Influences VS Stealing


Mastering Metal Songwriting


Lesson Info

Influences VS Stealing

I think the reason we should point this out and talk about this is not only because of you steal other people's music do you not get better at writing your own, which is the goal but there's some pretty severe consequences potentially um I like getting sued by a way bigger band and losing everything which has happened a few times but you know, hey, if you're not in danger pissing off the rolling stones while you are in danger of a cz well is having youtube unleashed on you? Yeah, and these days people are looking for you to mess up like that and they're going to find examples of you stealing music even where they don't exist you can look for mash ups of any band with any other band now probably find it and there's enough people who will believe that it was ripped off so it's uh doesn't go over well pence like we said it is pretty unethical and you're not going to get better writing there is kind of a zero sum game. Thank you. Yeah, we were talking a little bit about before this about u...

m you can become a better player by playing other people's stuff, but once once you start writing your own material, you need to uh you know, we kind of specified that you need to either take really big picture stuff that's kind of like an overarching theme or a methodology or really small details, which is, you know, maybe like the minute little details of ah, the way that a chorus is put together or the way that a song is structured or even just like little transitions or turnarounds or things that you like that you know, that you've heard another songs I thinkyou khun take from either one of those areas, but when you take from the big picture and then you start taking specifics, um, I think that's when it gets really obvious or when you take specifics and kind of loosen that into kind of more general actual melodies that go from point a to point b over the course of ten seconds, you can't just lift that whole thing with the chord structure and and the vocal melody or whatever too many too many, too many thing you're pulling too many things to many elements at once and the when one thing that we were mentioning in the segment before you and also one of the things that I think is a key to a good mix is making in the mix it's making lots of small changes over many tracks to kind of create a bigger change and we were talking about how really good transitions often are a bunch of little things like like a very subtle key change with a change in rhythm with a subtle change in articulation rather than like this is just an extreme example to illustrate my point because I like mr bungle but rather than like a mr vogel transition which most bands can't pull off but sam applies for when you're lifting influence if you grab a bunch of little things it's going to make a big impact on your music and we were really, really is and whether or not you know what you're pulling things, I mean, whether or not you're pulling like a general like I want to be in a metal band, you know you didn't invent metal, you're going to be pulling from all different kinds of things when you, when you start a metal band at this, you know, age and start putting together songs and doing your own thing, you're still pulling from from other things that you've heard, you know, that kind of now kind of in the back of your head or whatever, like in your toolbox and maybe it's less of ah conscious decision it's less of like a articulated thing that you could be like? Well, I took this chorus from that or whatever, but um, I mean, ultimately, all of us are just kind of playing with a style that we didn't invent, you know, yes, so at some point at some point, something too derivative was going to come out and by accident, right? Well, I think it's just important to be aware of it and to stop it before it before it goes too far or just a pick up other ways tio cop from your influences like you're just saying zero and on the the one thing like I'd like to go to first example of god cued up, which is from depeche mode you're talking about if, uh if you were, please don't crash if you were zero in on one thing about the chorus to personal jesus of the hook, whatever you want to call it, you're telling me that you would have zeroed in on the spacing between the words not the melody or the arrangement or anything like that you can't play a real quick and you can describe to us what you were talking about. Yeah, just the first thing I noticed when I hear that if I were to fire you want to pull something from would be the breath that he takes between each line even a longer breath like, you know, after the first four bars um so there's just like a lot of space for the music to speak he's doing a very like uh, minimalist approach to a chorus and it's it's actually more what makes it more memorable is that it's more minimalist than the verses as a super super catchy music too I think it's a very simple structure sounds like there's maybe like, you know there's probably more but it sounds like there's like four things happening in total, you know, but it's ah yeah I like that I mean, he is kind of sitting on one note as well for the you know, the first three lines but there's this this big kind of breaths between each one I like that that's what I would pull from that if I was s o that showed up and one of your songs go show from what I'm understanding with the totally different malady different key, different tempo just about different everything except for the phrasing just yeah, there might be big breaths between each line, you know that and that's enough for me to feel like there's a little like a a spark of something that could get me rolling on an idea that's enough, I think for me I'm sure we'll be attempting for some people who just left more because it's such a good song but right, I mean, yeah, you could easily go easily pull from that. I'm sure a lot of people have I think there's a greater skill in a greater challenge, teo pointing out exactly what it is that you like about it the and using that as a deliberate basically just a deliberate addition to your style another example of got here has what I want oh, start rapid firing somebody because they got a lot of, uh, I'm gonna hammer some of these points home with music. Um, you're talking about the misfits, some kind of hate, and I'm going to play that you tell me that that woes would be what you would take from that. You actually told me that it showed up in ah, gasoline! And so I'm gonna play gasoline real quick, which, when I was checking it out, sounds nothing like that. Yeah, it's uh, but I mean that's a that's. A perfect example. In my opinion of what you're talking about grabbing a nen fluency, I think if you had made a punky sounding song with a major ish kind of melody, you could have been accused of stealing it. Okay? Further. Yeah, I cut it too short, caring, giving away. Yeah, sounds nothing like it. Yeah, it's, just the only the only idea there is just taking a, uh, non word sound vocally and just kind of creating like a new r r whatever, which I think would be kind of a scary choice for a lot of metal bands. I think it fits more for forwhat we dio because we kind of have a balancing act going, but yeah, you can find that in a handful of our songs and sometimes it's a little more hidden sometimes it's really prominent but like just doing these little blue in place of of ah bunch of words um I haven't heard anything in your music that directly sounds like the misfits, right? Like at all like I would have never spotted that unless you told me which I think is really cool, what I'm wondering is why do you keep a list of stuff where you're like that's cool? I want to kind of use that some point or is it just in the back of your head? Or do you kind of sing it into your tape recorder when I mean it's like ninety percent just stuff I've gathered throughout the u know last twenty five years of my life just listening to music, you kind of create this little toolbox of cool little ideas or like things that you I think are a cool approach to a certain part or a cool way to do a certain part? Um, I think for the most, kate, for the most part, it's just like kind of just comes out I'm just because it's like buried in there somewhere um and then they're less often, but I think it probably has happened um is something that's derived from or of a specific like I really like that you know, I wish I could just kind of rip that off, but I'm going to find a way to kind of do my own version of that which has happened, you know, once or twice I wish I wrote that yeah, yeah, everyone has that I wish I wrote that kind of thing and whether or not you do anything with that is up to the person but I've definitely had those songs I'm like man, I wish I wish I would have wrote that and I'll just take like we like we were talking about some kind of general idea about it, like whether it's a really groove oriented riff or whether I like the you know, the time signature the way that the drums move or with the way that they change there's certain parts like I'll take that kind of whatever is resonating with me the most in the song that I like I kind of take that and try and put it into the blender that I have when I'm making a song. So I think that's something that, uh, people who haven't been actively listening for a cz long as you or as intently could do like right now tio just get better like say people have been writing for like two years or three years or at the very beginning is to do this consciously, um pick something that you really like uh like be deliver it about it uh pick something you really like as here in on the one element and changed everything else about it and I think work it into one of your songs just as an exercise and even if it sounds like crap, you can always just delete it and go with what you have originally gone but, uh I think the actual exercise of just making yourself do that will lead teo you just doing that naturally when you listen to music they pull from outside of yeah that's like a genre wise pulled from outside of where you're working because just by virtue of changing it from, uh, pop song or ah hard rock song or whatever song into a metal song I mean that's already you know that's are you going to put a much different spin on it so whatever you are doing to change it on make it your own it's you know, part of that work is done just by turning this into a completely different genre got that really cool slide I was telling you about when the slides come back up. Look about that archie thing is super appropriate of this ever I think this slide is bree self explanatory the open example from earlier and another example for those of us who were into sepultura was uh yeah they started as a thrash band but when it really I think broke through is when they uh started incorporating all the tribal stuff and if you think you know if you think about how people view them or how they viewed that like you know cassidy or uh roots they were a very original metal band and you know even though they're taking something from something else and incorporating it into their metal sound they were you know at least on the level that they were they were the only ones doing it so it's no one looked at them as you know you're pulling you're just pulling that from tribal music it doesn't matter at that point because it's it's it's incorporating in a unique way and you know, almost giving it a new skin I think something that bears mentioning to is that the actual metal side of it isn't that far removed from what was already going on metal wass it's not like a reinvention of the metal wheel and sam with beth metal parts they're not a reinvention of metal it's the it's the addition of the other style that creates something new if I've seen a lot of bands fail when they try to actually reinvent the wheel from scratch is just too different it's too odd and there's no way no basis to go on so it's either you're lucky and you had something that resonates with everybody area just way too weird and off the mark and they're in others really broad stroke ways to fail it just doing this to you hear a lot of that these days you know, russian techno was the first thing and you know, the second one's more but angel like that's in my book is going to be a failed to but like then again you get to the relativity of what people are into what you know, I know a lot of a lot of bands these days messing things that I don't think she'd ever be mashed and getting really successful there's a really big one right now I'm sure on sort of called issues that is straight up new metal new metal periphery gente stuff with justin timberlake just I mean pretty much uh or that I mean but it's not poppy like poppy medal I mean it's like straight up pop uh not it's not borrowing influence like you're describing is actual hot courses is massive, but honestly, I've never heard anyone do that before like that that love like mine yeah, I haven't heard it like that um and it's a massive and I think people have differing opinions on that, but do you want teo maybe do a little q and a or something because we haven't done much of that at all? Yeah, do you have any questions in the room along glad we covered everything is kind of about song ready yeah, we got a couple questions from online mark zero wants to know what do you think is better just composing whatever and worrying about the arrangements later or thinking about the whole picture from the beginning and it would covered like the way you sort of think through part writing and stuff like that but is there one one way that has more credibility than the other makes the process easier to get the whole picture? Uh honestly I think it depends what level of arrangement he's imagining of its like sixty p symphonic orchestra with like three guitars and sense and clean vocals and screaming vocals it's probably going teo venture often the land of a d d before a composition is finished but it's a simpler arrangement words easier to envision the and goal I think yeah so least person it's always good to have the endgame and mine you think I don't I think I'm I tend to work so formulaic that song's end up kind of all having the same kind of, you know rudimentary structure to them and then maybe with small differences like maybe one songs intro will be a minute longer than the next songs or there might be an outro that doesn't exist on the other one or or maybe the uh you know small small stylistic changes but honestly when I write when I sit down and write, I don't I definitely don't think about the whole song, asshole, I I would just start writing until it kind of comes out, and then if I feel like I really like the intro and I want to expand on the intro and I want to make the intro like two minutes before there's, any singing and, you know, or if I want to add an outro to it, and if I wanted to end up being like a six minute song as opposed to a shorter song that to me all comes after, I'm already like knee deep in it that makes sense, and I think that in a way, uh, depending on, you know, like the kind of song you just described, those six minutes song with, like, long intro, long outro and all this stuff, all those details could potentially get in the way of the creative process, whereas I think like, you know, reference in one of your songs, the opening song on the previous record, the one we mixed there's a book, the really fast one, I feel like a song like that you could it would probably be I mean, I don't know how you wrote it, I'm just imagining myself writing something like that I could probably see that song from you know, begin and more specific stuff like for us that we have these kind of stand out songs that air like either total barn burners for the record or there real melodic and balaji or kind of a left field decision. Those ones yeah, I could see myself being like, okay, I want to do a song that's basically like this on so the structures kind of mohr on the forefront of, like, those real fast stuff that we do like, yeah, I can kind of map that aiken be mapping that out in my head before I'm like, really writing it all out, so I think it kind of goes down to like, how much, how much you you know, homes ram I mean that's not to say that like and smart and well served more talent or anything like that, but it's, just how much your brain will naturally think of all at once while you're writing I think that there's no, nothing good comes out of somebody with an enormous arrangement thirty seconds of music for six months because they're worrying about a horn part it's not not good. We've got another question from hostile for a what's that which is in hell hostile, okay, um he wants to know about the role of the producer in preproduction and production in terms of of song writing it's obviously different for every producer and every band because there's different personal dynamics, we realize that, but he wants to know, like he heard the first demo of roots, um, and then heard the finished product and the difference between those and is wondering, like, is that producers sort of input? Or is that just what we should have heard it? Because I honestly don't know because I haven't heard it, but, um, what's a healthy amount of what does help mean, whatever really, whatever the band needs some bands, or so just have their shit together so much that, uh, the best thing you can do is just get out of their way and do a good job recording men and some bands need their hands held and more so than a rule about what a good medium is. The rules should be that you're going to be aware of what the band needs, that that should be like if there's something that you stick to is trying to be aware of that because, like, if ryan came in, it would be a whole different situation then, like, if I know some band you toured with or something you can't, you can't make a one size fits all with that.

Class Description

It’s easy for musicians to get so caught up in the latest gear, plugins, and presets, and forget that ultimately, it’s all about the music. Join Eyal Levi and special guests Ryan Clark (Demon Hunter), Todd Jones (Nails, Terror), and John Browne (Monuments) for an in-depth exploration of what it takes to craft great songs.

Eyal will share the tricks of the songwriting trade he’s learned over years of experience as a producer at Audiohammer Studios (The Black Dahlia Murder, August Burns Red, Whitechapel) and guitarist for Century Media/Roadrunner artists Daath. Throughout this two-day course, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the three core components of metal/rock songwriting. You’ll learn about basic song structure and riff-writing; melodies, leads, and vocals; and fine-tuning the arrangement to take your song from good to great. Eyal will be joined by special guests -- from musicians to producers and more -- who will empower you to take your songwriting to new heights.


Mike Lamb

This was a massively inspirational and incredibly helpful course. By the end of it I had a notebook full of incredibly useful tips and tricks, and I definitely plan a rewatch as soon as possible. I've been in bands writing songs for the better part of 15 years, but this has put a lot of focus on some of the corners I've cut or the areas where I've been lazy with the smaller details. No matter where you are in your songwriting you'll definitely benefit from this, and Eyal articulates everything in an engaging way and positive way. Even if you think you're a good songwriter, there's a tonne here you can benefit from. 10/10 - Thanks Eyal!