5 Ways to Get Inspired When Producing Music

Posted by Dee Cunning on 4/1/2018 in Catalyst

Creativity Bites. If you’re stuck in a creative rut and tired of going round in the same old loops when producing music, let our music tutors - Philip Röder, Philippa McIntyre, Charlie Baldwin, Stefan Knauthe and Benjamin Bacon - be of service with their tried-and-tested inspiration tips.

Philip Röder

Producer and Copilco Productions founder / Creative Audio Production & Sound Engineering tutor

Copilco Productions founder and Catalyst Berlin Music tutor Philip Röder

“Inspiration often comes from limitation. I sometimes use field recordings of interesting sounds that I’ve captured on my journeys and run them through obscure effect units until I get a completely different sound. ‘Molekular’ by Native Instruments is an especially helpful plug-in for this technique. I think the most important point is to never try to force yourself to be creative.

If you want to be inspired, take a long walk through the forest and listen to the different sounds on the way. I also love going to art galleries like Berlinische Galerie or the KINDL museum for contemporary art. Both strategies help me to overcome writer’s block and recharge my creative batteries.”

Philippa McIntyre

DJ and producer (DJ Philippa) / Electronic Music Production & Performance tutor

DJ and producer DJ Philippa / Electronic Music Production & Performance tutor at Catalyst

“I believe in having a work habit over and above the power of inspiration – if I waited around for inspiration to strike, I would probably never get anything done! I am at my most productive when I’m in the daily habit of doing two to three hours’ work first thing in the morning. Mornings are great as my brain is fresh; I find that it’s easier to make creative decisions and hit flow mode before the stresses of the day kick in.”

Charlie Baldwin

Producer and performer (Cocktail Party Effect) / Electronic Music Production & Performance tutor

Producer and performer Cocktail Party Effect / Electronic Music Production & Performance tutor

“When I’m stuck for ideas, I like stripping down my workflow; for example, just using a kick drum to make a whole track or grabbing a piece of gear from a friend for a week and only using that. Limitations allow good creative growth for the brain. And always remember, don’t think, just do. Or get a cat.”

Stefan Knauthe

Producer, composer and synthesist / Electronic Music Production & Performance tutor

Stefan Knauthe, producer, composer and synthesist / Electronic Music Production & Performance tutor

“To me, making music has a strong meditational aspect. The music I make these days is calm and quiet, so the process also includes some kind of retreat from real life – which is quite enjoyable! There is also the aspect of construction and deconstruction, especially when you patch up a modular synth. It always reminds me of playing Lego as a kid. Great fun!

The places where I find inspiration are also quiet places; that’s why I love going to museums and art exhibitions. I’m especially interested in colour field paintings – names like Klein, Rothko or Newman come to mind. Those paintings are somehow like good ambient music; looking at them briefly might put you into a certain mood, but the longer you study them, the more interesting they become. I also like photographers like Thomas Struth, whose photos, mostly presented in a super-large format, have a similar quality. Travelling without moving, I think I find that very inspiring.”

 

Benjamin Bacon

Electronics and percussion composer and performer / Electronic Music Production Certificate Programme Lead

Benjamin Bacon, electronics and percussion composer and performer / Electronic Music Production Certificate Programme Lead

 

“I try to surround myself with artworks outside of music; paintings, theatre, and literature provide me with tonnes of creative energy. Sometimes, when I feel creatively stuck, I’ll sit down and improvise while recording the whole thing. Even if I’m not feeling inspired at that very moment, when I listen back, I’m guaranteed to find something in there that I want to take forward.”

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