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How to rid myself of my influences...


Syyle

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I am sure we have all been there, will get there, and some have moved beyond there: How do I beat back my influences? They flare up much too often and tend to direct my sound and my message in my music.

 

I find myself constantly gravitating back to a particular style/theme/texture in all the music I do.

 

Does anyone have any realistic approaches to breaking out of the control that my influences have on me?

 

If you must know, my main influences are: Tool, Metallica (old stuff), and Radiohead. I am influenced too much by these 3 bands in both the guitar/vocal realm of my music.

 

Thanks for reading my whiny post :facepalm::thu:

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Pick out a song way outside your zone. Maybe some country or pop. Try to write your own version of the song you picked out. You'll learn a lot. The more you do things like that, the more you'll internalize those styles and find yourself drawing from them. Listen to other styles of music. Memorize those songs and they will become part of the fabric.

 

EG

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I had the same issue several years ago; when I first started playing guitar, I was a HUGE George Lynch freak...learned every note of his stuff...then when I started getting into writing original music, it all sounded just like Dokken.

My tone, my style, my playing - everything was just like that. While I loved his playing, it made me feel like a prisoner to my own abilities.

I made a point to totally stop listening to any of that style of music at all for a few years and that's about the time I started getting into european prog metal. I also started getting into tons of other styles that had no interest to me before that; pop music, country, etc.

The point is; you have to FORCE yourself to listen to something else to get away from the rut your stuck in. I found that simply listening to other artists in that same style didn't help, I needed to change genres completely and avoid listening to that genre at all to break my mold.

 

Make the effort to find a song or artist that appeals to you, but from a totally different genre and sit down and start learning it and see if you don't start thinking differently about HOW to play certain things. Do it enough and it'll be incorporated into your normal playing style and will mix with what you already do.

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Surely you must have favorite songs that AREN'T by those few groups or people right?

 

Admit it! You like RHCP.

 

The Beatles.

 

You enjoy "Margeritaville".

 

Barry Manilow.

 

Glenn Frey.

 

The Blues Brothers!

 

Guilty pleasure, admit it!

 

Go back to your roots of what you liked before you decided what you liked.

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Great posts Bodyguard and Stacka. I agree. Embrace the stuff you left behind. People don't need to know that you're listening to Kid n' Play again. And that Vanilla Ice CD you loved? Go buy again in the used bin for 50 cents.

 

I'm an old guy, so maybe 20 years ago or so I started going back to the folk music I heard from my friends older brothers and sisters and the standards I heard on TV growing up when they played old musicals.

 

The thing is, you won't sound like the stuff you revisit most likely. What it does is build a bridge between where you were and where you are. Embrace that bridge and create your own music.

 

Enjoy that journey. It's a blast.

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I am sure we have all been there, will get there, and some have moved beyond there: How do I beat back my influences? They flare up much too often and tend to direct my sound and my message in my music.


I find myself constantly gravitating back to a particular style/theme/texture in all the music I do.


Does anyone have any realistic approaches to breaking out of the control that my influences have on me?


If you must know, my main influences are: Tool, Metallica (old stuff), and Radiohead. I am influenced too much by these 3 bands in both the guitar/vocal realm of my music.


Thanks for reading my whiny post
:facepalm::thu:

 

Great suggestions so far. I would add one more suggestion, though: don't. Your influences are what make you who you are as a musician. There's no reason to rid yourself of any of your influences--plus, it's impossible to do, anyway.

 

Instead, get more influences. Listen to many different types of music. Try learning to play some of it too. It'll give you a bigger pool to draw from. More ingredients to cook with. (Insert your own analogy here.)

 

Also, I agree with what others have said--go back to your roots. Revisit some of the music you used to listen to. Unless, what you're into now is all you've ever been into. In which case, maybe it really is time to expand your horizons.

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Yeah, I agree. Sounds like you need a radical change.


I suggest that you lock your car radio onto the local classical music station.


If you think you are unable to do this on your own we may have to arrange for an intervention.

 

 

+1 on the classical. You may hate it, but you don't have to like something to analyze it and learn from it. Classical can teach you so much about music in general. In fact, you'll hear roots of metal in some pieces by Mozart and others. Those composers were so well rounded that their influence is deep.

 

EG

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Solid!


Lately, I've actually been going back to nursery rhyme songs: playing them straight, reharmonizing, improvising around them.

 

 

The nursery rhyme bit sounds kind of goofy, but there is logic to it. Think about most pop songs and you'll see similarities. Repetition, simplicity, easily discerned life lessons. Pop songs are in many ways the nursery rhymes of our day.

 

EG

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The nursery rhyme bit sounds kind of goofy, but there is logic to it. Think about most pop songs and you'll see similarities. Repetition, simplicity, easily discerned life lessons. Pop songs are in many ways the nursery rhymes of our day.


EG

 

 

Well, if you're going that route - try doing tv theme songs.

Personally, I don't think it's going to get him onto a different frame of mind for long and will quickly become boring. Finding a different style that he digs and focusing on that would be more beneficial -- but then -- try all of these things.

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i say embrace your influences and inject them into whatever you do

 

 

Your post and an earlier make that point. You are correct. None of us will ever eliminate those influences and that's good. What needs to happen is to develop more and varied influences. When that happens and you are writing you have a deeper well from which to draw.

 

Music is not the only place to develop influences, either. Art and literature can develop one's abilities as well. Studying, and by that I mean learning about literature, not just reading it, will expose you to different ideas and views of the world. Some of my best songs are actually stories that I developed based on characters that emulate the traits of philosophers' world views.

 

EG

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+1 on the classical. You may hate it, but you don't have to like something to analyze it and learn from it. Classical can teach you so much about music in general. In fact, you'll hear roots of metal in some pieces by Mozart and others. Those composers were so well rounded that their influence is deep.


EG

 

I agree. And classical seems to turn on the creative juices. I think because it forces you to use your imagination for imagery/storyline, etc. Great stuff, though I must admit I don't listen to it enough.:facepalm:

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I have a similar problem, I'm into R.E.M. in a big big way, as a result the stuff I write tends to sound like R.E.M. is this a bad thing? no, because my lyrics aren't anything like R.E.M.'s ... but from a purely musical POV I'd like to sound less like R.E.M.

 

I'll just carry on writing and let others worry whether I sound like R.E.M. or not.

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Try listening to "world music" for a while. Listen to songs in another language so that you can't understand WHAT'S being said, but rather the EMOTION that's being conveyed through voice and instrumentation. Plus, music from other cultures is full of different rhythms and modes - perfect for breaking out of old habits!

 

Some of my current favorites are Orchestra Baobab (Senegal), Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi (South Africa), and Brazilian Samba/Bossa Nova. Check out the Putumayo world music series if you're unsure where to start...

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