Yes, it has been a long time and I am SUPER sorry for that. I have been busy recently with University coursework and some other exciting projects. All this has kept me occupied writing tonnes and tonnes of tracks. In light of this, I wanted to write a post about how to keep churning up ideas for songs.
I mean, let’s face it. There are only a certain amount of notes and chords and about 8549403923 songs that have been written, so surely everything has been written by now? Well yes and no. Music is not all about finding a brand new chord sequence that no one has used before. It is more about where you take that chord sequence that makes your song unique. Take a listen to the track 4 Chord by The Axis of Awesome and you will soon see that just because a song uses the same chords, it doesn’t have to sound alike.
By that I don’t mean go off and write an album using the same chords on each track. I mean, don’t be afraid to take inspiration from other songs. Have a read through my post on Influence to get a better idea. Take a chord sequence from a song you like and use part of it in a song of yours, or play around with it until you find a variation you like. This leads on to my next point and definitely the way that I keep writing songs…
Write songs by accident. This may sound very strange but it works for me. A lot of the time I write songs ‘in the box’ or directly into my computer using a MIDI keyboard. This means that I can choose any instrument sound and load it into the DAW and then use the keyboard to play in the notes. I cannot tell you how many times I have been playing around with the sounds and wrote a melody or a motif that I liked the sound of. So every time I do that, I open up a new project, record it and then save it in an ‘IDEAS’ folder on my computer. This helps me a lot when I come to start a new track for something and I can choose a base idea from the folder (if any fit).
This same technique applies to playing an instrument. I could happily sit all day and just jam on my guitar and whenever I do, I always have my phone ready to record any ideas that I come up with. That could be a chord sequence, a melody or a solo, but it really helps to have them all noted down somewhere that you can call on later.
Finally, I think it is important to listen to a wide range of genres. I talked about this in my Influences post, but it is incredible where genres come from and the obvious influences that arise where you wouldn’t expect them. I think this is very important because it could help to make your music stand out from others. If you make house music and only ever listen to house music, then your inspiration is very limited and you will find that you just produce the same songs as those you listen to. Whereas if you listen to some Jazz or some Classical music, you could find a string trill or a trumpet technique to add to your music that makes it stand out.
I hope this post will help you out and let me know what helps you avoid hitting the writing wall.
If you’re new to writing songs, check out my post on songwriting to get you started.