Great thread, Ugo. Thanks for starting it.
My "method" usually starts with me noodling about on a guitar, bass, or keyboard. The process continues when I hit a phrase I like. I'll work out it's key, experiment with chords around it, and add colors. A good synth preset (the color) can also start the ball rolling, as can a chord or progression of them.
In short, for me there's no "this first, that second" type of order. The basic steps noted above work in any sequence.
Nothing gets "set in stone" too early. As I build up the concept, whatever source (phrase, chord or chords, color) that got me started can be revised to fit better with the other elements.
Finally, as another poster noted, "Who do I write for?" Simple answer - Me.
We shall see orchestral machines with a thousand new sounds, with thousands of new euphonies, as opposed to the present day's simple sounds of strings, brass, and woodwinds. -- George Antheil, circa 1925 ---
|^||Joined: 08 Mar 2004 Member: #15963 Location: Network 23|
do you have a particular process to your song writing? if so, can you describe it?
I usually have a scenario in my head--for example, I'll imagine a cinematic scene in my head, or an environment. A recent track I've been working on came from me imagining taking a space cruise and seeing all the different star systems as a tourist. Another track came from imagining a scene in a non-existent spy movie..etc. I would "hear" the kind of music that would accompany the imaginary scenes playing out in my head.
Other times, there's no storytelling--just capturing a certain "vibe" I'm interested in at the moment.
do you focus on a lot of details as you go along, or try to get the general structure down first?
I often dissect the piece in my head first and write it down like a synopsis (I adapted this method from being a writer. Writers write synopses and treatments all the time, for novels, screenplays..etc). It typically reads something like this (an excerpt from one of the tracks):
"...After lower string section, do an all synth part--more elecronic and funky, then break down to a cutting breakbeat with complex strings arrangement, then back to luch strings and end...."
do you tend to write with an idea or style already in mind, or do you just start working and see what comes out?
Usually the first, but sometimes improvisation or inspiration from a certain preset sound could trigger something totally unplanned.
do you often get started, only to find yourself stuck after 8-16 bars? if so, do you have any tips/tricks on getting past that?
It used to happen a lot more, but after I started writing down a "synopsis" of how I want a track to play out, it becomes a road map I refer to if I forget what the original inspiration was. Also, having things thought out and planned makes it a lot easier to pick up where you left off from the last session.
do you start with drums/rhythms or with melodic instruments?
Depends on the track, how it starts, and which plays a prominent role in the track.
are there particular types of sounds that you find you start/build your songs from the most often? (eg: start with pads, or leads, then grow the song from there, etc.)
Anything works. It's all about the track itself, and since I compose such a wide range of styles, I can start from anywhere. Having my synopsis gives me a good idea what I want to start out with, because I already know how the track should sound since it's all planned out in advance.
do you think more in terms of layered single note sequences, or chord progressions?
anything else about your songwriting process you'd like to mention?
I think having something to say or express can be very helpful. For me, storytelling is the best muse--it works for my paintings, my photography, my music, and of course, my writings. Having a story or imageries as the source of inspiration really brings your ideas to focus. Even something simple like one word descriptions as a jump off point--betrayal, regret, combat, relaxing, tragedy..etc.
|^||Joined: 18 Mar 2004 Member: #17461 Location: Fuzhou, China|
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