/blog: a year of compo

reflecting on one year of OHC participation

published on: 2022-08-15

over a month late with this, but as of july 8th, 2022 i have been an active participant of One Hour Compo for one! whole! year!

(ignore that false start i had back in may 2018. cough cough.)

in that time, i’ve submitted a whopping thirty-seven songs of varying (dubious) quality, spent an absurd amount of money on plugins and various other music accessories, and somehow wound up in a group of interesting, intelligent, and inspiring people.

one thing i’ve always struggled with is this terrible “perfectionist” streak. nobody truly enjoys being bad at something they love, but i’m so terribly afraid of being bad that i don’t do anything at all. that’s where compo came in. every week i have about an hour (and twenty minutes) to put an idea down and commit to it, no matter how janky and terrible i think my song is.

i always end a compo thinking “man, this is by far the worst thing i’ve submitted yet.” some weeks it’s true. yet despite that, someone in the listening party or in the vote comments will mention something that resonated with them about the piece, which is always comforting.

which brings me to the feedback. everybody in the community (in the listening parties and in the votes) gives feedback in a manner that’s constructive and in no way attempts to tear down the artist personally. once in a while you’ll come across something that’s “harsh,” but in my experience, i haven’t yet encountered anything that wasn’t overtly malicious.

sure, i’ve learned a great deal about stuff like songwriting, music theory, music production and mixing, but the most invaluable skill i’ve learned from OHC is how to get an idea down quickly, and what to prioritize. for example: writing drum parts and figuring out a fancy shmancy chord progression is not something i do quickly. i’m even slower when writing lyrics. yet i know that writing something under time/theme constraints is something i always want to work on, so i gotta find ways to simplify the drum and chord parts. drum loops and tools like XO and Addictive Drums are absolute life-savers for me in that regard. ditto for chord generating tools like cthulhu and scaler2.

i’m forever grateful to everyone in ThaSauce (especially the admins, who’ve done such a great job at building a wonderful community of people), but i’ve gotta especially thank my music senpai sci for lending an ear to my weirdness and directing me here. thanks for introducing me to some cool people.