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Down in a hole


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So I'm stuck in this strange rut. I've finally found enough time to play guitar around taking care of crying babies, but I have to wait for a little bit to get a band going strong. So I figured one of the best ways I can spend my downtime while playing guitar is to write as much as I possibly can, and have the material ready for when the band thing is viable.

 

The way things stand right now, I have a singer and a bass player, and we're still working on the drummer situation. We started writing a song at one point, and never really finished it. We agreed that we liked the way it went, and wanted to explore that sound further.

 

The problem is that the sound the song has is pretty straightforward, and would lend itself to most any style of modern rock outside of blastbeat metal.

 

So the problem I'm having is that I'm writing riffs that are just all over the place musically speaking. I don't really have a firm direction that I know I want to go in, and what I'm writing one day doesn't sound like it would come from the same band the next day.

 

What I'm after is basically radio-friendly modern rock that isn't boring to play...something along the lines of Alterbridge meets Foo Fighters meets Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. The problem is that I can write a riffy thing one day that would fit what I'm looking for, and the next day, I'll write another riffy thing that would fit what I'm looking for, but, at least to MY ears, it doesn't sound like the same band would perform both songs.

 

That, and I think I'm writing things that are a little too technical to receive radio play. To break it down further, what I'm trying to achieve is something like the guitar work of Alterbridge, the song structure and hooks that Foo Fighters are so good at writing, and the major vocal melodies and harmonies of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. The problem here is I'm too much riffage and not enough hook...and I'm just not coming up with any hooks at all, not even simple ones.

 

I guess I'm just looking for ideas of how to find a good hook in that genre without sacrificing my technical ability in the process. It's not that I'm not willing to play a simple phrase or riff that would be the hook, it's that I want to be able to find the hook that's more of a challenge to play.

 

Anyone else know where I'm coming from? Any ideas on how to break out of the rut?

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I'm going to say something that totally goes against everything I know about writing. Here goes...

 

Quit worrying about your potential/imaginary audience when you write.

 

Typically, the first rule of writing is "Know your audience" but it seems you're psyching yourself out by worrying about a potential audience made up of other bands' audiences. Screw it. Just write some songs that you like and care about. Once you have those done, then you can worry about playing gigs and recording and finding an audience. You're getting ahead of yourself and its preventing you from working, so ignore the "audience" and focus on the process. You may have to scrap some things later when you have a stack of songs and some of them obviously don't fit. But right now, stop worrying about writing someone else's songs for someone else's audience.

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I'm going to say something that totally goes against everything I know about writing. Here goes...


Quit worrying about your potential/imaginary audience when you write.


Typically, the first rule of writing is "Know your audience" but it seems you're psyching yourself out by worrying about a potential audience made up of other bands' audiences. Screw it. Just write some songs that you like and care about. Once you have those done, then you can worry about playing gigs and recording and finding an audience. You're getting ahead of yourself and its preventing you from working, so ignore the "audience" and focus on the process. You may have to scrap some things later when you have a stack of songs and some of them obviously don't fit. But right now, stop worrying about writing someone else's songs for someone else's audience.

 

I haven't thought about doing that, actually. That's a pretty good point.

 

This is what concerns me, though, if I were to just keep writing:

 

I'm not sure if the band is actually going to happen, so my plan is to write as much as I can of my own material as I can to send out, whether it's for an audition for another band, to put another band together elsewhere, or to send to some contacts that I have and see where that goes.

 

I want to be able to send specific work that I'm looking to perform, and actually get somewhere playing, reaching as broad of an audience as possible.

 

I guess if I just sit down and write, the only thing I'll run into in the future is the possiblity of rewriting and sifting through the junk.

 

:idk:

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I haven't thought about doing that, actually. That's a pretty good point.


This is what concerns me, though, if I were to just keep writing:


I'm not sure if the band is actually going to happen, so my plan is to write as much as I can of my own material as I can to send out, whether it's for an audition for another band, to put another band together elsewhere, or to send to some contacts that I have and see where that goes.


I want to be able to send specific work that I'm looking to perform, and actually get somewhere playing, reaching as broad of an audience as possible.


I guess if I just sit down and write, the only thing I'll run into in the future is the possiblity of rewriting and sifting through the junk.


:idk:

 

A LOT of people -- especially those new-ish to the creative process -- want to have written/painted/danced/etc. more than they want to write/paint/dance/etc. I know I've done this myself. This causes you to work backwards and try to manipulate/fool people into regarding you as a talent vs. just punching your mental clock and working on what it is that you do. If you keep at it, you'll find a "voice" and that voice will guide what you do.

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