Sometimes, in order to improve our skills, we need an arbitrary challenge. I consider myself an okay songwriter, but I’m of course always looking to improve. So I got the idea to let random chance take the wheel for a little project I like to call Drag ‘n Drop Songwriting!
Using a random number generator, I pick the song’s tempo and key, and then a bunch of Toontrack MIDI drum grooves. I drop those into my session, and use this as the template for a new song! I then have a to write a whole song using these criteria and limitations, which I generally do using Toontrack’s Superior Drummer 3, EZMix, and EZKeys for convenience and speed. I left a spot open for a guest soloist, in this case, the illustrious Stevie T, who ripped a killer solo on this song!
I think this was a great way to generate inspiration for myself, and I think the song turned out pretty awesome and cohesive in spite of some drastic and sudden shifts. Because of the limitations, I had to be extra aware of trying to make it sound like an intentional song and not just riff salad. Adding the element of unpredictability and excitement, as well as doing a lot of it in front of the camera, really gave me the kick in the pants I was looking for to hone my skills a bit. I also had to finish off and learn this pretty difficult tune pretty quickly, which was tough.
I’ve got 2 more of these in the pipeline, so be sure to keep it locked here on Gear Gods to see when those go up!