So, you’ve been working away on a track for weeks or months and suddenly, the idea you were once thrilled about starts to feel a little dull… The track you thought might be your best work is beginning to feel like your worst.
So, what do you do now? Abandon it? Put a pause on it? Force yourself to finish while in a state of distress? None of these options are ideal, so today, we’re going to discuss how you can overcome these hurdles as a producer and get creatively unstuck.
1) Try and pinpoint the exact problem.
Legendary super producer Rick Rubin, who has worked with the likes of Johnny Cash, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Jay-Z, often talks about how it may sound slightly illogical, but often verbalising exactly what’s wrong with a track might be the key to getting you unstuck. For instance, saying, ‘the track is too busy, and it’s distracting from my lead melody’, is more likely to get you back on the right path than just mindlessly looping your track and listening to the same version until you’re ready to throw your laptop out the window…
2) Use a reference track
While many music producers and creatives often strive to create something unique, picking a track you like and listening to how they’ve approached a specific section or element in their track could give you the solution you need. Listening critically and trying out their approach might help you crack your track’s puzzle, whether it’s a particular arrangement decision or a specific kick drum sample.
Sometimes, by the time you get stuck, you may have accidentally built a giant project of over 200 tracks; not only can this create audible clutter, but this is often a lot to look at, and it can be distracting to have to sift through so many tracks within your DAW.
Bouncing out the stems from your project and building things up again track by track in a new session window may make things less overwhelming and even help you see what you’re better off muting altogether.
If you’re looking for even more tips to finish your tracks, this video by our Course Content Developer Risa T, will be right up your street.
4) Make a list of new ideas and try them all without judgement
You’ve tried rattling down the elements of your track, but you’re still unhappy with how things are sounding… Now it’s time to try all those ideas you have floating around in your head, particularly the bold ones. Doing this without judgement is key; approaching your productions with an open mind and letting your taste guide you will allow every idea to have a fair chance of making it to the final version.
5) Find a mentor or ask a community
While the creative process for many producers can be fairly solitary, finding a passionate mentor or enthusiastic community is perfect for when you need some direction. Here at Point Blank, we offer degree courses where you can brush shoulders with other highly-creative and passionate individuals on degree courses like Music Production and Sound Engineering or Music Production and Vocal Performance. We also have experienced industry mentors like our in-house A&R, Kwame Kwaten, who can offer creative input and carefully support your development as a producer or artist.
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