in you head. Good luck.

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Wow thank you for all the encouraging and advice! I’m feeling really enthusiastic now!

I’m ready to just stat all over, and be more serious this time,. I’ll probably get my hands on a little keyboard now that I know music theory (and want to learn keys!) , and definitely study sound design more in depth - do thing I always wanted to like learn Max/Msp and now I can add guitar to my music which is something I really wanted for a while! I’m not going to emulate my past but borrow from that style as it was kinda unique imo.

Hopefully I can enter the beat battles again too! And I’ll stick with FL and really learn’'s it limitations.

Thank you guys a lot for being so helpful and encouraging! I just wish I didn’t stop 5 years ago, but I do now know the limitations that caused be to burn out an never recover!

I’ve caught some good vibes from these responses!

edit: oh sucks about Camel going under :frowning:

There we go :+1:

Just to add one, it’s more fun (IMO) to play with a bunch of shit and see what happens rather than to replicate the exact thing you dreamed up before you even touched your computer / hardware. Whenever I set up expectations for how something ‘should’ sound, I’m always disappointed.

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I’m glad you posted this. In the last 5 years, I’ve hardly made music at all. I listened to some of my old tracks the other day, steeling myself for the shittiness, but discovered that I actually enjoyed some of them. To the point that I have since been despairing that I couldn’t make something of that calibre now.

Having read through this, I’m feeling a little better about getting back into it, now…

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