The next generation of music makers will never ask the question “Can I really make a hit song in a bedroom studio?” Instead they will simply do it and assume it’s normal.
That’s exactly what LA based artist/DJ Gnash has been doing the last few years as he is churning out cart topping hits (like 2016s breakout single I Hate U, I Love U) with home studio equipment in a tiny garage studio at his childhood home, where he still lives with his parents.
The emphasis has never been on the gear and studio, but rather the songs and the audience – just as it should be.
This $200 Mic From Guitar Center
Getting his start as a DJ, the up and coming pop artist Gnash (Garrett Charles Nash) turned to original songwriting and started making music in his dad’s garage.
Still living at home, Gnash and his dad converted one third of their garage into a small, but doable home studio, where Gnash has recorded every song he’s done. And the best part? According to a recent interview in the Tampa Bay Times he uses budget equipment.
“My dad got me the same mic I use on everything now – this $200 mic form Guitar Center” – Gnash
I love it.
He has a microphone that’s working great (as any mic over $100 will do) and he’s not spending hours on forums or Facebook trying to find out what is “the best mic” for recording vocals. Instead he’s just using what he has and making hit songs.
And ultimately that’s a huge reason why he’s becoming successful.
He’s putting in the time to make lots of music and get it out there, rather than debate what equipment is “professional” enough to make a record.
And speaking of “getting it out there”, let’s talk about his approach to releasing music.
Dropping Singles As Soon As You Write Them
The pattern for as long as I can remember has been for artists to spend about one to two years writing, recording, mixing, and preparing to release an album or collection of songs.
Thus, every two to three years, every major artist would (and in most cases still does) release a brand new album to the world, complete with new singles, music videos, and an announcement of new tour dates.
Music was created on a 2 year cycle.
But the last couple of years I’ve seen a change and have personally been advocating for a change in release method for most modern musicians. Moving away from the 2 year album cycle to the yearly or even monthly cycle.
Gnash is a great example of someone who is doing just that – “preferring to drop new singles almost as soon as he writes and records them”.
According to Billboard Magazine, even with his 2016 hit I Hate U, I Love U he simply finished it and put it out online for all to hear.
I mixed it, finished the verse, fixed it, and put it out on the same night — and I went inside to my house ’cause I work in my garage, I make all my stuff out there — and I went into my mom’s bedroom like, “Mom, I just put my biggest song ever out,” kinda joking, and she was like, “Go back to bed, honey.” That’s about the extent of what I thought the song was gonna be. – Gnash
How home studio is that?
Writing, recording, mixing, and releasing music on a song by song basis is not only a reasonable way to approach music making as an artist it’s smart for your brand.
Simply Staying Focused On Creating Cool Stuff
To get a feel for how Gnash works on music and how he stays focused on the important things, you have to check out this 10 minute mini-documentary. After a few minutes you instantly realize that he’s captivated by music and creativity.
*Just a heads up, there’s some explicit language in the video.
He’s always looking for new sounds, new ideas, and new songs.
Using simple gear like an Apollo Twin and some KRK monitors, Gnash just spends time creating and collaborating, trying to make something that is “cool” that will connect with his fans.
And isn’t that what we are all trying to do?
If you’re reading this, then you likely have a home studio with a simple setup that allows you to record and mix your own music. And if you don’t, then the good news is it doesn’t take much. Even $350 will get you all you need!
Once you have the simple setup, it all comes down to creating cool music. Music that inspires YOU as an artist and that will connect with and inspire others.
That takes time.
Time to write, record, experiment, share, revise, create, share more, and engage with others who love music.
And every time you create and share a piece of music you get better. That’s how you improve. Not by perfecting something, but by producing something.
Gnash is a great example of this “recording revolution” we are living through. He’s taking advantage of it. How about you?
What is one thing you can do this week to kick your music making into high gear? Will you write a song in a day? Release a mix you’ve been pouring over for too long? Plan a live show in your town?
Leave a comment below and let’s encourage one another to actually focus on music making and not debating gear!