On January 1st 2016, I set out to create a track every day for 365 days using only an OP-1.
I was inspired by Reza Ali, Zach Lieberman and others who had completed their 365 daily projects and written about how important and fulfilling it can be to set aside time and commit to a creative process that’s unfamiliar and outside of the daily grind.
I spent around 20 minutes to an hour each night (usually after everyone went to bed) to carve out a piece of my time to be creative in a way that’s totally unrelated to my work (designing stuff and making stuff). My daily sketch had to be something I could complete in 30 mins, not screen based, and creative in ways that were outside my usual domain.
There were plenty of days that I felt lazy and posted total garbage in a hurry, but I think that’s part of the exercise. I wasn’t precious with the results or the process. I learned to not be afraid to start from scratch. I learned to not be afraid to post things I wasn’t totally happy with (maybe not a good thing). All the tracks were originally posted to Sound Cloud.
In the end, I’m left with a lot of tracks. Some have already been used as soundtracks for product videos at cwandt.com. So at least we have that.
I noticed I like to make beats at around 60-75 bpm. Which was surprising because I used to DJ house, hiphop and breakbeats (90-120 bpm), so maybe it’s my age or just my taste in music that’s change, but a surprise nonetheless.
I used the OP-1’s built in FM radio sampler A LOT. The OP-1 is an amazing piece of hardware. It’s impressive because it has an incredibly intuitive interface and a depth that seems endless. It’s soooo thoughtfully designed.
I often found myself returning to similar sources for samples a week at a time. I used jazz radio stations, classical music stations, forgetify (scouring unplayed music on spotify), 50s, 60s, 20s music, brass bands and others. Some weeks I'd avoid samples and try to only use the OP-1's synth and drums. I think in those weeklong chunks of focus, I'd get into a groove, get lazy because it got easier to make something good enough, so I'd try to break everything and find a different approach to explore. I learned a lot about how I get lazy, bored and then find ways to break out my boredom.
Super special thanks to Taylor, my partner in everything, who put up with my absence in the 365 or so hours I spent not being present. There were times that were hard between us and I thought the right thing to do was give up, but Taylor, even in the hardest moments, encouraged me to keep going. I couldn’t ask for a better partner. I love you! Thank you!
Below are the results of playing with an OP-1 everyday for 365 days straight. Most of these tracks are garbage, but I do like a few of them. If you want to listen to them, you shouldn’t have to suffer listening through a the sucky ones, so I went ahead and marked the ones that I like with an asterisk*.
Enjoy! cw @sayway
PS. My next 365 is basically this, but on a modular synth that I have to finish buildling :)