In 2020, I took on the weeklybeats.com challenge of producing a piece of music every week for entire year. It's ambitious, especially for me, whose primary focus is growing as a software engineering manager and who only dabbles in music as a hobby.
What a pleasure it was to meet all the fine folks in the discord channel, to learn more about Trash80 and all his projects, and to participate in the weekly ritual that has been going on (every second year) for over a decade now.
My routine basically starts on a Sunday night, after the previous weeks upload and submit cutoff at 4pm. I'll unpatch my modular synth, reset my hardware sequencer and decide what my focus will be for the upcoming week.
I'd often want to build on an aspect of the previous weeks track, a particular sound or time signature, or maybe something to do with the mixing and mastering process. Sometimes I'd be learning a new piece of gear. I'd start playing around, and if nothing clicks, I'll hang it up for the day, knowing that when I come back to it later on in the week it will be a state where I can just pick it up and start having fun.
Next I'd usually spend one more session throughout the week playing around and pulling things together, focusing on a part or two and how they work together. I'd shoot for about a minute and a half of music, which after intro, transitions, and outro would bring it to two minutes, which I learned it optimal when you want to make it easy for other people to appreciate your work!
On Sunday morning after breakfast and a run I'd come back to my track and get it ready for release. Usually that means a bit of tweaking and mixing and eventually some simple mastering to boost the volume while keeping some of the dynamics. I'm far from a master at this, but I definitely progressed throughout the year.
Of course, not every week was like this. There were many weeks where I just didn't have the time at all, and others where I just didn't have the will. All in all, I managed to get 34 tracks released for the year, which ain't bad, in my opinion.
The best part was the comments and feedback I'd receive from others. The community is so caring and encouraging, exemplifying "review culture". The veterans were generous with their time, and the neophytes were excited to learn.
Spending the year focused on producing a track every week resulted in a much more optimized pipeline for recording, mixing, and mastering. Getting to know the other participants and being witness to their progression became a massive source of inspiration for me.
In 2021 I'll let the pendulum swing back the other direction, from quantity to quality. My "hobby goal" will be to release a cohesive collection of ten tracks (give or take) on Bandcamp. And then I'll be back to weeklybeats.com in 2022 to hit all 52!
Some of my favourites from the year (they're gnarly though, I'm warning ya!):