One of the more interesting things I see producers doing these days, is setting out to write a song in a certain style and then getting frustrated when it doesn’t sound the way they intended. It’s not surprising, we all have a goal we set ourselves when we write music, so of course it can get a little frustrating when it starts to sound totally different from what we wanted.
Sometimes the frustration can be a good thing though, a few people are good at recognizing when it’s happening and can step back and refocus their efforts back onto the right track. But more often than not it seems to lead to more frustration, to the point where the producer just loses all motivation to continue with that song. They feel stuck. They don’t know how to steer things back towards the sound they were going for, and they end up with a half finished song that they aren’t happy with
Here’s the thing though, sometimes you just need to recognize that creativity cannot always be forced in a certain direction. Often times we go off on tangents while writing because we’re having fun. Maybe we discovered a new function on our favorite synth, or maybe we just zoned out for a little bit and came up with a new melody we weren’t expecting.
Over the years I’ve found that some of my best songs came about when I ended up writing something completely different to what I was intending to. I got into a new groove and before I knew it my song was headed in a totally different direction.
Heck, I’m dealing with this right now in fact on a new live set I was prepping. I was trying to create a really hard techno set, but after most of the parts were recorded I realized it had a much more chill and progressive feel than I wanted. Now, for people who know my usual musical output, this is probably no big surprise, and you’d think I’d be used to it too! But, like a lot of musicians it started to cause me worry and frustration, to the point where I just had to shelve the project for a few weeks and work on something else.
But the key was realizing a few weeks later when relistening to what I had done so far, that maybe it wasn’t as hard and banging as I wanted it to be, but there were some really good and solid ideas there none the less. At times like this, you have to let go of your original goal and refocus your efforts on making the most of what you subconsciously wrote. You have to stop looking at the shift in styles as a bad thing, and instead realize that maybe there’s a reason things turned out in a slightly different vein than you thought.
By realizing that maybe it wasn’t what I intended, but there was still some good music there (IMVHO of course), I went from being upset and feeling like I was at a road block with the project, to suddenly becoming excited about things again. I had a new goal, a new direction that felt more natural for this project, and I could once again start to shape it without the frustration of feeling like I had let myself down. Or that I had failed in my goals.
Music and creativity are fickle beasts, and sometimes no amount of skill or intention is going to put them in containers they don’t want to be in. When you find your musical idea evolving naturally on their own, you don’t always have to fight it. Roll with it, see where it takes you and keep on having fun during the process of writing. In my experience, more often than not this leads to far better results in the end, and helps you find your own artistic voice.
Thanks to everyone that came out to see me DJ last week, if you were there you know how much fun it was. Now that I have access to a bigger venue, I’m considering starting a regular night there with guest DJs and live performers. Stayed tuned for more info about Liquid Beats!