It happens to all musicians at some point – our listening variety stagnates and it affects our creativity.
It is not your fault; humans are creatures of imitation. Even when writing songs, we are building on the works of musicians that came before us.
Very few songs in the world are truly unique. All take inspiration from something that came before.
You could even go as far as to say that all music is made up of notes and frequencies and therefore all share something in common.
Every song that comes out is essentially an arrangement of frequencies produced by a variety of instruments. Yes, each instrument has its own timbre but let’s not even get into how unoriginal the common line up of drums, two guitars, bass and vocals is.
So what is the point of this boring simplification of music in general?
The point is that if we simply expose ourselves to the same frequencies all the time, it seriously limits our creative scope.
What I mean is that by listening to only one band or worse one album over and over again you will narrow your creativity to that kind of music.
If you sit down and try to write a song, that specific mix of frequencies will be all you mind can comprehend. Unconsciously you will be chasing it and anything else will feel uninspired.
Also, when you do come up with something, your mind will say, “No, that sounds too much like x” and you won’t want to use it for originality sake.
It is a double edged sword.
Victor, are you saying that I should listen to pop even if though I am trying to write a metal album?
Well I don’t think it would hurt, as long as you don’t overdo it. But yes, I’m saying that you should listen to all types of music. A pop song could give you inspiration for a melodic death metal song as long as you are open to it.
It is all about finding your own sound after all. Don’t think of music by genre; rather think in terms of purely how it sounds. Light, calm, sad, angry, happy, heavy. These are things a musician can relate to.
I honestly feel like the whole genre thing is a trap for musicians.
Yes, it helps consumers find the music that they like. But we musicians shouldn’t rely on such primitive methods for finding good music to listen to.
That is the point, good music.
As a musician, you should familiarize yourself with every successful musician or band in every successful music scene.
We all know that success breeds success. Being in touch with all the most successful pieces of music in the world will give your creative field a wide scope of possibilities.
Because of the way the brain works, having this kind of variety floating around in your head changes the way you approach songwriting on an unconscious level.
No longer are you chasing a sound, rather you are trying to find your own sound.
30-day new music challenge.
Think I am talking complete bull? Why not take the 30-day new music challenge and test the effects yourself.
All you have to do is listen to a new album every day for a month. I am not going to tell you where to get the music but Google and YouTube is a start and if you are a pirate you may know the place where pirates go. 😉
The only requirement for the music you listen to is that the artist has a respectable fan base.
I guarantee that if right now you are listening to only a couple of bands and you feel stuck in a rut creatively, then by the end of the month the way you see and write music will completely change.
You have nothing to lose and a world of creative possibilities to gain.
I look forward to hearing about your experience with this. So far I have been doing it for a week and already I can see a huge improvement in the riffs I am writing. More importantly, I feel confident that these riffs are good.
This is the main take away – confidence in your own sound rather then forever trying to live up to other bands.
All the best, peace out.