During the process of developing and creating this E.P. project, I have learned a lot about what exactly is involved in independently releasing music. There have been ideas that worked well, and some that failed and I have found certain promotion techniques successful and others less so.
Composition and Production
I am really happy with the overall sound of my E.P. My compositions were designed to almost flow into eachother, as if it was one long piece in four movements. I made use of repeating certain motifs in several of the pieces to give a sense of development and continuity along with utilising the same dark mood and dense electronic textures for all four pieces. The outcome of the compositions remain true to my initial ideas.
On the production side of things, I think I manage to capture the feel I aimed for with my influences. I feel my producing and mixing did my compositions justice. I did a lot of research and development on mastering techniques in order to really bring the music to life and raise the quality. I spent a really long time in the post production phase, trying out many different plug ins and effects before I was happy and think all of the time and effort was worth it as I am pleased with the results.
Promotion and Marketing
The promotion techniques I outlined in earlier plans were successful to a degree. As this project is a seperate entity from my normal solo music, I aimed to keep the release small scale. I’m happy with the visual teaser materials I created, and they were well recieved. I had a lot of engagement from them and they have proved to be an incredibly useful promotional tool for future referance. Social media platform Instagram was the most succesful platform for visual marketing, as the website is purely based on the sharing of photos and video and the people who use it will naturally be drawn to aesthetically pleasing materials.
Design and Packaging
The design process for the packaging of the E.P was a really enjoyable phase of this project. I intended to have a really strong branding aesthetic for this E.P. that was both distinguishable and appealing to fans of the experimental/witchhouse genre. These genres typically involve a lot of dark and esoteric symbolism often relating to religion, secret societys and the occult and so I took influence from this sort of imagery when designing my artwork.
I settled on a cover design that was simple but still conveyed a strong sense of aesthetic that related to the music itself. The final design consisted of a triangle logo with a forest silhouette at the bottom. For the physical copies, I had an initial idea to have the disc be presented in a luxury box in place of a standard jewel case, but when creating a mock up for this it didn’t quite meet my expectations. This along with the fact that the real boxes would be expensive to have made lead to me try out some different ideas.
I also played with the idea of having a really simple card sleeve for the disc also. I made further mock ups with a range of different cards of varying textures and thicknesses.Once again none of these were quite what I wanted as some were to thick, some were too textured and distorted the design etc. I finally decided to try printing my packaging onto tracing paper, and I really loved the results. The transparency of the paper made my design look rather ghostly, which suited my branding perfectly and was a unique and interesting effect. For the disc itself I chose a black CD to burn the music onto, once again to make an interesting visual look to it, and I used my home printer to print my triangle logo onto the top of the disc.
This project I felt overall went really well, it helped me gain some valuable skills I can apply and take forward to future projects. It has given me a valuable insight as to what is required to carry out a successful music project. By creating the entire project from scratch, including the ideas, compositions, marketing, and design, it showed me just how much time and work needs to be set aside for creating an album. Every phase of the creation required lots of planning, experimentation, prototyping and attention to detail, and it was very difficult at times being responsible for so much at once.
My strengths throughout the project I feel were by design work and my production. I think I was successful in creating a strong visual brand, with a well designed logo and packaging that was also unique. Im really happy with the physical copy I made as I think it visually reflects the music very well and I was able to create the strong aesthetic that I first set out to achieve which also appeals to my target audience.
With my production I am really happy with the quality I achieved, and feel it really brought my compositions to life and added depth and character to my sound. I am pleased that all four pieces have a continuity to them that gives a distinctive style to the E.P. I look forward to continuing to develop my mastering technique in order to make even better sound quality in the future.
My biggest weakness I think was time management. I feel I spent a lot trying to settle upon an idea and used a lot of time researching and developing the initial idea I had which I ultimately ended up scrapping, This was detrimental later on in the process and I feel that time could have been better spent. Despite this I feel happy that I gathered enough information whilst researching my initial idea to be able to make the executive choice to adapt and change my idea to make the content more palatable for audiences. I feel if I had settled upon and idea sooner, I might have been able to keep the “visual album” aspect to my intial idea which would have offered a much deeper exploration on the E.P.’s themes.
If I were to continue working on this project or to do it again I would have managed my time better and created video to go along with the album. I feel if the E.P would reach its full potential as a multimedia piece and creating music videos for all four tracks would be a very interesting and fulfilling experience.