Crafting the Perfect Song: Unveiling Their Creative Process
Embarking on the journey of composing a song is a task that often defies a structured approach. Throughout their career, they have initiated countless songs, and one thing is certain – they've never adhered to a fixed formula to kickstart any of them. The creative process, for them, is a realm of spontaneity. However, there are recurring scenarios that have consistently helped them commence a song, and today, they are here to shed light on those methods.
1) Exploring the Piano and Piano Roll
They confess that they are not formally trained musicians, but that hasn't held them back. While they might not comprehend the technicalities of musical theory, they possess a keen ear for what sounds good, and they can navigate the piano keys well enough to craft chords and melodies. Starting a few songs from scratch this way has been fruitful, though surprisingly, not as many as one might think. What has proven even more successful is the spontaneous input of notes into the piano roll until a compelling rhythm or sequence of notes emerges, inspiring the creation of the rest of the melody. This method has worked wonders for them in the past.
2) Drawing Inspiration from Loops and Samples
Although this approach hasn't been a primary catalyst for their songwriting, they are aware of producers who've built their entire careers around it. Sometimes, a sample provides the spark needed for an idea – be it the chords, rhythm, or flow. Inspiration has its peculiar ways, and one would be astonished at how easily it can be ignited.
3) Exploring Presets
Not vastly different from sampling loops, but in this case, they take the reins and play the keyboard themselves. Browsing presets has often been a wellspring of inspiration when starting a song. Depending on the preset, they already have a sense of where to begin with their keys. From there, they can begin to improvise melodies and rhythms randomly, gradually immersing themselves in the creative flow. Among the various methods they've employed to commence their tracks, this approach has yielded success on numerous occasions.
4) Recording Spontaneous Ideas
They believe that every person has experienced moments of inspiration in unexpected places – in the shower, at the gym, or during mundane activities unrelated to music production. They advocate never allowing an idea to slip away; always be prepared to record whatever comes to mind. Ensure easy access to a note recording app on your phone. Sing your idea and any potential variations you envision, capturing as much detail as possible in the recording. They assert that one would be surprised at how easily the essence of a great idea can fade from memory when revisiting the recording in the studio. Among all the techniques they've employed, this has been the most common and successful way to initiate a song.
5) Harnessing Chord Generator Plugins
One invaluable tool that has significantly aided them in generating new ideas is Cthulhu by Steve Duda / Xfer. This plugin allows for the quick creation of chords, providing a solid foundation for a track that can be built upon. While most DAWs now come equipped with chord generators, they find Cthulhu to be the most enjoyable and comprehensive.
6) Composing Over Acapellas
For those without a publishing deal or access to professional songwriters and singers, a useful approach is to begin composing chords and melodies atop acapellas from well-known songs available online. The key is to use the acapella as a guide, crafting new chords that bear no resemblance to the original song. Once they've established chords, basslines, or melodies they're satisfied with, they discard the acapella and build the track around their creation.
7) Cultivating a Creative Environment
They plan to delve deeper into this subject in the future, but they emphasize the importance of being in an inspiring setting when crafting music. They challenge the misconception that music can only be created in a studio that resembles a spaceship. They've crafted sections of tracks in unexpected places like the kitchen, an airport during a layover, or a bistro. While they do have a visually appealing studio, most of their songs have their origins in the most unexpected locations. They advise finding a space that sparks creativity, regardless of how unconventional it may seem. If there are limitations on workspace, they suggest embellishing it with candles, mood lighting, art, photographs, and plants – these seemingly small elements can significantly boost creativity.
They emphasize that there is no one-size-fits-all formula for songwriting. Inspiration can be triggered in myriad ways, and each trigger is unique in its occurrence. They believe the most crucial aspect is to be prepared when inspiration strikes. They encourage not postponing it; act upon it promptly. If one can't act immediately, they advise ensuring the idea is recorded somehow. They assert that one should never let a potentially transformative idea slip away unrecorded – because you never know what it might have become.
Have fun in the studio,
Your Sounds to the Max team!