We have been through one insane year, with ups and downs, and sadly no live music or festivals to speak of, aside from virtual ones. If you are an artist or a DJ you have been forced to innovate, rethink things, and often face massive bouts of creative blocks. The good news is that with more people getting vaccinated and the CDC relaxing restrictions, things are starting to head back to normal, slowly but surely.
We got our second jabs of the vaccine and two weeks later hit the road to find some inspiration and well, just go somewhere besides our home studio. So we grabbed our Roland MC-101, Ableton Push 2, Traktor S3 Controller, Audeze LCD-1s and Maschine+ and headed for a cabin to get some fresh air and make some beats.
Just outside Denver, there is an often-overlooked town called Idaho Springs, for many people, it’s just a pit stop to get gas or just wait out ski traffic and sip some beers at Westbound and Down. However, there is a lot more to explore in this old mining town than you might think, and if you head the other direction you are in pure wilderness in a matter of minutes. Our cabin was perched right over a stream on the road up to Mt. Evans, a popular destination for hikers and campers. Perfect scenery to make tunes, relax and yes, drink a lot of beer.
So here are some tips to get your creative juices fired up and hopefully making or performing some music outside.
Tip Number One – Change your location and use nature to inspire your creative process.
Changing your perspective is important and producing music in nature can bring you vibes you never thought possible. Watch Analog Case user Omega dB rock it outside here.
Tip Number Two – Use gear that works without an outlet and lets you get out of the box aka the computer.
So working outside is great, but it requires either a big (and expensive) power bank or gear that runs on batteries. A great example of this is the Roland MC-101 Groove box. This little guy has four channels and lets you load up a variety of sounds as well, so you are not just limited to the onboard sounds. It takes a little practice to get the menu diving down, but once you get the hang of it you will be making some grooves in no time. Another great option is the Novation Tracks Groovebox, which is similar and in some ways even more intuitive.
If you want to DJ a set for the homies, or some squirrels (they like techno by the way), then definitely check to the Denon Prime Go, this little rig is fully equipped to rock a, errr forest, and has an onboard rechargeable battery that lasts for about four hours. It’s insane that Denon DJ basically squeezed all this functionality into such a small rig. We LOVE this thing, and it will also fit in the Analog Cases Mobile Producers Backpack.
Tip Number 3 – Bring some speakers or some really good headphones
Getting outside is fun, but what’s even more fun is pumping up the volume if you can. We use the JBL Eon One Compact Mobile speakers which get loud, and are also battery powered and will last around 8-10 hours depending on how hard you are working them. So if you are out there with some friends and want to not only make music but actually perform – these are a great bet.
If you are just trying to get into production mode and find some bliss, then a great pair of headphones is essential. We like the Audeze LCD-1 headphones for a variety of reasons. They are an open back which makes them great for being in nature as you can get that big open sound and still hear a little ambient noise. They are super portable and incredibly responsive due to the planar drivers.
Tip Number 4 – Protect your gear (duh!)
So we have a lot of gear and we don’t want it to get wrecked because of something stupid like an accidental drop, or spill, etc. Analog Cases specializes in cases for synths, Midi controllers, Audio Interfaces, etc. So chances are if you are using this kind of hardware they will have you covered, so check out www.analogcases.com for all the details.
Are you in your car/truck yet? Hopefully, these little tidbits got you stoked enough to consider making or playing some music outside or at least somewhere different, like a cozy cabin by a stream. We will leave you with this parting shot of our cozy cabin, and yes we probably drank more beer than we made music, but we did make some cool as beats and riffs, enough for some solid starts back in the studio.