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Tales From the Trenches, vol. 2

Occasionally I get asked the question, "Do you ever get writer's block?" My standard reply is, "No, I do not." Somedays I suck, but there's nothing that prevents that crappy idea from coming out. On the flip side, I get mostly good output from the 'ol grey matter, and I have a couple of really good tools to help me out. Some of my interns and workmates from Elias will remember these:

A) Innovate. I always try to use at least one new technique or sound in every composition. It allows the composition to feel fresh. Techniques can range from playing a new instrument (I just recorded myself playing violin for the first time!) to a new production technique (I just put one of my reverbs through a plugin that makes it pulse in time to the music. A common technique, but I had never done it before.)

B) Love. Find at least one part of your composition that you are absolutely in love with. I can go back to nearly everything I've ever written and point out the part that I love. If you can't feel it, you can't expect your clients to feel it either.

C) Make yourself nervous. Andy Partridge would only present material that made him nervous to the rest of XTC when they were in the midst of a new album project. If you think you're being outrageous, chances are you really aren't. You have to be really outrageous for your audience to think you are mildly outrageous. "Holy shit, what are people gonna think of this crazy idea?" Most likely, they won't think it's that crazy, so go for it. Be brave!

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