I’ve never been a big team player, or any team player for that matter, but working as a team when it comes to music is a whole different ball game. There are many benefits to working as a team but the main thing is that it changes you and your beats – for the better. Beat making, music production, whatever you want to call it, is pretty much a one-man-band situation, and that’s fine. However, you can greatly benefit from working with a team, like these four ways:
1. Share Ideas
Probably the best thing about working with other producers is that you’re able to share ideas. I remember building a snow fort (for all those that live in warm climates, yes, kids build forts out of snow and defend it to the death), and we would all have our own ideas of how the fort should be built. But the common factor in building the fort was that we knew it had to be built! We were all trying to build something, yet we all had different ideas. I would want to put a tunnel right underneath an opening, and my friend would want to put a castle top over my tunnel. (We made an awesome fort until high school kids came by and destroyed it. True story.)
The same thing applies to making music. You might have one person that is really good at drums, and another that is good at just overseeing the whole project. Regardless, you all have different ideas and visions, and you can take advantage of that by sharing your ideas with one another. This will open your eyes to lots of possibilities, and things that you didn’t even think of. (Put an extra snare on the 4th bar? I didn’t even think of that!)
2. Build Your Skills
Sharing ideas is great, because that leads to you building your skills. In the 90’s when there were DJ crews popping up all over the globe, the thing I always noticed was that everyone in the crew was dope. Some were better than others, but they were all great in their own way and that’s because they were able to build their skills while being part of a team.
Even if you have been producing music for years, I’m sure there’s certain areas that you would like to improve, or that you know are not your strong points. That’s fine, because no one is perfect. So having a team to back you up, encourage you, and even better – to show you how to do certain things, will build your skills much quicker than if you were to practice on your own or try and learn by watching a YouTube video.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
That is why some people are better than others at certain things. I can make websites, code, make beats, DJ, and I know a lot about fitness – but I’m not perfect at any of those things. For some, they like to be perfect at one thing and that’s fine, others, like myself, are GOOD at a bunch of things. The thing is, I would like to get better at certain things, so being able to practice until your arms fall off is the only way (unless you want to take 40 years to be great at something).
With a crew, it encourages you to practice, practice, practice. You will be able to meet up each week and feed off each other, all the while getting better at your craft. After tons of practice…
4. Make Banging Beats
This is what you’re after! It’s all about the music production and what you can come up with after practicing your butt off, learning new skills, and getting new ideas from other members of your team. Back in the day, there were actual top level production crews that were killing it on the Hip Hop scene, such as The Bomb Squad, which consisted of:
Eric “Vietnam” Sadler
Kerwin “Sleek” Young
They were known to use dozens and probably hundreds of samples on each beat, layering tiny bits of a sound and then piece it all together like some sort of organized chaos. They would spend hours in the studio working on tracks, and the results showed, obviously. And I’m sure it helped that they worked together as a team, no?