Ok, You band has a writer's block....how do you fix it?
I play in a band and we re writing our second album! We ve been going at it for about a year now...We wrote about 5-6 incredible songs (in our likes and tastings) but after that we started doing alot of songs, but dont go any where near the 6 songs we wrote before...Its getting a bit frustrating now. We even made a pause of about a month to stop playing so much and maybe come back fresher, which helped, abit....But still our ideas went a bit stale and now fresh as the first 6 songs we made.
I know maybe alot of people will say to do a six track album/EP but we want a full scale album here :)
I bet somebody here passed from this 'writer's block' phase...Hell even the stadium bands pass from it...
How do you pass from it?
It really depends on how you write as an individual. Every member of my original band writes, so if I have writers block, it'll take all 3 of the other guys to stop in their tracks as well for us to not have something to work on, which has never happened.
I've never had a "writer's block", per-se, but there are lulls in my writing. Usually I just keep at it until it picks-up again...
People who write words often look for inspiration to get them past writer's block. Perhaps the same will do for your writer's block? You could try expanding your music catalogue and listening to a lot of new music...it may spark some creativity in you, or something.
Keep us posted...hopefully you guys can get back up to par if you keep at it :bassist:
IME, learning some covers can really spark the creative process. My band did Rage Against the Machine's first album cover to cover for Halloween last year, and immediately following that gig we were on a frenzy writing exciting, new material. Might not be a bad idea to learn a few songs for fun to get you guys thinking of new genres or techniques to try while writing.
Put a notepad on your night desk. When you wake up at night, wrtíte down what was on your mind immediately before. when you get up in the morning, see if you can develop the idea from there.
Sometimes it's good just to play. Play and play, and come up with instrumental jams, and play them all, and then kill the ones that don't go anywhere, and keep playing the ones that you like. Sometimes the jam will just cry out for a melody, and words can come as well.
Conversely, write down a lot of potential lyrics, until you have something so cool you can't help but write music for it.
The only time I ever have "writers block" is if I'm trying to come up with something specific. Really, almost any time I sit down with an instrument (the 3 that I play) for an hour so, I will come up something interesting. Usually unless it's really amazing, I will forget about it by the next day, but who cares, there will be another one there the next time I sit down to play.
My main band in which I am already a writing member, it would be almost impossible for us to have writers block. For one thing, the 3 non-drummers all have our own ideas pretty frequently. On top of that, a lot of our music is derived from rehearsal jams and then developed later. But because the gestational process from rough idea to finished song is so long for us, we ALWAYS have a backlog of unfinished ideas to go back to when we DO finish something and want to start something else.
In other bands in the past, for instance working with a singer, sometimes I will just listen to their melody, and try to come up with some chords that fit against it (usually trying to inject some interesting harmonic movement). Once you have that chordal framework, you can keep revisiting and trying different arrangements, styles, etc... until something pops out. Have a fast aggressive punk song but not sure where to go with it? Try playing it as a mid tempo bossa nova or as a country song, or as metal, or as whatever. Try different treatments of the same music until ideas start forming. Maybe you'll take the chords and rhythm of the bossa version, at the speed of the punk version, but with the instrumentation of the country version. Who knows. You have to be willing to throw ideas out there and fail with them and then keep throwing out more until something works.
Sounds like Van Halen
I would start "just jamming" and recording those. Sometimes licks pop up that can be taken as starts to complete songs.
You need to stop obsessing about your first 6 songs and go forward with an open mind and see what comes out.
Try writing differently, either more collaboratively or less depending on what you are used to. If you are used to bring a scratch rough version of the song do something more complete, or do the opposite. Or try bringing only lyrics and see what happens. Or try bringing only a little riff and jam it out and see what happens. Try putting some new techniques/sounds into it, something you haven't used before. Encourage your bandmates to do the same.
Overall though, just chill and don't obsess.
Often when we're not writing very prolifically it's because the band's sound is changing. We might not be aware of it but we'll be moving in a different direction and it takes a while before we're happy with the output again.
I don't think taking a break is usually a good idea - you'll just get your creative gears rusty and it will be harder to get back into it. One exercise that's worked for me in the past is to try to write music with a really specific purpose. Not in a particular 'style' but, for example, music appropriate for a peasant village funeral. Or music for eating an ice-cream on a pier. Or music for cleaning windows.
Often I'll come up with ideas that can be re-purposed for something else, but they come out because I was doing a fun exercise instead of pressuring myself with a 'Must write awesome pop song' situation.
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