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Do your ideas go unlistened to?

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Probably the most frustrating thing about being in a band for me. You write dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of tiny riffs, song ideas, effects presets, textures, atmospheres, progressions, sequences .... and the rest of the band doesn't even listen to them.

Then you get into the practice room, and you're expected to follow their ideas that they write on the spur of the moment.

Anyone else?
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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 4360
    Yep, it was one of the things I didn't like about my old band.

    I think the reality is that most people aren't songwriters, or artists, in the same way that we are. Even among people that are in bands and can play instruments, the amount that are artists is very low.

    For those of us who write, we're always listening and we're driven to create. When we hear one note, we imagine the next one. When we stumble across a chord sequence, we start to imagine melodies & grooves. We grab incidental passing often thoughtless fragments of noise and nurture them because behind them we get a glimpse of a musical world and we want to explore it.

    I've always been worried that I'd not pay attention to a little idea and in so doing miss out on the greatest song I might ever write, so I obsess about those fragments I record on my phone, the 3-second long section in the middle of a 20 minute jam that was cool, the thing someone else absent-mindedly plays while they're warming up before a practice etc.


    And I feel your pain, because it drove me mad that no one else cared. "Hey, how about that cool riff you did last week" "Don't remember it". Burning everyone a CD of the "songwriting" jams only to find I was the only one that had listened to it, or even worse having the singer leave because they couldn't be bothered to wait for it to burn. Coming up with an idea and being met with a wall of indifference, or polite interest that never turned into a contribution to take it somewhere better.


    It's the main reason I started doing solo stuff. What it does mean, is that when I meet people who do genuinely have an interest in creating new music and get to work with them, I *really* appreciate it.
    Captain Horizon (my old band);
    Very (!) Occasional Blog
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  • I don't play music alongside anybody else, I even struggle to join in on my own ideas, let alone getting others to listen...
    I may feel slightly sad, but I won't cry
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  • BezzerBezzer Frets: 247
    100% ... and I have to be honest, I struggle trying to write in a rehearsal room.  Mainly because I think I've never been in a band with the discipline to sit there, listen to an idea, talk it through and work out a strategy.  It seems to very much be "keep playing it louder until someone joins in" ... so I end up sitting there, volume off, trying to work out what the intended outcome is ... and losing.

    Tis frustrating.

    I prefer to write with one other band member at a time (or happy to let them do it) in my little studio and work out some ideas ... then at least two of you are invested going in.  Love it when I go to rehearsal and two of the guys go "we've been working on this ..." and play me something already with a direction in mind.
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 1858
    edited December 2018
    It's a rare talent to see what something might become, and not what it is.
    “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
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  • Probably the most frustrating thing about being in a band for me. You write dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of tiny riffs, song ideas, effects presets, textures, atmospheres, progressions, sequences .... and the rest of the band doesn't even listen to them.

    Then you get into the practice room, and you're expected to follow their ideas that they write on the spur of the moment.
    I have, at various times in my life, been the one being ignored and the one doing the ignoring.

    One of the follies of youth is an inflated sense of one's own importance - particularly in comparison to one's peer group. This can have negative effects for all involved.

    Band interpersonal chemistry has a lot to answer for. I suspect that the people in your band who are dismissive of your suggestions have a stronger musical bond between themselves than with you. Perhaps, they started the band and you joined later. Perhaps, you are the bassist, drummer, keyboardist or lead vocalist? 

    If you have enough worthwhile ideas to complete a song or two, make your own demo. Present these to the band. Don't ask them to listen. Tell 'em. If the others decline to even listen, you know that you are in the wrong band and it is time to leave.


    Be seeing you.
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  • mixolydmixolyd Frets: 388
    edited December 2018
    The guys who do the lion’s share of the writing in bands are often known as hard taskmasters and egotistical tyrants (Knopfler, McCartney and Cobain immediately come to mind) for good reason: it takes some doing to get people to put work in when they don’t comprehend or value the full nature of the goal.  In some bands it’s easier but that’s usually because a shared musical worldview has been built over time (Floyd and Radiohead were part time uni bands) or they’ve learned composition as a unit.

    Being able to write, record and mix demos sounds like the way forward, it really does a lot for your songwriting and arrangement skills while also showing that you really don’t need other people to create a musical world these days.

    EDIT: also anyone who has been a musician for a while learns to be sceptical of others’ ability to start and finish original music that is worth a damn as we’ve all been jaded after many disappointments.
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  • Probably the most frustrating thing about being in a band for me. You write dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of tiny riffs, song ideas, effects presets, textures, atmospheres, progressions, sequences .... and the rest of the band doesn't even listen to them.

    Then you get into the practice room, and you're expected to follow their ideas that they write on the spur of the moment.
    I have, at various times in my life, been the one being ignored and the one doing the ignoring.

    One of the follies of youth is an inflated sense of one's own importance - particularly in comparison to one's peer group. This can have negative effects for all involved.

    Band interpersonal chemistry has a lot to answer for. I suspect that the people in your band who are dismissive of your suggestions have a stronger musical bond between themselves than with you. Perhaps, they started the band and you joined later. Perhaps, you are the bassist, drummer, keyboardist or lead vocalist? 

    If you have enough worthwhile ideas to complete a song or two, make your own demo. Present these to the band. Don't ask them to listen. Tell 'em. If the others decline to even listen, you know that you are in the wrong band and it is time to leave.


    I'm afraid I'm the one with the inflated sense of self importance! I am the primary songwriter, I wrote the majority of the guitars for our last three albums over the course of 10 years, and I still basically am the guy who does the arranging and the grunt work. It's just harder these days to get traction with ideas that I think are good and are the kind of music I want to write.
    TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER
    Verified Internet Hate-Agent.
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  • I am the primary songwriter.
    My mistake. I interpreted your opening post as an expression of frustration that your ideas were not being given a fair hearing by your self-serving band colleagues.

    expected to follow their ideas that they write on the spur of the moment.
    Your ear and/or transcription skills are being taken for granted. 

    WiresDreamDisasters said:
    It's just harder these days to get traction with ideas that I think are good and are the kind of music I want to write.
    Seems to me as if your band colleagues believe that their sketchy beginnings are worthy of the same attention as your almost completed compositions. Perhaps, their skills are not as developed as yours. 

    In an ideal world, the other band members would rough out their ideas at home before presenting them to the rest of the band. The other alternative is to jam on their "spontaneous" riff ideas at the practice room whilst a recording device is running. If the ideas go anywhere worthwhile, develop them. Usually, they will peter out. 

    the practice room
    Is this at a private home address or in a facility that has to be paid for by the hour? The latter tends to concentrate the mind on not wasting time.

    Be seeing you.
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  • Probably the most frustrating thing about being in a band for me. You write dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of tiny riffs, song ideas, effects presets, textures, atmospheres, progressions, sequences .... and the rest of the band doesn't even listen to them.

    Then you get into the practice room, and you're expected to follow their ideas that they write on the spur of the moment.

    Anyone else?
    Yep sounds pretty standard
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  • I've stopped trying to convince my covers bandmates we should do my original stuff. I had the thought that I'd be writing anyway whether anyone heard it or not. You've got to keep functioning as an artist regardless. Having a few supportive listeners around can keep it all going even if they're not collaborating imo.

    I've just started tentatively sending my ideas to a singer I used to work with a while ago but I don't expect anything. I'm grateful he's even listened to the stuff tbh. 
    "A city star won’t shine too far"


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  • My preference is to write and then work on it with the people I'm playing with. What actually happens is they unconsciously try and rewrite the song by way of making their contribution. Much of the time I don't like what they're doing. They're not really writing, just noodling over my song without thinking too much about what the result sounds like.

    It's a difficult line between feeling like you're "the hard taskmaster" and they're playing what you tell them or copying the parts from your demos without adding their own spin - or the other side, feeling like they don't get your ideas at all or are only interested in fitting in something unconnected that they're learned to play, just because they can. Neither sits comfortably with me and many players just can't do it - they prefer to just cover songs and learn the parts from the records - which is not for me any more. 

    We all seem to be stuck in our own silos of ignorance. Some more stuck than others, but stuck all the same! 

    I've also got a hankering for finding/joining/forming a jamming band like Can were - just to kick ideas around when we're all in the same room together. It isn't composition (well, not formally, anyway), but it might be fun....
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  • I am the primary songwriter.
    My mistake. I interpreted your opening post as an expression of frustration that your ideas were not being given a fair hearing by your self-serving band colleagues.

    expected to follow their ideas that they write on the spur of the moment.
    Your ear and/or transcription skills are being taken for granted. 

    WiresDreamDisasters said:
    It's just harder these days to get traction with ideas that I think are good and are the kind of music I want to write.
    Seems to me as if your band colleagues believe that their sketchy beginnings are worthy of the same attention as your almost completed compositions. Perhaps, their skills are not as developed as yours. 

    In an ideal world, the other band members would rough out their ideas at home before presenting them to the rest of the band. The other alternative is to jam on their "spontaneous" riff ideas at the practice room whilst a recording device is running. If the ideas go anywhere worthwhile, develop them. Usually, they will peter out. 

    the practice room
    Is this at a private home address or in a facility that has to be paid for by the hour? The latter tends to concentrate the mind on not wasting time.

    Yeah we have our own room that we pay a monthly sum for, and we get access to it two nights a week. It's a pretty sweet deal tbh, but we're not making much use of it right now. In the new year it's time to start kicking arses I think.
    TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER
    Verified Internet Hate-Agent.
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  • joetelejoetele Frets: 225
    I've got tons of stuff recorded on the SD card of my little Zoom R8 from my 'silent' jamming at night once my son has gone to bed...and if I remember them, I try and bring them to band practice to create songs. But if not, it's no biggie. Me and the drummer tend to create together - the only people not listening to them are the general public. I'm grateful that he's pretty open minded, and with just two of us it's a nice balance of creativity and acceptance, which we'd probably miss in a larger band, as there's always someone trying to 'steer the ship' somewhat. 

    I just need to find the time to get some of the stuff off the SD card so we can both listen to it and see what to bring to the band, and what to leave as general noodlings. I'm happy enough to create some of the more ambient, wandering stuff on my own and put that out at some point as a proper recording, separate to the band. Maybe that's what @WiresDreamDisasters could try to stave off any resentment at having ideas ignored? 
    Pedals. 
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 15058
    My last band had what seemed to me to be a brilliant setup; I'd come up with the opening ideas and the bass player was just superb at working with, in, and around them - stuff that would never have occurred to me.

    The downside was that he thought he was also good at the opening ideas, and I thought he wasn't - in isolation what he came up with sounded like demented Canadian free-jazz to me. In hindsight it might well have been that I just wasn't as good at working with his ideas as he was with mine.
    Every year, I grow half as pretty, and twice as drunk. 
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  • I definitely like to limit the stakeholders in early stages. When I work with just the singer/ other guitarist it works fine. Trying to get 4 people to focus on the same thing at once, especially when 1 is a drummer is all but impossible.

    We have written some good stuff as a band but the reality is I have to then coach some members into playing appropriately over a series of months instead of just being done in a single session.
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  • It's been a while since I worked with an originals band (although I still work on original material on my own from time to time) but one experience stuck with me.  Although I'd had plenty of stuff taken up by the band in the past I had the seeds of, what I thought, was a good idea that just wasn't gaining traction.  Then it dawned on me - whilst I thought that it was a great idea the truth was that it just wasn't up to scratch.  I went away, worked on it, presented the new idea and the rest of the band just jumped on it straight away.

    Some people wouldn't recognise a good idea if it came up and hit them in the face - but sometimes you have to accept that it just isn't a good idea to begin with.  The thing is that often people won't actually tell you that your idea is shit, they'll just not commit or change the subject.


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  • Sporky said:
    demented Canadian free-jazz
    Verrrrrrry interesting ... but it steenks.


    Be seeing you.
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 505
    edited December 2018
    Yep, in the last band I was in I'd be writing a lot of riffs and chorus progressions, in the early days most of them actually turned into full songs. But a lineup change shifted dynamic and I kinda got pushed aside due to the new member being a similar sort of writer meaning we fought for rhythm and harmony alot in practices. Alot of the attempted writing became impromptu rehearsal jamming (that the new guy lead) which never got anywhere as it was critiqued far too much and ideas were scrapped relatively quickly before been given time to develop. I think it got to the point where there were too many people trying to come up with new ideas and no one giving the song any backbone/structure. Originally the way we would operate (which worked, hence how we got songs actually written) was I would write and record a basic guitar track of the chord structures, send it over and then the vocalist would add some melody to fill out the choruses, say (usually we wrote choruses first). Then the drummer would be learning rhythms, the bassist the same and the other guitarist would be figuring out lead lines. When we got to the rehearsal room everyone would at least have an idea of how the song went so we could jam it and get it right.
    This worked for about a year and a bit til we had a member change and for the next 3 or so years with this impromptu jam there and then it just never worked. I think we only managed to write one new song together. I did suggest like a "song idea library" on Google drive, where each week we had to put 3 ideas on there for everyone else to listen to. After a month or two I was the only member to put anything on there and though not all the ideas were amazing I still felt there was enough to work with to turn into songs. No one else listened to those or contributed so I decided enough was enough and left a few weeks later.

    Some bands I know have one principal songwriter who actually writes EVERYTHING, from guitars to vocals to the drum parts. I personally wouldn't want my parts written for me but the band are doing well and it saves a lot of creative conflict I guess. Each band is different though so whatever works for them. 

    The band I'm playing for now our writing process is completely different. I meet up with the guitarists (there's 2 of them, not including me as I'm mainly a dep/tech guy but still get involved in writing) having heard a recorded demo to have the song idea in my head. Then we jam out ideas, not in the rehearsal room on the fly, but round one of their houses, where we aren't under pressure to write within a few hours of paid room time. Its more natural and less stressy. Everyone is accepting of one another's contributions or suggestions and its more collective. Then whatever we write we record and put it on the band dropbox. Bassist, vocalist and drummer add stuff and it becomes a song.
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  • These days I am Zen about it. But have been thinking about moving to bass and just enjoying playing others songs 

    Instagram is Rocknrollismyescape -

    FOR SALE - Catalinbread Echorec, Sonic Blue classic player strat and a Digitech bad monkey

     

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