Writing tunes

Continuum

Throb Farmer
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So. HOW THE FUCK DO YOU DO IT THEN EH?
I've been sitting here all bastarding night with nothing to show for it but a load of boring badly produced shit honestly I don't know why I bother I should go to the fucking pub like normal people or watch the tv or maybe abuse myself...mutter grumble mumble bah
 

soliptic

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all night?

mate i've been sitting for six months without coming up with a bean :mad:
 

Reconstructed

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The more you think about tunewriting the more barriers your brain puts up, in my experience.

All of what I consider my best material has come at the very end or very beginning of my session when I am trying new things or just going on intuition. Taking time off from anything musically or audio related can help too, as well as listening to a very different style of music.

I think the key is to not force it. I can remember one instance where I labored for several hours to get a groove going only to go to sleep in dismay, not having come up with anything exciting. I woke up later, sometime in the middle of the night with a killer beat and bassline in my head, powered up the computer and had at getting it straightened out for the next hour or so.

Who the hell knows anyways, inspiration is a mysterious beast.
 

Abstraction

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walk away from the computer, and do something that will get your imagination going, read a book or watch a film or go out and sit in the garden and watch the stars for a bit, if your out in the sticks listen to the silence.

normaly works for me anyway :Smile3:
 

soliptic

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Reconstructed said:
I can remember one instance where I labored for several hours to get a groove going only to go to sleep in dismay, not having come up with anything exciting. I woke up later, sometime in the middle of the night with a killer beat and bassline in my head, powered up the computer and had at getting it straightened out for the next hour or so.

and therein lies the problem

damn jobs.... :no:
 

Warwick Bassmonkey

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AlternateContinuum said:
So. HOW THE FUCK DO YOU DO IT THEN EH?
I've been sitting here all bastarding night with nothing to show for it but a load of boring badly produced shit honestly I don't know why I bother I should go to the fucking pub like normal people or watch the tv or maybe abuse myself...mutter grumble mumble bah

Congratulate yourself on having high standards, and that you're not one of those people who just settle with what they manage to churn out.

Anything I've ever laid down that's half decent has either:

- been a complete accident or random wandering
- come to me while I've been waking up in the morning, meaning I have to rush in and fire everything up before it goes out my head. Sometimes I make it, usually not.

I've never been able to sit down and just do something. Most of my ideas come to me when I'm sitting on the train in the morning, when I can't do anything with 'em.... and they're lost for ever.

You just can't turn creativity on and off when it is convenient... well, I can't anyway.

I'm happy to just carry on bashing away, knowing that 99% of what I lay down is going to be tosh. It's the 1% that makes it worth it.

I'm yer original monkey behind a typewriter.
 

saxopholus

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What seems to work for me is to be working with different sequencers and vsts and just trying things. Often turn about to be a bit pants, but then perhaps in a session I might get 3 seperate ideas down for tunes and chuck away one. when u have a start u can then make it better, which is often the case when I start something in Reason and then have to go thru the Rewiring process throwing some nice plug-ins at the individual parts. That in itself can yield good, unexpected results. Maybe what was one part in Reason becomes 2.

So i think perhaps it is a question of process. If u can try different things so u are not faced witht he same starting point every time it helps. Maybe start with the piano keyboard rather than say starting with the beats, or start with a lead synth and see what falls naturally.

Personally I might start with a pad and then see what sounds fit with it. Or I might start with a break (dnb stuff :Wink3: ) and see what hooks into that. Experimentation really.

Good luck!
 

psyfi

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Monkey Do said:
Ott^ said:
It comes when it comes and you can't force it.

You gonna be using that one when we're still waiting for your next album in 2036?

No that’s the one he uses on the ladies :bananase:
 

The Phonographist

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Recently, after struggling for a while I've slightly renewed my fiath in my own production by collaberating with somebody else and sharing ideas together. It seems really productive if you can work well with a partner.

Or take a holiday somewhere hot..... :sun: :Grin:
 
O

Ott^

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Monkey Do said:
Ott^ said:
It comes when it comes and you can't force it.

You gonna be using that one when we're still waiting for your next album in 2036?

I dunno what Soliptic is panicking about - I haven't finished a tune in about 18 months.

Instead, I've been going to parties and having a life, and its been really good fun. After spending 5 years locked in the studio, learning to write songs, I decided it would probably be healthy to have a year or so off and recharge the batteries. Get a bit of fresh air - meet a beautiful woman - stuff like that. I felt I could rest on my laurels a bit because I'd finally made a record I was proud of. Took 20 years but I got there in the end.


Three weeks ago i sat down and decided to get on with making the next one, and although it was slow at first, I'm gathering momentum and now its all starting to flow.

I've started 20-odd tunes this year and finished none of them. As we all know, any idiot can start a tune, but it takes real graft and concentration to finish them. All it takes to destroy my concentration is one phone call, so getting into the right headspace can be difficult when I have to go out and play a gig every weekend. I don't know how anyone can hold down a job and write music. I won't bang on about it but I reckon its an issue for a lot of people.

As my old Granny used to say, "If you have nothing to say, keep quiet". This applies to music too I think. If you have nothing to express, stay away from your studio. Deliberately stay away from it and let the ideas build up. Take up fishing or write short stories - anything. How many times have you sat down at your computer and knocked up some bass and drums in the hope of becoming inspired by them, only to bin them 2 hours later because nothing is coming? This is corrosive, I think, because when you've done that a few times your confidence can take a real beating.

Bass and drums are easy - especially with trance [waits for snorts of indignation]. Its the stuff over the top that requires real inspiration, so rather than starting with, say, a kik drum and bassline, why not start with a vocal or a melody? Work out what it is you are actually trying to say and say it as succinctly as possible, and only THEN add the supporting elements.

If all you are trying to say is "DOOFdubbaDOOFdubbaDOOFdubbaDOOF..." then you can do that in about 10 minutes. Trouble is, thats already been said a thousand times already, so the real challenge [and one that lots of people shy away from] is to say something that resonates, even if it only resonates with you. When you are describing a blinding tune you heard at a party one night, you never say "It was the one that went DOOFdubbaDOOFdubbaDOOFdubbaDOOF..." do you? The bits that stick out are the bits that make the tune what it is - and these are the bits that you should spend your time trying to realise.

That is not to say the drums and bass aren't important, obviously.


A while back I was talking to Simon about my lack of motivation in the studio and he made a great suggestion.

"Sit in your studio and just make sounds. Don't write a tune or anything - just build up a folder full of random sounds made of whatever you can find. After a while, you'll be so bursting to use them that tunes will just start falling out."

So I did.

And they have.
 

soliptic

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I'm not panicking. I've been here before, I've come out of it before, when there's someting to be written I'll write it. I was just pointing out the OP's one evening is extremely soon to be complaining about "writers block" :hehe:
 

Continuum

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Ott^ said:
I don't know how anyone can hold down a job and write music.

I can't. However if I was to shitcan the job and concentrate on the tunes then maybe just maybe I could get a couple of tunes a year out on crappy little goa compilations and maybe make £50. Obviously my partner and kiddie would complain about having to live on noodles and lentils in a dank shed so thats not an option really.
I only play with sequencers and stuff for fun. After a hard day at work I find it really relaxes the mind and gets me thinking in a way that work just doesn't satisfy....so...I suppose I should just enjoy what ever it is that I do and stop moaning about it

Ott^ said:
"Sit in your studio and just make sounds. Don't write a tune or anything - just build up a folder full of random sounds made of whatever you can find. After a while, you'll be so bursting to use them that tunes will just start falling out."

Wise words, mate :Smile3:
 

Missing-Link

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i am teaching at the mo and i have no time to write music, all i do is go home look at my equipment and decide i am to nakkerd to do anything....

but when i do its gooooooooddddddd fun...

i find that you lay down a good groove and let the fingers to the rest. im still learning and thats ok ...:Smile3:
 

RezN8

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:goodthre:

Nice one guys!

For what it's worth, I'm finding all sorts of ideas falling out of attempting to remix a track kindly donated by Pysfi ... cheers dude!

Another source of inspiration, and cheap too, is to pop down to the nearest Digital Village and plug into their sample CD stand. Alternatively, the Time & Space website is a good starting point, with mp3 sample samples ... :huh: ... and links to their suppliers.

I find auditioning samples can really get the juices going ... using them as building blocks, roughing out the track, then going back in and replacing the blocks with smaller, more granular pieces.

Starting with a blank screen is just too painfull :no: :?
 

psyfi

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When I'm not writing tunes its because I can't. This use to bother me but after time you realise that when the time comes you have no choice but to write tunes. I think that part of writing is knowing what to do when you not. And not to worry about it. Plus inspiration is never really that far away it just seems like that if you are looking for it. :rocker:
 
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