The highs and lows of producing music in your home studio/kitchen

Created: Jan 25, 2023 | Updated: Dec 16, 2023 | GA quality | High importance

I don't really want to give a detailed history of my experiences with writing and recording music here. Like most folks, I've been experimenting with music and instruments from a very young age. In the 90s, I "recorded" music using a MIDI interface that connected to my 68k Mac's serial port. In college, I experimented with electronic music with Reason 1.0 (1.0!), but didn't have a proper setup for recording acoustic/electric instruments or vocals. After that, I gradually built a home recording setup that I liked that lived in my bedroom at one apartment and later in my kitchen.

I think the interesting bits start with the formation of my "band". In 2017, I got more "serious" about recording music in my kitchen, and decided that with some help from a remote drummer in the UK and DistroKid, I could actually release some polished music to Spotify (which is what I considered "making it"). So I did. That was the Pink Fluffy Cloud single. Releasing the single was definitely a high point. I printed out business cards with the album art and a URL on it. Between the drums, and recording the vocals in an actual studio and getting it mixed and mastered, the project cost about $1200.

Okay 2018 is a long time ago. We've had a new US president and at least one global pandemic since then. The pandemic years can be considered wasted because there was so much confusion and uncertainty during that time. But what about 2019? What about 2022 [ed: 2023]? Why hasn't Danger Third Rail released any new music?

Sometimes, it's a problem of getting going and writing the songs.

But in this case, I've actually written the songs. I've got about a dozen that I have even recorded demos of that I consider high enough quality to release. Yes, I am still thinking about the 100:10:1 rule, but if you look at my drafts/demos website at, you'll see that I have actually written 100s of songs and song fragments (though I apparently posted nothing at all in 2022, which is a crime).

I started taking mixing lessons so I could mix and master the songs myself, to make the album 100% DIY. However, the mixing lessons were hard and hard to keep up with. I haven't felt like at my current skill level I could do the songs justice. At the same time, I don't want to spend thousands of dollars to get them professionally mixed and mastered, since I've made a grand total of about 50 bucks ever selling music (from Spotify/iTunes/Amazon/YouTube payments and Bandcamp donations).

Really, it's not sustainable to continue paying others to mix and master my music, even if I stopped hiring Emily to do the drums and just used software. I need to learn to do it myself. I need to DIY the shit out of it.

It could be a problem of motivation. Am I happy with what I've already done? Am I resting on my laurels, as thin as they might be?


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