Remove Creative Barriers


Mastering Metal Songwriting


Lesson Info

Remove Creative Barriers

One thing that I've talked about a lot in my recording blog's for creative lives or whatever is that prep is super important um you don't go into the student make an album without pre pro just like your engineers shouldn't get ready tio record you without having templates set up and things of that nature you don't go to studio without strings or whatever so much in the same way I think prepping your writing it's super important and if you prep for your writing your actual writing sessions will go waste mother whereas if you're super disorganized it will be a lot harder to come to the good ideas so and talk about prep really quick um we're going talk about prepping your hands uh most people don't write with their uh with their head I guess uh everybody knows about the uh I guess the myth about most art writing symphonies while dancing with women and going home and writing all that shit down note for note generally doesn't happen most people play an instrument and right through their ins...

trument so it's important to maybe not be a shredder but be loose enough with your instrument toe where your physical body isn't a barrier to your creativity so we can talk about that real quick uh I think being creative also is something that you can channel and the more you do it the easier it gets talk about getting into that zone maur more often it's not I don't think it's really like you see in movies where kind of like the most start example where some genius dude kind of has this inspiration while he's doing something completely unrelated and it comes back to wherever he makes music and it all just like shits out of them perfectly man no one person like that uh but I know a lot of people who make music and I only know one person like that who uh who's ideas come out and finished form um it's probably not most of you so think ready to talk tio mr todd jones I think before we get going we uh I should probably just let everyone know that I think that this is going to go over into the next segment a swell things is going to be a two part deal um so we'll start talking about your stuff in just a second I uh I talked with you quite a bit you know, leading up to this structuring this that we just wouldn't be rambling incoherently about heavy asterix and stuff there's like there's some structure to what we're going to talk about and I want teo I just wantto bring some of this stuff up it's one of the things that you said to me while we were talking is that uh you need to be inspired by what you're working on which I think is really really interesting because I don't think that you should only work when you're inspired however what you said I think it's super true that you should only work on stuff that inspires you and a za big difference between that so I'll get inspired and I'll go in my room I'll play my guitar and all work towards something that you know I have a ride am I have every song for me starts out with just one wrong idea like I want to have a course it sounds like this I want to have a verse it starts like this I'm gonna have a song that's the intros like this you know whatever the idea is I have this row idea I go on my go in my room and try to work it out on my guitar now if sometimes something good will happen sometimes something not good will happen and all eventually stop playing guitar and I'll come back to it later now you could on lee play guitar when you're inspired but you could on lee write songs when you're inspired but when you're not inspired there's things that you could do to potentially help you for when you are inspired you could write a song one thing I like to do is I like to learn other people's songs maybe not necessarily songs by bands that my being sounds like but just anything that I think sounds interesting like where they're being megadeth uh tomato y you know, I mean, if I if I hear a riff that sounds interesting and I'm just not feeling it that day, but I want to play guitar, you know, I'll go out and learn another song and sometimes all make a rift out of my own, I'll make a riff, I'll make a riff for myself that is kind of in the plain style of somebody else's riff, you know, I mean, like, all cranes something, somebody else's thing which isn't necessarily stealing but it's, you know, it's just being inspired from something work it's interesting that you bring it up like that because actually I have a lot prepared to talk about on that topic is I actually agree with you one hundred percent that number one you can't control when you're going to be feeling inspired and creative, and, uh, that doesn't mean that you can't be working on music like the whole craft side of writing that's what you should be working on when you're not when you're just not feeling like the light bulb is turned on, that is the perfect time to be like you said, learning other people stuff like working on whatever, getting better court progressions or whatever it is you want to work on riffs because I guess uh, in my opinion, when your creativity does turn on you should drop everything that you're doing and take advantage absolutely I agree and one of the worst things you could do is go teo say hey you know, I'm not feeling good right now but I'm going to go sit down I'm gonna write a song and then you go you sit, you play guitar everything sounds bad to you and you walk away from your guitar just feeling like crowd like man I think I saw it I cant write a tune, you know, in your whole day like I don't know if you're like a very emotional person that might ruin your whole day and that's don't do are weak or weak or it might even I mean maybe might end up offing yourself I don't know, but you know, don't do that if you if you want to play guitar but you're not feeling like write a tune, you know, go play guitar, play the things you know, maybe go learn some other riffs or something do something at least pleases you. I wish there was a way to understand this uh, this thing and I just called this thing because I don't know what to call it, but I've always wondered about it like when I look at a fret board and I just absolutely seen nothing like it doesn't like it doesn't make sense to me how on awesome riff could come out of that thing it just is like a blank piece of wood and then other times it's like idea's just can't stop happening and I've actually made the mistake I don't really let myself make this mistake anymore sure I have recently but I really, really trying not to is if say I'm practicing something non creative like scales or something and I have a set amount of time they're gonna work on it like twenty minutes just for instance and at about thirteen or fourteen minutes my creativity kicks on and my a d d kicks in and cool shit starts happening and I make myself finish practicing because I feel like I have two and then by the time I'm done, creativity is gone it's not good it's not good at all I don't know how many awesome songs have ah let go by the wayside by doing that, but one of things I think it's super important and says to do with self awareness like you're saying earlier is you need to be ready to pounce as soon as that happens the sooners the creativity strikes me to be ready to go absolutely yeah, totally theirs I don't know I honestly think that you should set your whole life up around it if you're a writer uh paul mccartney said that his best ideas came often like was about to fall asleep on dh I actually got an idea for this class right two days ago when I was about to take a nap almost fell asleep and ban the way to present something just came in I've had lots of ideas happen that way I know a lot of creatives get their best ideas when is most inconvenient dimebag darrell from pantera hear the guitar set up in his bathroom so he would just sit on the toilet lee explained you hear you read about that? Yeah the I told her our reading about that dude from that phone negative too used to say that yeah I mean, if that's what works for you and then get it done set it up I think I mean, do you have ah, do you have anything set up by your bed? No, I have ah, you know, I have a house of four bedroom house so I have a bedroom that's mine has all my records and my music stuff in there so I have a guitar and an amp and you know, you discussed earlier about having making sure like, you know, if you're gonna write, you know, metal make sure you're playing with distortion so have a nice setup I have ah nice you know, I have a good crushing tone and that you know, if I'm watching tv or if I'm in another room, I just you know it's run in that room and play guitar try to try to get what I can so it's readily accessible absolutely yeah that's I think that's super important I think that that seems super basic and almost like why are you telling us that? But I've had lots of like one on one consultation clients or uh writing students who don't do that and I mean, people people put their guitars in their cases when they're not using it yeah it's like that's that's no good you got to be able to pull that thing out and play it exactly I mean if if you have all these barriers to riding set up by the time you actually get going with the tone dog gone and you know, I guess the thing that we can't teach in a class like this is which idea is a good idea or how to make a good idea but we can say that if you're not ready to capture when when it happens you're probably not going teo capture very good stuff and uh I don't know if you guys follow a blogged that I've kept going for a few years not too much lately but still it's a few years deep on metal sucks called a jumping darkness parade and I think of year two ago I actually wrote about this topic of creating all the time versus creating only one inspired and uh what I mean by creating isn't it seems like it would be in contrast, tio, but we've just been talking about but it's not what I mean by creating is doing something musical, whether you're creating the knowledge of ruth new riff, you know, you know, you're not making a song, you're still you're still doing something creative by learning a refer, working on something technical or whatever, the more often you do these things, and the more it becomes have it the more often that you're going to put out good stuff, you know, nobody bats a thousand, so the less often you do it, you might still get good stuff, but less of it. And I think that writing good songs that people like definitely is a numbers game, so let's, talk about recording all your ideas. Do you do that? Yeah, absolutely, you know, I always have my iphone on me at all times, so if I'm in the car when I'm at work five an idea have you know my of the voice memo app likely occasion, which I really used, but I used my note pad so I could write down notes, whether sometimes I have what I believe to be good song titles or, like, you know, I'll hear a song some of the inspiration that comes to me is I'll be listened to somebody else's song and I'll be like you know what I really like this part but I feel like I could change some stuff around and make it into my own you know not like straight up feeling it but you have a bedroom set up it's your iphone yeah I suppose so yeah yeah I think most people I know who come up with good shit, huh obviously you can't carry a guitar with you everywhere you go you mean as far as our recording some because I actually do that too you carry guitar everywhere you go oh no I don't carry a guitar but is far when you said bedroom set up it made me think of you know I have my mac book and I have a this microphone I think it's called a snowball it's by a company called blue or by the company snowball and it's called blue one I think is a sixty dollar microphone usb just plugging in using raj man now I have that my bedroom and it's crucial well that's ah that's a better version of what I meant what? I'm sorry what? No no that's great. What I meant by bedroom set up is something other than like a record legit recording rig like just something to get your ideas down with whether it's your that or your iphone or whatever um it's just not convenient to always have your really pre pro set up around you you can have like you know if you do a laptop and speakers like he's in one of these and a camper which is what I'm looking around I mean I have a lot of the same stuff and a lot of guys I know I have a lot of the same stuff but you can't take this everywhere with you you can't make this out to dinner or like I can't yeah follows great phone is fantastic and there's lots of if you need a if you can't sing worth a shit and you have to do everything with the guitar you can get like jamet pro or whatever there's there's a bunch of ways to do it but I think that the point is that if you want to get the most out of your writing you need to be ready to capture your ideas whenever they happen wherever they may happen odds are you're not mozart I mean you might be but mostly the audience probably aren't and if you are that good then why are you watching this class honestly you should be writing a symphony or something um if if you're that awesome there's probably nothing that we can say that will help but if you're not that awesome she'd probably be recording your ideas all the time now this is ah this is more for the recording guys but I think that anybody who has a d w should do this um you should have a writing temple basically this is really obvious but the reason tio have a template is so that you don't have to set your shit up every single time you had a right I think the the key here is that you're eliminating barriers to your creativity the minute you get an idea you would be able to get it down you don't want to initiate tracks and route groups together and set up the eyes and make sure your affects her there and then load easy drama and go through all that shit every time you might have an idea and needs to be good to go and the more time you spend getting your template efficient the less time you're going to spend on both in the same ghost from mixing and recording but especially with writing in my opinion um I think that the key with a good template is too basically try to forsee everything that you might do like if you're in a two guitar band that has drums, vocals, base then that's what your temple should include if you're in a band that's got orchestra issue have orchestra but if you're in a band that's just two guitars vocals, bass, drums don't start adding a bunch of shit because another bared your creativity will be if your computer can handle it so the line you had a walk is having it be brought enough teo cover all your possible ideas but not so broad that you can't recorded a low buffer setting anybody that knows anybody here wondering what a low buffer setting is all about okay, awesome! I'm not goingto demo the writing template just because we're we'll actually get to tell us music yeah just one thing is going at because you're having like a template session set up stuff it's nice to have like pretty good sounding stuff like again you don't have a terrible guitar tone has you can write to it and pretty good drums and stuff but I've always kind of almost liked my pre pro not being like knowing that it's not going to be as good as the real recordings are because you spent too much time on your demos you get end up getting like really attached to a version of something like maybe more attached than you should be almost I kind of like having pre pro good enough I can get the emotion out of it I can feel inspired I could get that all done but then when it comes time to do stuff for riel, you know when you have new strings on every every guitar for every song and like you're taking all those extra steps to really make something good then it's like it's almost inspiring all over again to have like it feel like an amped up version of the pre pro you know rather than being like man I'm just trying to recapture the glory of my pre pro it's almost more like okay, I'm taking something I like and now we're making it even better it's definitely our fun I think well that's actually something that I think a lot of do seem to be aware of not doing is to stop writing and start mixing um a lot of dudes do that is like the writer refer to and then just for some reason forget that they're writing and just start trying to tweak the way it sounds and then again creativity gone uh you through ideas out the window and you're focusing on mixing and not writing and that's just uh that's uh I think that's a waste of a waste of time because you're probably going to be recorded anyways but I think that it should definitely sound good enough to where it doesn't make you want to kill yourself. One of the things that one on one clients have had do wrong often is have horrible sounding free pro like so bad that you can't really tell what's going on and it's just I mean wh how are you gonna like get into working on that or into taking it further? It just sounds like garbage me too in track products are fantastic for that the easy mix easy drummer easy kees easy drama is great just fast just had recurrent yeah no going to the sweet class on that awesome yeah they're they're stuff is great but I'm actually going to talk about easy keys uh in the next two days but um their stuff is great and, um just being able to click a preset and having it sound pretty damn close is a wonderful thing maybe it's not you know and that's not how you're gonna actually makes a final product but it's good enough for pre pro to say something? Yeah, I like the theme here of minimizing the amount of time you have to get you minimizing the amount of time you're spending before you actually record your idea and minimizing the amount of extra work you're doing, which is, you know, probably distracting on, I guess it's something that I haven't really focused on until very recently, um because I just kind of thought it was always something that oh, yeah, of course I can do that is learning how to play with a click we're just very important. Yeah, like I I mean, because I've always really just played with the drummers and when I would record what I would record ideas, I try to pick some of rumor in the drummer's playing, too yeah, um but the time, you know, writer finding a lou you know getting there you know so you could have the eight beats so you're not you know that it was just too much distracting time and it's and I don't know if it's just because you know relying on you know four beats of time rather than eight beats of time but it's something that I thought I would just be automatically good at but it is funny I had to take timeto really no it's it's not something that people are automatically good at and it's because music in my opinion music doesn't want to be one constant tempo so it's gotta have inflow but I do think that you believe in using a click track obviously but I think that the superior use of a clique trick is to customize it for the song toe where it gets maybe it's not zigzagging during riffs like a drummer that can't play but you know of ah riff wants to get faster it goes up the riff once against lor it follows the natural natural I have a flow of where music wants to go now I don't think that that's a requirement for every band some bands just kick ass with that click it's not that many though it's rare there's gotta be a really awesome er really awesome field that they generate going on I think that's one of those that's just one of those rare magical things that just not very common

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!