Sometimes a track just spills out of you and other times it is an epic battle equaled to the fight on the mountains of Mordor. Through the years I have figured out some techniques to get me out of those ruts. Once and a while you just need a little creative nudge to finish that idea or come up with a new one.
One technique that has helped me a lot, I call the title question. The idea is you start with a title and start exploring questions and answers that it envokes. I know… seems cheesy. Well, it is but it works.
1. Start with the track title. Usually, when I start a track the title is the last thing on my mind. I usually don’t even have the name until I send it out for mastering. But when I am lost on ideas to get a track started, this technique is a lifesaver. One of the best ways to come up with an idea is to start with an action. Like running, fighting, breaking, and so on. Then add something else to give it context, and you have an evocative name.
2. Start to question the title. Now that you have a title, start asking yourself what it might mean. Make a list of questions you might ask to unlock the meaning of the title. Things like: When did this happen? Who was there? How does it make me feel? What will happen next? Try to get at least 3 questions, but 4-5 is better.
Over the past week I have been loving using my Launchpad Mini and the custom LPC Live 2 script for drum sequencing. As I am still learning how to write new drums on the fly I decided to make a few “cheat sheets”. I have printed these out and use them to help me write in the patterns. The idea here is if I do it enough, it will be second nature.
The images below show the sequence in a 1/16th setting. They can also help you visualize different beat patterns in multiple genres for your own production.
For me what I am doing is writing on the Kick part, and the Clap part into my step sequencer to then create the beat. If you wanted to, you could always recreate this in Ableton like the image below:
Every killer track needs a bongo solo… right? Well, either way, bongos are cool. It’s an iconic percussion that can add interest to your tracks.
I’ve created a sample library of Bongo Samples as well as a collection of Ableton Live 9+ Bongo Drum Racks. Check out this video walkthrough and download below.
If you end up using this in your production, please send a link below. Love checking out what people are up to with the libraries I put out into the world.
The live pack is for free / by donation. Just put in “0” to get it for free. Consider donating if you want to see me release more resources like this.