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Mastering Metal Songwriting

Lesson 11 of 28

Influences VS Stealing

Eyal Levi

Mastering Metal Songwriting

Eyal Levi

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Lesson Info

11. Influences VS Stealing

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, like getting sued by a way, bigger band and losing everything, which has happened a few times. But, you know, uh, if you're not in danger, pissing off the Rolling Stones well, you are in danger of a swell is having YouTube unleashed on you. Yeah, and, uh, these days people are looking for you to mess up like that, and they're gonna find examples of you stealing music, even where they don't exist. Uh, you can look for mashups 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 ah 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 abou...

t before. This about, um, 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 in other songs I think you can take from either one of those areas. But when you take from the big picture and then you start taking specifics, 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 10 seconds. You can't just lift that whole thing with the court structure and and the vocal melody or whatever too many too many too many things. You're pulling too many things to many elements at once, and, uh, 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 a 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 of you, grab a bunch of little things, it's going to make a big impact on your music. And we really, really obvious, and whether or not you know what, you're pulling things. I mean, whether or not you pulling like a general like I want to be in a metal band, you know, you you didn't invent metal. You're gonna 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 have 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 course 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, eso At some point, at some point, something to derivatives is gonna come out by accident, right? Well, yeah, I think it's just important to be aware of it and to stop it before it before it goes too far. Or just pick up other ways. Teoh cop from your influences. Like, uh, you're just saying zero in on the one thing like I would like to go to first example of got cute up, which is from Depeche Mode. Um, you're talking about if, uh if you were, please don't crash. If if you were zero in on one thing about the chorus, the personal Jesus of the hook. Whatever you wanna 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. Play a real quick and you can describe to us what you were talking about. Yeah, I just the first thing I noticed when I hear that if I were, if I want to pull something from would be the breath that he takes between each line, even a longer breath like and you know after the 1st bars. So there's just like a lot of space for the music to speak. He's doing a very like, 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 very super catchy music, too. I think it's a very simple structure. It it 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, Um, 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 1st 3 lines. But there's this these big kind of breaths between each one. I like that. That's what I would pull from that if I was eso if it showed up in one of your songs. Show from what I'm understanding with the totally different malady. Different key, different tempo, just about different everything except for the phrasing. I would just Yeah, there might be big breaths between each line. You know that. And that's enough for Meteo. 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 it would be tempting for some people. Just lift more because it's such a good song. But right. I mean, yeah, you could easily go usually pull from that. I'm sure a lot of people have. I think there's a greater skill in a greater challenge, Teoh, pointing out exactly what it is that you like about it, the and using that as a deliver it basically just a deliberate addition to your style. Um, another example. I've got here as what I want toe start rapid firing somebody's cause. You got a lot of uh, wanna hammer some of these points home with music? Um, you're talking about the misfits, Some kind of hate, uh, band going to play that You telling me that that the 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 new influence. 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 further. Yep. Cut it too short hair. Give it away. Yeah, Sounds nothing like it. Yeah, it's just that the only the only idea there is just taking a, ah non word sound vocally and just kind of creating like a new or ah or whatever, which I think would be kind of a scary choice for a lot of metal bands. I think it fits more for what 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 do in place of of ah, bunch of words, 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. This what I'm wondering is, Do you keep a list of stuff where you're like, That's cool? I want to kind of use that at some point, Or is it just in the back of your head? Or do you kind of sing it into your tape recorder when again, it's like 90%? Just stuff I've gathered throughout the, you know, last 25 years of my life just listening to music. You kind of create this little tool box of cool little ideas or like things that you 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, ah just comes out. I'm just because it's like buried in there somewhere and then there less often. But I think it probably has happened is something that's derived from or of a specific, like I really like. You know, I wish I could just kind of ripped that off. But I'm gonna 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, everyone has. I wish I wrote that kind of thing and whether or not you do anything with that, um is up to the person. But I've definitely had those songs where 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 riel, groove oriented riff or whether I like the you know, the time signature. The way that the drums move with the way that they change their 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 as long as you or as intently could do like right now, Teoh 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, be Deliver it about it, pick something you really like zero in on one element and changed everything else about it. And I think, uh, work it into one of your songs just as an exercise. Even if it sounds like crap, you can always just delete it and go with what you had originally gone with. But, Thea, I think the actual exercise of just making yourself do that will lead to you just doing that naturally. When you listen to music, they pull from outside of like, genre wise pulled from outside of where you're working because just by virtue of changing it from ah 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 gonna put a much different spin on it. So whatever you are doing to change it on and 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 about that which I think is super appropriate of this ever. I think this slide is pretty self explanatory of the open example from earlier. In another example, for those of us who were into Sepultura was, yeah, they started as a thrash band. But when they really, I think broke through is when they 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 our roots, they were a very original metal band. Yeah, and, um, 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 pulling your just pulling that from tribal music like 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 waas. It's not like a reinvention of the metal wheel, and same with the OPEC metal parts. They're not a reinvention of metal. It's the is the addition of the other style that, uh, create something new. If I've seen a lot of bands fail when they try to actually reinvent the wheel from scratch is just two different. It's too odd and there's no, uh, no basis to go on. So it's either you're lucky and you hit something that resonates with everybody, or you just way too weird and off the mark in others really broad stroke ways to fail it. Just doing this to you. Hear a lot of that these days, you know, Russian Tech knows the first thing, and you know the second one's morbid angel like that's in my book is gonna be a failed to. But like Then again, you get to the relativity of what people are into. You know, I know a lot of a lot of bands these days, messing things that I don't think should ever be mashed and getting really successful. Do. There's a really big one right now, I'm sure on sort of cold issues. That is straight up. Nu 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 metal. I mean, it's like straight up pop. Uh, not it's not. Borrowing influence like you're describing is actually hot courses is massive, but honestly, I've never heard anyone do that before. Like that That love Blake. 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 Teoh? Maybe dual Q and A or something, cause we haven't done much of that at all. Yeah. Do you have any questions in the room along? Glad we covered everything about songwriting. Yeah, we got a couple questions from online. Uh, 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 11 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 is imagining of. It's like 60 p symphonic orchestra with, Like three guitars and synth and clean vocals and screaming vocals. It's probably going to, Ah, venjah are often the land of 80 D before a composition is finished. But if it's a simpler arrangement, words easier to envision the end goal. I think you know so least May person. It's always good to have the end game in mind. Do you think I don't I think I'm 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 maybe the, you know, small, small stylistic changes. But honestly, when I right when I sit down and write, I don't 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, um, 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. 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 a long intro long outro and all this stuff, all those details could potentially get in the way of the creative process. Whereas, uh, I think like, uh, you know, referencing one of your songs, Thea opening song on the previous record, the one that we mixed There's a bit of the really fast one. Uh, 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, uh, 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 they're really melodic and Balaji or kind of a left field decision. Those ones, Yeah. I could see myself being like, OK, I want to do a song that's basically like this. And so the structures kind of mawr on in the forefront of my like, those real fast stuff that we do like, Yeah, I can kind of map that I can 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, Ram. I mean, that's not to say that like and smart and any well, sort more talented or anything like that, but 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 in 30 seconds of music for six months because they're worrying about a horn part. It's not. Not good. We got another question from El hostile for a l. What set? Which isn't hell hostile. Okay, um, he wants to know about the role of the producer and pre production and production in terms of of song writing. It's obviously different for every producer and every band because there's different personal dynamics. Realize that. But he wants to know, like he heard the first demo of roots 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 I wish I had heard it because I honestly don't know because I haven't heard it. But, um, what's a healthy amount of what is helping 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 rule should be that you're gonna 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 Brian came in, it would be a whole different situation than, like, if, uh, I don't know, some band you toured with or something you can't You can't make, uh, 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.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Metal Songwriting Slides Session 1

Metal Songwriting Slides Session 2

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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user 6f3d0a

Eyal and all the guests are awesome here and really provide a solid education on Songwriting and writing within the Metal genre. One thing that Eyal said that really struck a chord with me, was how Songwriting was being taught at the music school he dropped out of and how it was uninspiring. I completely and thoroughly agree. I own many, many books and videos on Songwriting and I cannot get past the first few pages because it doesn't speak to me and my needs as a Songwriter who is focused on writing Metal. I've been playing Guitar for 25 years now and this is the very first course I've seen that takes Metal songwriting seriously and as a subject worth studying. I would like to commend CreativeLive on having the guts to feature heavy music so prominently in their courses and thank them for helping us establish Metal as a more serious genre. One that is worthy of awards, praise, distinction and honor. In Metal and Strength, R. Ross Strength Keeper Songwriting/Guitars/Vocals/Arranging

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!

Marco Ramírez

Great course, I have enjoyed it a lot and I'm sure I will come back to reinforce many of the concepts shown through the videos. Right now I'm good to go with ideas to apply to my songwriting skills and reinforce several concepts I already had developed prior to this course. This is a great lesson series... even for advanced musicians, anyone can get stuck in this wonderful world of writing and this course shows you tools to get out the best of this process.