Posted by Jesse Chemtob
It happens to everyone. Today I want to talk about a common struggle we all face: beatblock. We've all experienced those moments when opening up our DAW of choice (I’m an FL warrior personally) feels daunting, and inspiration seems to elude us. But fear not, my friends! I've compiled a list of techniques that help me find inspiration and overcome this creative hurdle. So, let's dive in and get those beats flowing again!
Make an arpeggio outlining a chord progression
One of my go-to methods for starting a new project is to create an arpeggio based on a chord progression. Start by laying out the bass notes for your chosen chords and build upon that foundation. Experiment with different note variations, octaves, and intervals to find a melody that resonates with you. You can even add complexity by incorporating extended chords like 7th, 9th, or 13th. Don't hesitate to layer the arpeggio with additional chords or apply granulizers for a touch of chaos. Looking at my example, I used a basic chord progression: E minor C major D major G major. You can also play around with different intervals, going up by fourths or fifths for a cool sound and repetitive motif.
Recreating a genre outside of your comfort zone by memory
This is a good way to escape making the same trap beats over and over again, creating something unique instead. To break free from repetitive patterns and explore new horizons, challenge yourself by recreating a genre outside your usual style. Listen to music from genres you're less familiar with and try to capture the essence of those sounds in your own production. Blend elements from these genres with your own expertise, resulting in a unique and refreshing creation that breaks free from clichés.
Create a very simple melody, and then fit it into an unexpected chord progression
Create a very simple melody and fit it into an unexpected chord progression Sometimes, simplicity can lead to unexpected brilliance. Hum a simple melody comprising one to four notes, focusing more on rhythm than pitch. Then, experiment by layering the melody with random chords until you discover intriguing interactions between the melody and the progression. Don't worry about adhering to strict scales or key signatures—let your intuition guide you and embrace the possibility of "wrong" notes creating interesting sonic landscapes.
Sample an old project
Unearth the hidden treasures buried within your past projects! Take a nostalgic trip through your archives and rediscover forgotten gems that might spark inspiration. It could be a peculiar sound, a catchy melody, or even just a drum break. Your growth as a producer will give you fresh insights and the ability to enhance and reimagine these older elements in ways you never thought possible. Pitch, chop, change the BPM, and experiment with the sampled elements to breathe new life into your creations.
Create your own new sound in a synth/wavetable
The process of creating a new sound may only further frustrate you, but the results can be very rewarding if you put in the time to generate a sound with depth. Delve into the world of sound design and create something truly unique. Every DAW has a built in sound generator, whether it be FL Studio’s simple mini synth, or something more complex like Logic X Pro’s Alchemy. My preferred method of crafting original sounds is Vital, an amazing free synth that is accessible for beginners and has everything you need to make pads, leads, bass, and more. Dive deep into the parameters, explore different waveforms, modulations, and effects, and don't be afraid to experiment. If you’re still learning the process of creating sounds, you can also use the 75 free Vital presets and find hundreds more for free just by searching. Starting with distinctive and original sounds sets the stage for an exceptional beat-making journey.
So What Now?
Remember, producers, beatblock is only temporary. By exploring these techniques and embracing your creative process, you'll find yourself breaking free from the chains of self-doubt and entering a realm of endless inspiration. Keep pushing your boundaries, trust your instincts, and let the music guide you to new heights of artistic expression.
Now, go forth and overcome beatblock with confidence! Happy producing!