10 tips and composing advice from Jean-Marc Lederman (Lederman / De Meyer, The Weathermen, Fad Gadget, …)
The recently released “Eleven Grinding Songs”, the debut album by Lederman / De Meyer (a new project between 2 electronic music legends Jean-Marc Lederman and Jean-Luc De Meyer) is one of the best EBM releases which have been released this year so far. “Eleven Grinding Songs” is released in 4 versions. Besides the regular CD album (available here), there is also the 2CD set (with an 11-track bonus disc with 4 exclusive additional songs plus 7 remixes or alternative versions) (available here) and a deluxe download (available here) plus also a black vinyl edition (including a carton sleeve CD edition with the same track-list) (available here).
Side-Line decided to go to the roots of the project together with Jean-Marc Lederman. In today’s article Jean-Marc Lederman gives us a few musical tips and composing advice. Jean-Marc: “We composers are always trying to better ourselves and make compositions that will excite us and, hopefully, excite others too. Here are a few tips and some advice. Take it or leave it, they work for me but they may not work for you.”
1. Start a new song with something unexpected.
Let say you usually start with a beat, or a bass line, or some chords or a simple melody: don’t do it now, begin your song from an angle you rarely use.
2. Don’t tunnel vision on a sound or a melody.
If you have been working that bass line for the last two hours and it’s not happening, chances are that the sound you’re using, or the melody it plays, just isn’t the right one. How do you know that ? If it bores you, it may very well bore the listener. So, scrap it or only use a part of it, the one you prefer.
3. Don’t expect your friends to know more than you do.
Doesn’t matter if your friends love or hate your new song, they are biased and probably far more lenient on a bland song that people you don’t know. Only consider your point of view to start with and introduce people to your song far later in the process.
4. Stop looking at synth pOrn and work, work, work.
Don’t procrastinate: you very, very probably have enough equipment to take you to sonic places you want and while the latest synth XYZ might be incredible please don’t wait for you to have it to work with what you already have. If you are bored with your equipment, use it in a different matter than usual and break your habits.
5. Don’t be stopped by what the other bands are doing.
Be responsible of your own musical development: it doesn’t matter what others are doing, what is important is how far you can take your own imagination.
6. Don’t ever think business when working on art.
First do the art, finish it, don’t think of the business side before the music is done. Don’t mix the two and don’t let commercial aspects enter the creative moments.
7. Don’t copy others, develop your own sound.
It really doesn’t matter what the others are doing: you can inspire yourself from a piece of work but being a replica of another band will just feel lame and boring. Go to the end of your own musical universe and own it to the world.
8. Be sincere.
It’s very tiring to be faking, go for the truth, always. Don’t pretend to be what you’re not but defend what you are, no matter how lonely you may think you are in your own genre. Always, always be true to what you really want in your music, whether it’s trendy or not, whether it’s today sound or yesterday sound or too modern to even fit anywhere.
9. Don’t spend weeks on a song.
You’re on that sorry song for one week and it still isn’t done ? The song is probably a turd. Give yourself deadlines and respect them. If you usually do a song in 4 days, use that as a benchmark to tell you if the song is happening or on the contrary goes nowhere.
10. Not a good day for composing ? Do something else !
It’s normal to be inspired some days and being not able to compose on others: don’t overdo it if it feels it’s not the right day. It doesn’t mean you’re done as a composer, inspiration will come back later.