Bremerton/Seattle\'s West Sound, Washington, USA
1983 Peavey Mystic
Fender PBass Affinity
Artisan Lap Steel
Apple Creek Appalachian Dulcimer
Phoenix Guitars Classical Guitar
Seagull Maple CW Duet w/ electronics
Casio WK-1200(for MIDI), MT-600, SK-1, CTK-640(old style)
Wurlitzer EP200A (newly tuned, recapped, tightened and cleaned)
Hot Lixx Guitar
Asus Vintage AH-1 PC
Behringer crap mixer
Guitar Rig 2
Garritan Jazz Band
Electronic Music other: Making Music From a Different Emotional State
Written January 27 2009
I'm not really sure why I make music. I never have been.
But this year has been super tough for me. I was really happy about my album at the time, and it was well liked by the few that heard it. I made it when I was living in the southeast, working part time and going to college. That was almost 2 years ago now.
Since then, I have been almost entirely without creative direction. I haven't lost the drive, I just lost the direction. I always had poser-syndrome about the work I was doing before, so direction was something I barely had before.
Since that record I've moved across the country, and for the first time in my life, I am comfortable and super happy.
It's kind of got me scratching my head. I've never made music from this kind of an emotional state. Most of my music had its origins in the anger, frustration, fear, etc. that I felt during my college years. Without anything like that to express, I feel like spinal tap- just buying tons of instruments and continuing to try and fake it.
Can anybody relate?
hello? did i sleepwalk, sign in as deltasleep and write this post?
oh, i didn't move across the country, the rest is true though.
I didn't mean this to be a "it's hard to be happy blog."
But seriously, I'm not depressed for the first time since I can remember, and it's a really awkward adjustment to make musically. I mean imagine if Trent Reznor took antidepressants while trying to make Downward Spiral and you'll understand how I feel.
Maybe it's just a matter of conditioning.
You have an association with music and sadness and anger...so I guess you slowly have to reassociate it with your happier emotional state now?
I think there's something to being content as a creativity killer. There's also fatigue, distraction, frustration from lack of results, being overwhelmed with options/technology and plain ol' writer's block.
altered states= good inspiration, poor working conditions
level and ready=good working condition,BOOOOORRRIIING.
if you're content and lacking music mojo, then step outside your box. go do stuff you don't do. drugs. maybe watch a weird movie. DEFINITELY go see a band perform. Go on a road trip. Watch someone who knows how to play an instrument really well.
collaborate with someone.
dip your toes in honey and walk around in an anthill
I had something similar happen to me a while ago when I met my girlfriend. I was happy and totally wrapped up in hanging out with her - not sitting in front of the computer/gear! I just couldn't seem to find any inspiration to work on music. It passed. I suggest pushing through and working as much as you can - you'll be learning and practicing even if it seems like you're not 'getting anything done'. I agree with j_chot - go see some bands. I always find that inspiring. Remember to have FUN, just jam out. Come up with a simple project/idea, maybe something you haven't done before, even something creative that isn't music. Good luck.
Ice Cream Creatures was my outlet for all kinds of weird emotional shit. Dark, bloody, psychotic times. It was my peace in all of that.
I have a new album that is 97% done, that no one has heard, just sitting on my hard drive, that I can't bring myself to work on. It's too depressing to revisit those places, those people. I could hardly bring myself to work in Fruity anymore. My mind associated that process with something I didn't feel I needed anymore... I felt I'd outgrown it, in a way.
So, eventually, I COMPLETELY reinvented my workflow. I now use ableton as a VST host, and use my usb controller and some external fx, and two SP-404's. I work with a friend who has some vocal loopers, delays, moogs, guitar, etc, and we make music, over and over again, until we like... chipping away at a big chunk of marble. It's exciting,energetic, and inspiring. I don't feel trapped by my old workflow... my brain is so tied to the fruity piano roll and that dark background as an escape from pain. I couldn't escape it. I'll still go and write beats in there sometimes, but pretty much I've moved away. And I love it.
I make music with more energy, more movement, more mistakes. This was a long process for me, to completely move into a new workflow. It involved seeing lots of bands that inspired me to work differently, or appreciate new worflows or sounds that were impossible sitting in front of a piano roll. You're a FL Studio guy too, right?
First, allow yourself to be inspired by something new, something LIVE, something LOUD. See where that takes you.
Happiness, contentment can be a musical isnpiration in itself...but sometimes you just have to shake shit up a bit to find out HOW EXACTLY to tap into that and tie it with creativity.
Good luck. But don't fret: If you WANT to make music, you will make music.
this is pretty interesting to me. I'm the complete opposite, at least with music. I'm totally paralyzed by depression, can only write when I have high spirits and therefore a lot of adrenaline. When I'm down and pissed, I can do photography or other creative pursuits, but music doesn't live in the depressed parts of my brain. Well, except as a listener.
yeah, i'm the same as tantan...i can only really make music when i'm happy in my life.
i really don't think trent reznor's that depressed.
I wouldnt be if I had his gear
"just buying tons of instruments and continuing to try and fake it"
i can relate to parts of your situation. i'm too old and comfortable now. so i have it in my head i need new gear to launch into a different creative direction. but then i tell myself if i can't make quality music with what i already have then i should just stop. i've got two good software packages and a decent controller. but i keep eyeing that goddamned machinedrum. i need to try different process before i try new gear.
maybe set yourself a challenge. define some limitations for a project. use only sounds you record with a field recorder. or use only a certain software package. or use only 3 pieces of hardware. etc.
I think it's more about reinventing your direction than having new GEAR.
If you feel like you've had a rebirth, then it's important that your music reflect that, to get the most honest results, I think.
I'd start with going back to the purest basics: having fun with sound, exploring, without the need to have a "song" (or a saved file) when you are done. Find pleasure in the fact that it is temporal, won't last, and is fleeting. It's kind of freeing, and you can explore some amazing places with that mindset.
I totally indentify. When I'm frustrated I make very cheerful music. When I'm happy I make heavy music.
Start making techno again.
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