What’s on your playlist? (Look for the weird stuff!)

Daily Blog - June 25th 2021

Some of the most exciting records have been created by artists who transitioned from a completely different genre to what they're doing now. And some of the most exciting projects I've personally worked on, have also benefitted from a diverse musical background of everyone involved.

What’s on your playlist? (Look for the weird stuff!)


What's on your playlist(s) now? What do you listen to when you're working, exercising or relaxing?

Most of us listen to more than one genre. And most of us enjoy listening to music that's completely outside of what we're creating as artists. But we rarely see a connection between the weird stuff on our playlists and the genre we're trying to write and produce music in.

Why is that?

  • Maybe we're simply afraid to leave our comfort zone because it's so much easier to just keep doing what we've always been doing.
  • Maybe we already have an audience and we are afraid they're not gonna like any major changes to our sound.
  • Maybe we want to "stay true" to our genre and scene. Changes could be viewed as "selling out" or not being authentic anymore. So we'd rather stick to the genre conventions. (The funny thing is, this last point happens most often in scenes where the members claim to be especially rebellious, diverse, independent and unique.)

Whatever it is, it's time to get rid of it and start to think outside the box.

Don’t let elitist opinions or your own insecurity hold you back from creating something wild and fresh. 

Explore how you can bring some of the things you like in these other genres to your own music. Look for the really weird stuff, look for stuff that gets you excited and that your genre is lacking or completely missing.

This includes writing, arranging, tones, FX, song structures, grooves, build-ups, breakdowns, ambiences, layering, all of it. Dissect it and try some of it on your music.

Have you written, played or produced completely different music in the past? 

If so, good! You already know what worked in that other genre and now that you've transitioned to something different, you can bring these influences and the knowledge to your new projects.

For example, I've worked with some artists who have an electronic music background and now want to make aggressive rock music or metal. This can be so much fun! The way they build the songs, the aggressiveness in the sounds they pick, the way their breakdowns work and how hard everything is hitting are often mindblowing.

And that doesn't necessarily mean incorporating electronic sounds in the production. It means making the "real" sounds feel different. Using completely different tools and instruments, but trying to achieve a similar vibe and feel.

A couple more examples that you can explore:

  • Some of the cheesiest 80s pop songs could be amazing punk rock anthems. Listen to the melodies, grooves and chord progressions! Not the synth sounds or the crazy reverbs (although those can be cool, too).
  • Some dubstep bass lines could be crazy heavy sounding down-tuned metal riffs.
  • Some ambient chill-out songs could be a source of inspiration for vibey textures in quieter parts to give your song more depth, create bigger contrasts and enhance the macro dynamics throughout the song. Maybe you don't need to be loud all the time. And if you get loud again, it will hit harder.
  • You can learn so much from great rap vocals that will help you write and perform tight, punchy, smooth or aggressive vocal lines in any rock genre. Listen to different hip hop and rap sub-genres, analyze how they articulate, rhyme and flow and then see what could work for, as well.

You just have to allow yourself to see and embrace it. Or if you already know it, be bold and confident enough to bring it over to the new music you're working on.

So what is your background, what have you created in the past? And what are you listening to right now? If you're open and willing to let it influence the music you're creating, it can be magical.


PS: If you're looking for an amazing community to get feedback from and provide your own expertise for, check out The Self-Recording Band Community. It's 100% free and can be the growth accelerator you've been missing all the time.

PPS: Downloading one of our free guides and joining our email list is also a great way to connect with your peers, as we will invite you to events and keep you in the loop about what's going on in our community. We just had an amazing video meetup last weekend and together we helped 5 people improve their recordings, arrangements and mixes by listening and giving collective feedback live on the call. Join us now!

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