It can be daunting playing your track to someone, especially when it’s not finished. But this is exactly how Kathy Brauer’s first release – a flawless synth pop gem – was forged.

In the lead up to a group listening session with trainer and mentor Doug, Kathy quickly threw together something to show the group. In these events, Liveschool students come together to share what they have been working on and share constructive feedback in an open and supportive environment – something not easy to get when you’re producing solo.

As it sometimes goes, the song that comes together the quickest can turn out the best. Without the luxury of time, Kathy was forced to throw away set methods she had previously relied on and just get it done. She told us about this breakthrough, and it’s a great insight to share…

 

How long did you spend on the track? Is this longer or shorter than the usual process to create a song for you?

The first demo I finished in a couple of hours as a result of not having new material to show (Doug was my Liveschool mentor and had heard the other stuff I was working on at the time). The process usually takes me at least twice as long.

What did you use to create it? Did having time pressure change your workflow?

At first I tried synthesizing all the sounds myself, but soon realized “ain’t nobody got time for that” and switched to samples. Having a timeline helped me prioritize finishing a demo of the idea, rather than insisting on each of its parts being a kind of solipsistic trophy. (Not that that wouldn’t have been cool, life is just short).

How did you feel when you presented the track? What was the feedback like?

Nervous because it was an extremely rough draft, but also comforted by the vulnerability in the room. If ever there’s a good place to practice presenting unfinished work, it’s in a group of people who are doing the same. Having a really generous instructor there helped as well (cheers, Doug!).

What was the process after this to get the track to the finished / release ready state?

I worked for a few more days to incorporate feedback from Doug and the other students, but didn’t want to go down a rabbit hole. I used the original draft vocals and tried not to fuss too much about having a perfect structure. I gave the last demo to my older brother for mixing and mastering as I haven’t done that module yet. He helped me understand when it was ready and why.

How are you feeling about it now? Is there any lesson you will take away from the experience of creating this one that you can use going forward?

It’s both rewarding and uncanny, but I especially enjoy its simplicity. Two key takeaways were the a) merits of minimalism and b) learning to forego feelings of control and insecurity. Getting it done feels better than obsessing over it being perfect. Having Liveschool students and staff as a support structure was a core factor in finishing this. Many thanks for that!