This might sound even more counter-productive than my last blog post – because of course you need to work hard and be consistent in order to keep improving. Yes you need to hone your skills, and that comes with repetition. And this tip is actually the thing I struggle with the most, feeling like I should be in the studio every single day to keep up with all the other producers. But sometimes it just feels like you’re banging your head against a wall and nothing is working. No ideas, no inspiration, everything you record sounds rubbish, Break’s tunes sound much better than yours….
Time to step away. When you’re stuck in a rut the worst thing to do is force it. You end up getting frustrated, then disheartened, disillusioned with the music, then you convince yourself you need the next bit of equipment or magic plugin in order to break through the wall. The reality is just that you need a break. And coming back to my previous post, that means a complete break from DnB, so your brain can soak up some inspiration from other sources. Go and do something else. Watch films, read books, listen to Stevie Wonder, take photos, paint, spend some time cooking nice food, whatever your hobbies are…. maybe even go outside occasionally.
I find that all my best tunes come when I have had some time away to clear my head. Sometimes this is down to work, being a teacher and a DJ can take over and I don’t have any studio time for a few weeks. But that just makes me more excited to go back in when the time comes.
I use a lot of my travelling time to think about music, to gather my ideas and prepare myself to create. I fill my phone up with notes, some of them can be quite technical (beat patterns for example) but more often it is more related to a concept or feeling. I have lists of track names, lists of samples, I have themes that I want to write about (sharks, space, rain), and when I finally come back to the studio I am raring to go and the music seems to pour out. Don’t get me wrong, in these happy periods I will binge and stay in the studio for 12 hours a day – and then the night shift. But this is because I have had some time to think about what I want to say.
Try it. When you aren’t feeling inspired take a break, get some distance, and go back into the studio when you actually have a strong idea of what you want to write. The music will flow naturally when it is ready….