Jump to content

Total lack of inspiration.


Recommended Posts

you said something about not digressing into other genres because you're not very good at it, right?

why not just take a while off from electronic-style stuff and learn a new genre? I mean, it couldn't hurt to expand your skill set, and it could just be the right kind of break you need to get back into your groove.

I did Subterranean Opus, Lover Reef, and four songs for an orchestral/ethnic video game soundtrack in between my last original electronic piece and now. While I got some enjoyment out of that, those things are not my main interest. You might as well have told Johnny Cash to do something different than country. Electronica is what I want to do. I have worked in (and continue to work in) many different genres but the only thing that makes me truly happy is electronic music - creating good examples of it, anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 101
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

The problem is not in creating small component parts. As you can hear with the above examples, I am quite capable of creating very basic synthlines and grooves. Anything past that I have been unable to do. If I were able to write even the simplest of hooks or melodies I would not have writer's block. Even 'remix' style music requires some sort of motif or building block to go off of.

In other words, if I only have garbage available to me, the only thing that will come out is garbage. Song production 101 :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow. I always thought, when I had slumps, "when I get as good as all those judges and stuff, let the music flow. I can't possibly release anything bad or get stuck once I'm that good."

But I guess I was wrong. Eh, I dunno. Work with common chord progressions, make simple, catchy stuff with good production that will sound good no matter what, may kind of get the juices flowing. Really though, I bet you'll work through it with time soon enough.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find that immersing myself in others non-musical art helps me a lot. Stories, Pictures and stuff tends to inspire me. Hell, webcomcis inspire me. No idea if it will work for you, but maybe it will.

A lot of things inspire me in the sense of "Wow, that's beautiful" - but nothing leads me to actual notes in the sequencer. I don't look at art and suddenly hear the melody "A - B - C - B - F - E" (from good morning, by tefnek btw). I wish that were the case.

Interesting. I must say, with me its not like the notes pop into my head, but they get me thinking. Its when I am reflecting on something that the music comes. Even then, often it is only vauge ideas, like wanting a certain bit of the song to sound dark, while another needs to suggest water dripping. Its then up to knowing what sounds dark, and what sounds like water dripping, and put that in the song.

So I suppose its not like the art inspires we to write music directly - its more like it gives me some sort of emotional framework to work with, which in turn gives my muse something to work with.

I don't know. Muses are fickle things, and sometimes when they go away they take a while to come back. It is a damn shame that someone as excellent as you had your muse go all tempremental on you. A damn shame.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i had like a year and a half long drought. it sucked. immensely. i find that practicing with my band helps a lot, but now that everyone's in school/at work/married we rarely find time to jam out anymore. but when we do, it really does help get you motivated to do something.

though i've practically given up on writing anything by mouse anymore. i just can't do it. i'll have something in my head, but when i actually get it down, it sounds very different. this is where it helps to know an instrument. so when something does pop into my head, i can play it on piano or guitar and work from there.

but i definately know how much it sucks to have musician's block. :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Improvisation has always helped me out. When i was stuck for a while, i pulled up a sampler, attached as many random sounds to it as possible, and then played along to a semi-cool song in the background. It didnt sound good, but it got my head out of a linear mindframe, which helped alot. Also opening old sparse mixes and humming a improvised melody along get me thinking differently.

I also tried mixing up classics... i had a midi of 'Mars' i was working on to improve my sample control (which was failing) so i changed some brass sounds to this thin synth, and shifted its pitch down a tone. It sounded funny, so i changed other instruments around, either by attaching effects or just their performance style (ie arco to marc). It was still recognisable but its was different (added a swing backbeat after that... XD damn it was bad)

Musics always been expression to me, and people dont always work within certain logical patterns and styles. Sometimes its good to detach from harmonies and structure and everything that you get taught, and just make something because thats what you feel, as cheesy as that sounds.

Alternitvly, mabey you just need a new surrounding for a bit... go somewhere new, meet with someone new, experience something unusual, even just for a weekend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a veritable graveyard of over 20-25 project files of failed songs and WIPs.

I've got about 60-70 of those song orphans, and I think soc has an assload as well. Sometimes what gives me inspiration is when I get a new VST and play around with the settings, then have to throw some drums in to make it sound better...then a track pops out. Hit up KVR and grab any instruments/demos you can get your hands on to see if that method works for you.

-steve

PS: I've gone back to old songs maybe 3-4 times now and ended up completing them just by swapping instruments out and liking the sound better.

Edit: I've also never "allowed" myself to have musician's block, even if all I was churning out was utter shit. Work on 2 or 3 songs at a time. Force yourself to make a song using nothing but FL default samples and presets, but try to make it sound good enough that people won't say "default FL, yo!" Go find some drum tablature and steal it, building old songs into new electronica (one of my favorite original songs is built entirely around James Brown's "Cold Sweat" drum tab). Download a tracker and make a song or two with that instead of FL. Don't be afraid to get out of a rut and do things differently. Replace all your drum samples with Folgers Crystals...er, I mean random sound files. Remix older songs of yours that you do like (I'm doing this right now with one). Get a tape recorder and make your own weird samples, then use them. Do a remix comprised entirely of samples of you hitting your desk, rattling silverware in a glass, dragging heavy shit across the rug, and whacking metal objects together.

If you don't find something inspiring in that pile of stuff, become a monk and renounce technology. :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you don't find something inspiring in that pile of stuff, become a monk and renounce technology. :P

That's what I'm talking about. Shave your head and wear one of those goofy orange robes. :lol:

But seriously, there are a lot of good suggestions in here. Personally, when I have no ideas to work with, I like listening to music (in various styles) or just jamming on an instrument for a while. Usually I'll come across a couple melodies or chord progressions that just click with me... which usually all end up in songs that I never really "finish" :)

I once made a thread similar to this in another forum. I got a lot of encouraging posts and suggestions like you've gotten. Probably the most interesting suggestion I got was somebody told me to play chess. Didn't really work for me as I am really bad at chess (I lost to my computers chess game's AI in 7 turns, yes, 7 turns.... while it was on the 2nd easiest diffuculty setting :oops: ) But hey, it works for some people, and I'm sure you'll find something that works for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ehm, those demos were all pretty cool. I have no idea where your problem is :). Do you ever just jam along with your songs? Maybe some sort of less linear sequencing methods are in order...like Ableton Live or something.

Yeah, I jam along all the time, but nothing usable comes out of them. Again the difficulty is not in creating little clips - it's that I'll complete as much as I did in those demos and hit a dead end. Any additional work I try to force makes them even worse. It's infuriating.

A different sequencer is something I'm considering, but I do not have the money to purchase more software right now.

I've got about 60-70 of those song orphans, and I think soc has an assload as well. Sometimes what gives me inspiration is when I get a new VST and play around with the settings, then have to throw some drums in to make it sound better...then a track pops out. Hit up KVR and grab any instruments/demos you can get your hands on to see if that method works for you.

Considering how many VSTs and sample CDs I already have.. I can assure you I've tried this method and it doesn't work at all. The "Enlightened" demo came out of Sytrus presets, for example, but that's all I was able to write. I ran out of ideas.

Improvisation has always helped me out. When i was stuck for a while, i pulled up a sampler, attached as many random sounds to it as possible, and then played along to a semi-cool song in the background. It didnt sound good, but it got my head out of a linear mindframe, which helped alot. Also opening old sparse mixes and humming a improvised melody along get me thinking differently.

This is something I've also tried. I'll load up some loops or hits in something like Battery 2 or Stylus RMX and just kind of jam or play along to songs in Winamp. However, this has never given me any song ideas. I've even tried using non-traditional sounds as you suggested. For example, over the weekend I started this new project. I heard a Stylus RMX chopped guitar loop that I thought sounded cool, then replicated that progression and tone with Lyrical Distortion samples. I tweaked that a bit and spent some time getting the guitar sound down that I wanted. Then I loaded up about 20-25 'weird' drum samples and layered some patterns, creating an interesting drum beat which I then combined with RMX material. Then I sat there for the rest of the day with no ideas of what to do with that. And the next day.

Alternitvly, mabey you just need a new surrounding for a bit... go somewhere new, meet with someone new, experience something unusual, even just for a weekend.

This is a great idea. Unfortunately, I'm in college (so I don't have time to go anywhere), I don't have a car, I don't have much money, and I live in the middle of a city that I'm unfamiliar with so I wouldn't know where to go anyway.

though i've practically given up on writing anything by mouse anymore. i just can't do it. i'll have something in my head, but when i actually get it down, it sounds very different. this is where it helps to know an instrument. so when something does pop into my head, i can play it on piano or guitar and work from there.

I actually did try working with keyboard input, and came up with a cool <1m jazz piece (which, of course, I got stumped on). However I can't rely on keyboard input for two reasons. One is that I only have a synth-action 32 key controller. I am looking to get a new one but I don't have the money right now (and I might not even have the space). Two is that my projects get very, VERY CPU intensive very fast. I usually use upwards of 100 effects and tons of VSTs to get the exact sounds I want, forcing me to use latencies of 50+ MS simply to get proper playback.

Thank you for all the suggestions everyone, even if I've already tried most of them :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would say that I have a pretty good grasp of proper arrangement and structure - as you can hear by listening to my "good" originals and remixes. The problem, once again, is getting to the point where I have enough material to actually create a song. A 1 measure drumloop and lame synth riff is not enough.

Working with someone else? Yeah, I've always wanted to do that. Working with tefnek is a blast, every time. However everyone is pretty much too busy and I can't expect someone to be able to sit down and work with me whenever I feel like writing a song (which is all day, every day).

I recall you having said in the past that you hadn't been taught any music theory. If you read up on a little about the theory of music or even just books concerning music itself it can sometimes give you ideas.

This is no longer the case. I am studying music at Drexel University and traditional music theory has been in my schedule every term so far. It's fascinating, but not helpful to what I'm trying to do here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, i would suggest learning to play as much (different) songs as possible. Both gamemusic (midi) and "real" music (use sheetmusic and/or tabs) will do. I suggest you listen to very much music as well. Since the electronica-genre is quite big, there should be a lot of stuff to explore.

This is at least what works best for me. When I'm creating original-music, the inspiration comes from something I've listened to or/and recently played myself. Sometimes it's a whole bunch of stuff throwed together, which mixed up, makes my own song. If you listen to a whole bunch of different music, you can't really tell where the inspiration comes from, it's just there.

Also, being a band-member is a GREAT way to get inspiration. Don't think I need to explain why. I play piano/keyboard/synth in a pop/rock band, and I'm makin my own electronic music as well, it works really good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then get off your computer. I'm serious. Get off the computer for a week or more (or be on the least amount possible).

Since Impulse Prime was released I've taken two breaks to go on vacation with my family. While I sometimes have musical ideas, by the time I return, they're all gone. I doubt that I could take a week long break here at Drexel from the computer as it's my only form of entertainment and more or less my only form of social contact.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

just have fun!

There we go. That's the answer!

And, dont discount any of the methods because you've TRIED them. Just go back to a time when you've had fun with a music, and relive those moments. If something doesnt work the first time you try it, go do something different, but dont forget to try again. Just have fun with music. You dont have to be the best all the time. Sometimes its just fun to make crap songs, makes the great ones even greater.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

just have fun!

There we go. That's the answer!

And, dont discount any of the methods because you've TRIED them. Just go back to a time when you've had fun with a music, and relive those moments. If something doesnt work the first time you try it, go do something different, but dont forget to try again. Just have fun with music. You dont have to be the best all the time. Sometimes its just fun to make crap songs, makes the great ones even greater.

I don't think I've implied anywhere that I don't have fun with music. It's just that the amount of enjoyment I get out of tooling around on my keyboard (what I've been doing for the last hour) is significantly less than the veritable seratonin FLOOD that I get when I complete a great original work. Seriously - after I finished Impulse Prime, I was walking on air. I don't think any bad news could have possibly brought down my incredible level of happiness that I got from completing it and getting the first positive reviews.

I guess what I'm saying is, I don't really get any lasting "fun" out of music unless I'm (1) writing great songs and (2) people are listening to and enjoying said songs.

you are getting into a dangerous cycle. if making music becomes a frustrating processes, then you will make fewer attempts to do so. and each time you try it will become more frustrating. eventually your days of making music will be over. this is how it happens.

I pretty much make constant attempts to create music regardless of how frustrating it is. Like I said, this is pretty much my life, it's what I'm here at college to study, it's my only hobby and my only form of entertainment.

When I create a bad song, it's just that - a bad song. I get no pride out of that, just like I get no pride or enjoyment out of creating those demos that I posted earlier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well, that's all i had for you andrew.

there's 4 pages of people trying to help you in this thread and you've pooh-poohed most everything.

perhaps there are no solutions for you. 8O

Well, what do you expect me to say? I'm not going to lie and tell people that I haven't tried a solution when I already have. There's no point in ramming my head into a brick wall. I am posting here because, as I said, I'm at my wit's end. I was aware that I had writer's block since 7-8 months ago and was already talking to many people outside of these forums about it. Thus, I've already gone through a number of attempted solutions, including many, many more that were not mentioned here. This is a final, desperate attempt on my part.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...