Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My approach to writing music

I've come to realise that over time I've created strict rules and philosophy which I follow when working on a new song. I consider these rules to be mandatory for my work and decided to share them with other people. Maybe some readers get some nuggets of information which they can integrate into their own working methods.

So here we go...


  • A bad song with great production is still a bad song.
  • The song is good when only the melody and bass are needed to extract an emotion from the listener.
  • Every song needs a hook. It doesn't matter if the music is techno or rock.
  • Start with the hook and expand from there since it's the hardest thing to get right.
  • Song has to have more than one part in it and they have to have dynamics/contrast between them.
  • A good song structure usually makes mediocre song parts sound great together.
  • Keep it minimal: use as few instruments, sounds, song parts and notes as possible.
  • Every instrument and sound effect has to have a clear purpose in your arrangement.
  • Finish your song before you start the next one. Otherwise you'll run out of time and creativity and get nothing done.
  • When you bring in another instrument in the song, always bring in or drop out at least a second one also: otherwise the overall change is too small and boring.


  • The most important part of mixing is the arrangement. If the mix sounds overcrowded: adjust the arrangement.
  • To fill a space in the frequency spectrum, first see if you can tweak an existing instrument to do the job instead of adding a new one.
  • Shit in, shit out. There is no "fixing it in the mix". Get it right at the source.
  • Keep it minimal: the less processing your sounds have, the better they usually sound.
  • Use as little reverb as possible: substitute it with delay to keep the mix clean.
  • If every sound is in the background, nothing is in the background.
  • To create the feeling of space, keep most of the instruments dry and add delay/reverb on only one or two instruments.
  • Produce and mix your song on different days.

1 comment:

  1. 100% agree with this. The hardest part is finishing a song before moving onto the next.