You get home from work, flick on your speakers, power on your laptop and open your DAW. You’re tired from work, but you’ve jotted a few moments of inspiration during the day so want to get them down and see what transpires. You’re 30 minutes into your session and suddenly, without warning, your creative juices stop flowing. Your mind stops and you’re staring at your screen. The distractions start to creep in… Netflix is calling… your cup noodle is waiting… your sofa is beckoning…
We’ve all been there. This is an internal fight which most producers face and often blame on our brain being too tired, or not being in the mood. Truth is, inspiration strikes at funny times and this often isn’t in front of a computer screen. Should you need to induce some creative juice, here are a few ideas…
Recreate a track
First, put a list together of tracks that you would love to have made. If you’re having a production session that’s proving a little hard to get through, pick a track from the list and try to recreate it. This will not only open you up to a lot of different production techniques, but will also help you to develop your sound as an artist and help you to understand the type of artist you want to be. You’ll often find that you’ll hit a point at which inspiration takes over and you are creating something which sounds totally different to the original track you intended to recreate.
Write a soundtrack
Try watching one of your favourite movies with the sound off. This is all about giving yourself visual stimuli to help with the creative process. Sitting with the sound off removes any distractions and gives your brain an opportunity to try to fill in the gaps with music. Sit with an instrument close to hand or open instruments on BandLab and play as inspiration from the movie hits you. It can be a really fun process and after, you’ll have created a bunch of sound files that you can cut into samples and loops to use in your next session.
Get a group of mates or your band together and pick 4 or 5 of your favourite tracks and listen to them the whole way through. Take notes as you go. After each track discuss what you liked. Discuss what you didn’t like. Talk about the instruments that are being played and what stood out. Talk about how each could be improved. Decode how sounds were created. It’s investigative and can be great to learn not only how your heroes are creating their music, but a really good opportunity to learn from your peers.
Rip some samples
It doesn’t matter how popular the track, having a session ripping samples can be a great way to get inspiration for your next hit. Drop them into a folder and the next time you’re having a creative block, start with a sample and build a track around it. More often than not, you’ll reach a point at which you’ll consider whether the sample is needed any longer or not. If you’re struggling for inspiration, Forking a song on BandLab lets you make a copy of the song, allowing you to further develop it, or use it however you like.
Have a night out
Go to watch a band, or maybe your favourite bar or club and actively listen for inspiration. Record anything that makes you feel something. You can do this directly into the BandLab App and make notes in each recording for your next studio session. What is it that makes you tap your foot or want to dance? The funky bassline? The groovy hi-hat. Don’t forget to Shazam tracks too so you can listen to them the whole way through out of the club – it can often be quite surprising how different music can sound when the environment changes.
If you’re feeling uninspired, get out there and find it and get creating today!