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Scuttlegoat
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:09 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:26 pm 
 

Hey guys! First post on the forum.

After a lot of frustration wuth bandmates and just being a classical guitarist for a while, I decided that I want to start a bedroom project. I do own an audio interface and plan on getting reaper as a daw.

But since I have never written music completely on my own before, I am kinda stumped. I have riff ideas, I have lyric ideas and I have a concept for the album in mind. But what exactly is the process of doing it? At this stage, it´s just the writing process. How do you turn these riff ideas into songs, and how do you develop songs from single riff ideas? How do lyrics fit over riffs best?

I know this is a very broad question, but I am just starting out at the moment. So any advice into the right direction is heavily appreciated! Maybe theres even some resources on the forum which I haven´t found yet, which you could point me to. Or youtube videos, I am pretty much open to anything.

Thanks in advance. I hope to stick around for a while.
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"YoU cAn´T cOmbiNe JoHn CarPeNTer wItH sLuDge mEtal!"
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DecemberSoul
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:46 am
Posts: 934
Location: Switzerland
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:30 am 
 

Be glad you're born with a free mind and will. Try, experiment, evaluate, reflect, keep trying and working. Listen and learn, learn and listen. This should be fun and satisfying as in reaching states of creative flow.
No, I'm not giving you recipes. Do your own work, use your imagination and explore what drives and motivates you. Find your fortes and limits, and see if they and you change over time along with your creative processes.
This is not a job you're applyîng for and no one's pointing a gun to your head.
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RichardDeBenthall
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:46 am
Posts: 352
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:29 am 
 

Hey mate! I'm in the same boat myself with my black metal project. It's an exciting yet frustrating process where you're going to have to learn to trust in your own instincts and (very importantly) make decisions.

Indecisiveness is what will kill your creativity here.

I'd prefer a finished song that I'm maybe 80% on than an unfinished idea that never gets revisited. That's not to say you should settle for the first idea you have but I think it's very important to not trip yourself up.

One of the things you're going to need to decide is whether you are keen to stick to conventional song structures here or are happy to work outside that box. An underlying question to this is what your want your songs to achieve! In one of my bands we are trying to write songs that we like but also that people could sing along to and rock out to. That means big choruses, soft hard dynamics etc. In my black metal project, the aim is purely personal and I don't give a damn about whether it has a big chorus! Cue 5 minute dirge section with one hypnotic riff.

Once you've figured out the above (can of course be a combination of the two) you've just got to get writing!

My own personal way of working is something like the below:

-Jam around on the guitar until I have an riff idea
-Continue jamming around with that riff idea to see if there are any obvious connecting riffs/sections
-Record what I have on my phone
-Listen to it the next day and figure out whether A) I like it B) What part of the song the riff is (i.e. is this a verse, an intro, a chorus, a bridge/atmospheric section etc.)
-Get back home and jam on it some more until the idea becomes more fully fledged
-Record this expanded version on my phone
-Listen back the next day to see if I'm happy with the vibe of it and start confirming the structure of the song and planning other arrangements i.e. drums, vocals etc

It sounds long winded but it's just the way that seems most sensible for me. Doing the above has taken me from having no black metal songs to having about 3/4 full songs and 3/4 half complete songs in the space of about 2/3 weeks.

My final sign off point is thus:

A) If the above doesn't work for you don't worry about it! Everyone works differenly!
B) It's important to stick with this even when you're not in the mood. Songwriting is a skill and you need to hone it, as with all skills.
C) Record your riffs. Nothing worse than writing a good one and then not being able to remember the rhythm!
D) Don't over rely on record your riffs! Don't just record a riff and then leave it. Record it, jam it, practice it and keep working on it. This means that you'll end up remembering the riff anyway and wont have to rely on listening to your phone to get it again.
E) Write stuff down! As soon as you've got the startings of song structures start writing down what it might look like. I find this a really useful way to visualize how complete the song is.

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Scuttlegoat
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:09 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:32 pm 
 

Thanks for the elaborate reply!

Yeah, I know that it´s gonna be Doom/Sludge metal and it should have some jammy parts in it. So I kinda want o more traditional structure that is broken up by stuff that sounds improvisational.

I tried your approach today, and I noticed that I can jam over stuff really easily and have some results. Getting from point a to point b is still hard. I also noticed that I like going from something I mainly jammed on and then watching it with an analytical eye. Maybe puttung some theory into it and developing it.

Anyways, this has already helped me a lot. Thanks a ton. I will surely return to this post in the future.
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"YoU cAn´T cOmbiNe JoHn CarPeNTer wItH sLuDge mEtal!"
- The Lions Daughter

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ShaolinLambKiller
King Asshole

Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:10 pm
Posts: 13208
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:45 pm 
 

It helps greatly that I'm a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. So whenever I approach a song i view everything working together. As in allowing room for each instrument to breath and work itself into an entire whole.

But in the most basic and boiled down approach i take to creating riffs. I normally think in terms of high/low (notes) slow/fast (tempo) and just sorta just write from the gut. I don't apply a theory. I normally have a strong idea for what genre I want to tackle. So I also keep that in mind when writing so I don't just start throwing every single thing into a part. i try to keep in mind if it's inline with whatever i set out to achieve to begin with.
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Syntek
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:14 pm
Posts: 651
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:09 pm 
 

What you're asking can't really be taught so-to-speak, people can signpost you to creativity but ideal songwriting comes from an instinctual judgement of "this is good enough to keep / not good enough so throw it away".

If you're writing for a particular niche genre, I recommend listening to enough bands that you get absolutely sick and tired of hearing it, and then come up with something that would make you want to listen to that genre again.

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