What It’s Like Being a DIY Musician and Creating Visual Art for Music


Being a DIY Artist/Musician

Being a DIY musician means more than just creating music entirely on one’s own. In most cases, being a DIY musician means creating time and space for all things related to putting your music out into the world. Creating music, in my opinion, should first and foremost be done only if you feel compelled to do so and feel in love with it, and does not always need to be for others.

A DIY musician like me is creating music not only because it is the only thing that makes sense in the world to them, but because they fully intend on making a career of it. We haven’t had much luck working with others, we don’t have thousands of dollars to drop at once on studio time and album release packages, and we are a little bit, if not a lot, introverted. (This isn’t the rule by any means, simply my observations of other DIY musicians and myself.)

The DIY musician: writes, composes, records, produces, mixes and/or masters the music; as well as: promotes the music, pays for distribution, creates the visuals for the music, connecting and networking, etc.

Some of the equipment I use for music production: Maschine MK3; Allen & Heath ZedFX 10; Akai MPK mini Midi controller; Roland Vt-4

You can, of course, get help from others like an artist or videographer friend, but if you’re like me, being a DIY musician means you do everything involved with your music.

Working alone is just something some of us need to do. We will need help from others, at times, but for the majority of the time, we are joyfully tucked in the corner of a room with our music equipment, our computer/recording equipment, and our minds.

The Struggle to Connect

Despite my persistence through life to connect with other musicians and form working music projects, it is not something I can easily do.

I struggle to communicate my ideas to others. The way my imagination and creativity flows is not linear in any way shape or form. When I am building a track, I jump around from drums to synth, to drums to bass, and so on. Even in lyric writing, the words rarely ever appear in a linear fashion until I force them into be such.

I believe I have struggled working with others because of my intense traits when it comes to my music, as well. I can be hyper-critical of my work, and can become fixated on getting something as close to the way I want it to sound as possible that I won’t even think about anything else until I get it right.

In the past when working with others, I have noticed they usually are tired far before I am ready to quit playing. They will be hungry and I will have only an appetite for music. Because of this, I believe, my experiences working with others have often been short lived.

Introverted-Extrovert

When most people meet me they perceive me as outgoing and extroverted. In reality I am severely introverted with a compulsion to be extroverted. An introverted-extrovert, if you will. The trait works well with being a DIY musician and artist in many ways except for the part where connections help your music reach more people.

Social media, when used as a tool, allows my music, my art, and me to connect with people I wouldn’t typically ever meet because I rarely leave my house, but the social anxiety I feel can be intense.

Anxiety sinks in almost immediately after posting anything which contains my face, and quite often simply anything I create. This strange fear of judgement I assume is innate because I find myself in a conundrum of not caring what others think of me, while deeply fearing their judgement and rejection.

Admittedly, I truly struggle with being myself and not putting on a “mask” for the world, but my main goal for the remainder of my life is to not wear a mask for society. My goal is to be myself, whom ever that self may be.

Creating Visual Art for Salty Moon Arcade

As I mentioned, DIY musicians usually have to create the visuals for their music on their own. Luckily with platforms like Instagram and TikTok, and devices like smart phones and tablets, it has become easier for the DIY musician to create and share simple to complex visuals for their work.

For Salty Moon Arcade, I imagine neon lights, bright colors, and trippy patterns and designs. I want it to be fun, psychedelic, and inspired by pop culture. Using Procreate, I created the first design for the music, though I am not quite sure where and if I will use it.

Here is a quick time lapse video:

And, as always, I also made it into a gif.

The gif was actually in perfect unison with the beat of the song I was listening to while making it, which I found amusing.

The coolest thing to come out of starting this music project so far is the imagination it is inspiring in me. I can already see that imagination translating into even this design.

Cheers to the Future Now

I feel inspired by this project and I can’t wait to see what happens with it. That’s the fun thing about being a DIY artist and musician, you get to have as much control or free flowing-ness with the art and music as you want. No one to tell you which direction to take your creativity in, and so, you can allow it to become whatever the world needs it to be.

Check out Salty Moon Arcade on Spotify

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