Mando plAy challenge

So today we’re having an innovation day entitled ‘plAy’ at Mando Group . You can find out all about it on our company blog and a live feed of the day up on the plAy social media feed.

—- lunchtime update —-

I set myself the challenge of writing some music using only digital production, samples and loops rather than my usual guitar and vocals approach.  ‘Making music’ turned into ‘writing a jingle / soundbite’ to herald the opening of the beer fridge….which has since turned into a project to create a sonic style compatible with the mando brand.  By way of example – how iconic is the intel jingle or the nokia ringtone or the windows opening sound????

So yeah, as always with me, the challenge morphs, changes, becomes bigger and then there’s the need to reign it back to a series of steps.  Here’s how I’ve now planned the day since arriving:

Morning – relocate to Costa, load up my new shiny copy of garageband on my ipad and work out what it can do and how to use it.  Hopefully in the process come up with something useful that contributes to where I need to get to but the morning is about learning the software.  At the time of writing it’s been a good few hours and I’ve figured pretty much everything except how to slice up tracks and bounce down (I’m sure this’ll come and I’m just being a thicky) I’m also pretty pleased with the work in progress so far – it’s got potential for a cool background track.  check it here:

Ok, amped on coffee and stoked from the morning’s learning, this afternoon is all about researching how composers go about doing this kind of thing and bringing some stuff back into garage band as samples and/or creating some stuff from scratch with the instrumentation options it gives.

I’m hoping to end up with a few options for:

  • the sound associated with the opening of the beer fridge
  • a mando aural ident

..and a finished version of the piece I started this morning.

Will update this blog again later 🙂

—- afternoon update —-

AAAARGGGGGGRRRRRRR.   So, you can’t bounce in iPad garageband, you have to download another app and record audio.  And thereby fixing your mix on some tracks before the whole lot. Not cool.  So am transferring from iPad to Mac.  This requires buying an update for Mac.  Fine.  Once loaded in via itunes, it then says I need to download an iOS converter….. and thus an hour or so has now been lost in faffage.  All good learning though and in fairness now the music is stubbed out, transferring to my laptop to finesse it and add more tracks and samples makes more sense.

Hopefully I can get on with creating soon rather than fiddling!…


Anyway, game on again!!

—- evening update —-

So….the afternoon carried on being a trial by hardware.  Ended up still needing to transfer everything to my mac, which then took forever….

…and my OCD kicked with the mixdown, with me working on automating all the faders and effects outputting a stupid number of final versions.  Got there though…. on the one project that should have been throw away!!!!!

Never did get to the jingle or sound effects sadly.  Learned loads about garageband and sampling, came up with a tune and am well placed to working some more on the other projects in my own time.

Final version here:

—- final reflection —-

So, final thoughts following the presentations are:

  1. I barely had to write anything from scratch. 
    Application to the day job – reuse everything you can first before starting from scratch
  2. Touch interfaces are the future.
    Garageband was actually very easy to pick up, particularly on the iPad.  Even though I had some issues, it is a good, intuitive, user experience and it’s a delight to use in many ways.  The touch interface on the iPad was actually nicer than the mouse-operated desktop version – less complicated but also better featured in many ways – being able to play the piano directly on screen for example.  It was really a processing-power thing that meant I had to swap.
  3. The 80/20 rule is alive and well.
    The piece of music was 80% there by lunch time (about 2 hours of actual effort) and the last 20% took the remaining 8 hours i had.  Really need to keep this in mind when we’re estimating work and planning resource.
  4. It’s amazing what can be achieved when you pull together with passion and purpose.
    Seeing everyone work together on stuff they’re passionate about has been a massive inspiration.  There are so many ways I’ve seen that we can improve our production process to be more effective, fun and achieve better results.

About finchleymusic

Businessman, Singer/songwriter, traveller, worship leader & mentor
This entry was posted in Business, Design, Music, play, Social Media, Technology, Web, work. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Mando plAy challenge

  1. oddjones says:

    Was quite disappointed it didn’t end up sounding like Twenty Twelve’s “sonic signature” 😉

  2. Anthony Dry says:

    Really, really enjoyed today, much more than I anticipated. It was great to work in a team with people I would not normally partake in my day to day duties and it was encouraging and inspiring to let those people create and learn, doing design orientated tasks and teaching them things in PhotoShop! I also learned the value that can be obtained from others and what they bring to the table. Great blog and a really positive day, proud of the lads and lasses I saw today giving a lot of passion and enthusiasm to achieve a target in a small timeframe.

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