Nate, I'm just now taking this course and am ever grateful to learn your process. Have been a fan of your music since the early 2010s and I've enjoyed hearing your music evolve over the years!
I have a couple questions about your process that I hope you can provide insight on. I know many producers like me struggle with making progress on tracks due to too much time spent on composition and also sample diving.
When it comes to sketching out melodies, do you have a general criteria for avoiding over-complicating melodies? Is simpler melody almost always better with progressive tunes? I'm classically trained with a decent music theory background, but I feel that might actually be working against me when it comes to composing for trance. In this course you sketched out the melodic elements in 30min, whereas in my current production I've totally pivoted on melodic elements several times!
As for sample diving, especially for things like transition FX or drum loops, what makes one sample really better than another? With enough time and processing, can't you get just about any drum sample to sound decent in a mix? I personally spend a lot of time potentially putting lipstick on a pig, so I'd love to hear how you approach this after all your years of experience.
Thanks again for the course and I appreciate any more helpful tips you'd have to spare!