Some bits I learned from being in a band.
I’m just thinking about how I got to this place.
I’m a completely untrained musician, but I’ve mentioned in a couple interviews that I was in an indie-pop band a while back. Bands are hard work, and they’re a lot of fun. I think all bands are greater than the sum of their parts. Besides being character-building, making music with other people is one of the most satisfying experiences one can have in life. I just wanted to share a few things I learned from being in a band that I often think about when I’m making music alone:
-Bass notes played with the kick drum give the song a tight feel.
-If the rhythm section (bass and drums) is tight you can get away with just about anything on the top end.
-Songs endings are as important as song beginnings.
-It’s totally okay if a song is really simple and a 5th grader could play it. Nothing to be ashamed of.
-Make space for the vocal, or lead.
-Look for natural accents in a rhythm and have all the instrument voices chime on them for a strong. feel. For example, a funk recipe calls for a strong two and four count.
-Songs with more than verse-chorus-verse construction are usually more satisfying.
-Freaking out after a build up usually gets the crowd’s attention.
-It’s best to play a ballad after you get the crowd’s attention, not before.
-Loud is louder when juxtaposed with quiet. (That’s how to ‘turn it to 11’.)
-Avoid stopping mid-song at all costs.
-You can change anything (tempo, key, mood, volume) in a bridge, but it can’t come out of nowhere.
-Crescendos, drum fills, slowly decaying chords, and stick counts are handy for such changes.
-The melody is the memorable part of the song.
-A satisfying show and a good album have a mix of moods and tempos.
-The right mood for a song might not come at first. Push and pull. Trial and error.
-Having fun is job #1.
Voila, making pop music is easy peasy!