One of my New Year Resolutions was to write more music.
I used to have a career in music production, but I haven’t been very productive, musically, for a long time now. The resolution is a reaction to this and has made me actively seek inspiration & motivation to restart.
I essentially write two different styles of music. Historically, I wrote dance music & remixes. For a while, this led to self-employment and working on music for the likes of Britney Spears (remixing), Girls Aloud (mixing), The Charlatans (remixing & tour DJ) and many others. Not ‘hands in the air’ dance music, though. Those tunes tended to be a little darker and electro.
The second style of music that comes out of my head is more like creating a soundscape. I guess you’d think of it more like a movie soundtrack. Think of the atmospheric themes of Broadchurch (the sublime Olafur Arnaulds), The Social Network (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross), Blade Runner (Vangelis) or the newly released stunning soundtrack to Morgan (Max Richter). There are melodies in there, but mostly you’re getting lost in evolving sounds and making beautiful (or jarring) places for images to live.
There are places where both of those styles of music cross-over. The soundtrack to Stranger Things had a little from both camps, for example.
What Comes Next
The first step is to refamiliarise myself with all my music software. It took hours to reinstall it and, surprisingly, it all still works together and with the hardware I have. That was the easy bit.
Next up is inspiration. For me, that means soaking in music from all different sources, like soundtracks, albums of all styles of music, the radio, books, movies. Then it’s a matter of turning on the computer and seeing what where my brain is going to take me.
Most of the music I’ve written didn’t pre-exist in my head as a completed tune. I didn’t find myself humming a tune and then rush to the computer to write it all down. That’s not how my brain works.
I do get ideas about what might work in a tune when I’m not in front of the PC, but most of the stuff starts to happen when I’ve got the software running and I’m pottering around with sounds.
It’s the doing that inspires. I imagine it’s the same for any kind of creative outlet. You can think and plan, but the reality is that it’s only the act of doing that transforms ideas into reality, and that act in itself is inspiration for further development of the idea. Painting, sketching, sculpture, music, songwriting – in principal, it’s the same process.
So, I will keep doing. So far, I’m really happy that ideas are coming out freely and I’m happy with the quality of them. I’m relocating the music equipment shortly which will provide a wonderful working environment. This helps with productivity immensely.
I will post some music here soon. Wish me luck.