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Top 5 Tips On Songwriting & Song Structure
Written by Omni of 2ToneDisco.
2ToneDisco can be described in almost one word, The Internet. This creative duo strives on the internet world and all the unique, strange and wonderful things it brings. With heavy influences from the gaming industry and the Japanese culture, 2ToneDisco have created an entity of their own that can make anyone feel welcomed and accepted. 2ToneDisco isn’t just a production duo, it is a lifestyle; being true to yourself, is something 2ToneDisco lives by. They have a one of a kind style that comes out in everything they do, from their fashion to their custom visuals to their bubbly and synthesized sound.
1. Pick the right sounds for you
The process of picking/crafting sounds can be quite daunting, but the real key to this is just patience. Developing your sound is a long and unmitigated process that usually involves a lot of dead ends and sounds that you never end up using. It’s important to note that any particular artist’s “signature sound” is usually a combination of several different sounds and techniques so the biggest advice I can give for developing and choosing the right sounds for you is to constantly keep throwing a variety of things in the mix, even if it sounds harsh or jarring to what you think your particular sound is. A lot of the time, you’ll end up taking little bits and pieces of several sounds and styles to make your own unique sound.
2. Start with a catchy melody
Catchy melodies are a strong factor in every popular song and if you want your songs to stay with people, it’s kind of an easy way to do it without really needing to make something groundbreaking. If you can come up with a really simple melody that’s under 8 notes and build full but simple sounds around it, it’ll turn into an ear worm. Songs like “Sakurai”, “Television”, “Pizza Sauce”, and “Internet Bounce” are perfect examples. I built those catchy hooks first and then gradually over weeks, built the rest of the song around it. The end result is always catchy because the average person isn’t going to leave remembering the complex percussion or the well layered pads in a song you made. They’re gonna leave with the 3 to 8 notes that they can hum.
3. Get inspired
The inspiration for 2tonedisco songs has been an ever-morphing mix of what I listen to these days vs what I listened to as a kid, as well as a lot of other uncredited things. People think that your inspiration means “the artist you’re trying to sound like” but that’s not necessarily true. You can pull inspiration from anything. I’ve been inspired by games that have no noteworthy soundtrack. I’ve been inspired by paintings, movies, foods, places, and even animals. A good way to find inspiration is to try to write music outside of your studio/bedroom. Go on a train ride somewhere, go to the beach, go on a hike, go see a film, just get out and generally experience things. A lot of times, you won’t realize it, but all those experiences can become creative energy which you can then put into your music.
4. Allow a song to grow.
A lot of people have pride in how quickly they can make songs and that’s a really cool talent in itself, but don’t measure yourself up to this standard of “speed writing”. Writing a song can be easy sometimes and simply spill out of you, and within a couple day’s time, it can feel like the song’s done, but sometimes it can really help a song to just let it sit. It may sound done but revisit it in a couple of days or a week. Now how does it sound? Do you know where you can add a cool drum fill? Is there room for another riser? Can something be taken away? Allow your song to grow and evolve over a few days or weeks before you’re ready to throw it out there. A lot of that “full” sound that everybody’s always after comes from days of adding small nearly inaudible attributes to a song and those don’t just happen in 15 minutes or so after you write the hook. That takes time.
5. Release Release Release
This bit of advice at first is going to sound contradictory to my previous bits of advice, but you need to release music often. Now once you’re comfortable with your writing ability and your particularly sound, you can afford to take more time with releasing music, but when you’re newer to song writing, it can be very advantageous for your growth if you release music very often. It doesn’t have to be some big release. Just put it out, allow people to hear it, allow yourself to hear it and then allow yourself to move on. There’s a large group of producers and songwriters who have made a lot of style and genre changes over the years and putting out music allows you to do that because you’re looking at complete and static works you’ve made as opposed to having an undefined sound that you hold onto and never allow yourself to move on from.
For more expert tips, visit Point Blank, the award-winning music production and DJ school with classes in London, Los Angeles and online. Six-time ranked ‘Best DJ & Production School’ by DJ Mag, Point Blank offers ground-breaking courses taught by expert instructors including songwriters, producers and Grammy award winners. Former students include: Claude VonStroke, Nicole Moudaber, Gareth Wyn, AlunaGeorge and more. Head to their site for production tips, tutorials or to sample an online course for free.