Working with a loop-station or software based plugins can greatly influence your songwriting. There is a multitude of factors that we want to discuss in this article. From the way your sensibility for arrangement is heightened, to the way you learn to identify patterns and melodic structures of looping.
Diving into the creative process by means of repetition, as we’re proposing, can help break through hardened routines and help generate new ideas.
If you’ve used loop stations before, you know how playful it can get. And can generate a huge, positive impact on your writing. Getting back to the place of un-pressured playing, without agenda, just music.
So let’s start with some structural upsides…
By looping yourself, either vocally or instrumentally, or ideally all together, you develop a strong feel for arrangement. Especially the way tension is built, and an energetic narrative is played out.
Because each loop has to be developed singularly, you have to make things that are there, count. It’s not like drag-and-dropping samples out of a library and into the interface. You have to focus on the quality that comes out of your own voice or fingers. It’s you who has to go through it until it works.
Approach songwriting as an accumulation of great loops. Of buildups and gears that work when locked into each other. It will greatly improve your arrangement chops, just wait and see.
Again – because your mind is the content library, you have to really focus on what you want to say. This, obviously, also means generating melodies that work for you – and not just a single one. You’ll see very soon that a multitude of little melodic ideas and sketches are needed, in order to create something complete-sounding.
Also, especially if you’re doing vocal based stuff – precision is quite important.
The more precise you are, pitch- and rhythm wise, the easier the job will be. A little like building a card house. Awesome elements will be way more likely to shine, if the things beneath make sense and are of equally high standards.
Writing in a loop-process will most likely refine your melodic skills and variety, because everything has to come out of your mind. You’re the jukebox.
Connected to the last point, but important enough to be considered an argument – the way you lean flexibility in the development of patterns.
It is very easy to write and produce and always drop into the same patterns. Looping will uncover these redundancies. Things will get quite boring quite fast, if you refrain from mixing things up.
This is the reason why strong loop-artists generate treasure-vaults of pattern variation, rhythmically and melodically. There’s no machine to inspire, there’s just experience and taste.
Embracing the essential
Looping is a good way of embracing the essential. This means, narrowing down the core of what makes something special – and going with that.
The more elements you use in a production, the more discrepancies can arise. Sounds competing, in the worst case even negating each other.
If every loop is an effort, then every loop transports significance.
It’s no surprise that superb live artists like Tash Sultana started off as an extremely talented loop- artists, building songs in this manner. By writing on top of loops, you simulate a very real part of the live game. Everything is real, instantaneous, every mishap has to be handled, and you build a strong, instrumental consistency.
So, on the one hand, this creative routine in a way of disciplining yourself, but also learning to embrace mistakes – and turning them into interesting diversions.
One of the most important aspects of loop-based-songwriting is the pure playfulness of the moment. The way you interact with the material has to be somehow uplifting, even if your sound is deep.
Looping is a process that will keep you on your toes, and it will also show you how to stay in the moment, how to focus on the now.
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