The first week of the road to releasing an album has been moderately productive. It started with a lot of internal struggle about what style of music I want this record to be.
While punk and pop-punk has always been my first love, I also want to push myself out of my comfort zone a bit. The whole idea behind the project is to learn and grow while creating something. Without pushing myself and just doing a lot of the same stuff I’ve written there’s a lack of growth.
I’ve been listening to a lot of alternative and grunge in the past few months. So my first thought was to do something in that vein. I already have one song under my belt in that style and it was fun to write.
When I sit down to write music I tend to write riffs that sound very pop-punk. And since I’ve been playing that style for so long I know most of it will sound decent right away. It’s sort of a crutch allowing me to skip over the frustration of trying new things that don’t necessarily sound good. To get myself out of that mindset I created a playlist.
On the playlist are songs to provide some inspiration for this album. Songs that are very in line with the style as well as some that aren’t as much that I can still use as inspiration.
As I was creating the playlist I realized it started morphing into garage rock. Artists like The White Stripes, The Hives, Jet, Wolfmother, and The Fratellis. I love the raw energy of this style of music and how much fun it is to play. Something more upbeat I can jump around to while playing and could make anyone tap their foot.
This playlist has been on repeat for a while. One day I was really listening, not just listening in the background, but listening to the intricacies of the songs on this list. I was in awe. Have you ever really listened to a song after hearing it a thousand times before, even singing along? It’s amazing what you can hear.
A lot of the ones on my list are very simple in terms of chord progression, but they remain interesting through the structure and orchestration. Things like cutting out certain instruments at times, layering different sounds of the same chords, and doing interesting things with the recording itself (for example, panning left and right).
Just like in art, adding constraints pushes creativity. When you can only use 2 colors you have to be more creative with what you do with those two colors. With music, only using a few simple chord progressions can foster more creativity. I’ve written plenty of just ok songs that only use a few chords, but I’ve never really thought about how to push it even further like the songs on this playlist.
It’s something I’m excited to try. I’m hoping it takes my song ideas from ok to great.
With all that in my brain, I sat down last night and started writing. Still, a lot of stuff came out similar to what I’ve already done. But the more I worked the more little gems started to emerge.
Right now all I have are some scratch tracks with chord progressions. But I can hear the potential there. I’m excited to flesh these out more and work on making simple songs musically interesting.