Re-start, what now?

i recently finished to work on a project (here’s the thread if anyone’s interested :smiley_cat:) which has taken me some time.
now i’m in the process of starting something new, rearranged the setup in a different way, added few machines that had not been used for a while, going back to use a DAW mostly for arranging/mixing and now i’m at that point again: what to do next? genre/style? should it be an EP? one single 30mins long track? :thinking:

what’s the mental (or physical :smile_cat:) process you go through when starting a new musical project? where do you look for inspiration? things around you? wait for something to happen? plan things ahead? have already something on a list from months/years back? none of the above?

edit: possibly related thread here Your plans for 2021! and similar 2019 - project(s) forecast? Music, skills, DIY, …although these are more goals oriented

I’m getting towards the end of finishing up a batch of tracks ive worked on for the better part of a year, the thought of what to do next really daunting. Almost all my work for the past 3-4 years has been focused on the MDUW and my creative brain feels really fused with it, it’s so hard to let go!

Maybe it’s finally time to dive into the OT, I keep putting it off to finish other things.

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I have many note books filled over the years with various ideas (not only music related). Just browsing them for a minute is inspiration enough.

A note book is always around in case an idea hits whatever I’m actually up to. This not only helps to keep track of ideas, but also to get my mind free and back on track again quickly.


Usually, I like to explore an aesthetic that will drive me. I’m always collecting art books or saving tons of videos to mine for vox/fx samples.

That plus exploring a specific music concept usually drags me back to track making pretty quickly.


Get a Polaroid camera. Go out and take lots of photos of things that inspire you. Get a corkbaord and fix it to a wall, and pin them to the corkboard. Ideas will start to flow. its inevitable.


I agree about the photographs. Even when i m just out on a walk and shooting pictures of things with the camera on my phone…
Sometimes i see things that i will think i can use as some sort of album/song art and get inspired by those.
Going back through old unfinished stuff can be good, but can also be a trap. Ive gotten sucked into trying to fix a phasing issue on a song before and more or less wasted a day. That phasing sound in the high hats is there, man and its not going away… learn to love it and release it or move on!
Writing. Reading poetry or comic books, sometimes even cookbooks or automotive repair guides.
Listening to other peoples music is always a big inspiration for me.

Very interesting topic! I think learning something new or trying to recreate something is often very inspiring. For the set’s I create I have a workflow, almost like an worksheet, that’s helping to clear thoughts and turning them into something I can work towards.
But that only works if you already have an idea which you turn in your head into to something.

Another thing I have found very helpful is to stop making music for a while. Fill you mind with new media, ideas, art, movies, culture. Maybe it’s a genre, a sound or style you find intriguing that you just discovers?
After some time the itch gets so strong and I get so excited that many many ideas pour out like crazy.

Rearranging your setup is a great idea. Pick a certain instrument and make it the centre piece! Use just one synth and create patches, a whole bank of new sounds.
Build up a library of new samples or sort you existing one.

Find people to work and collaborate with, be open for their ideas.

Is there something you always wanted to do? Is there something you’d never do?


I always come up with new projects, setting up certain specific framework with rules or parameters for the project, be it conceptual or technical. Soon enough I deviate, but by then I’m up and going. I have yet reached a point where that doesn’t help tricking myself into getting going in some way or another.


My own path has less to do with imagining (I’m quite a creative dreamer) than actually make things happen.
For this, deadlines are a good motivation.

My main fight is against time, or more precisely dispersion.


My projects always starting with an extreme mental state.
Is it joy or anger, if I get the drive I’ll grab a box, and start jamming.
Eventually - sometimes it emerges into a finished track. Sometimes not.

Benefit of hobbies is that you can stop too.

It baraley start with: I want to do a track.

Set yourself a challenge maybe?

  • 30 basic tracks in 30 days
  • deep dive a single bit of gear and play with techniques or functions you haven’t used before
  • pick two random genres and combine them
  • write soundtrack pieces for old films (bonus points if you manage to completely change the mood/tone of the visuals)

Something interesting is bound to fall out.

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This youtuber gives 3 ideas that are pretty interesting, as a practice.

  • mimic a drum beat (good luck with AFX ones)
  • mimic sound design from your own synths patches
  • mimic sound (actually right down the structure how you perceive it, and whatever ideas that come from this, and make it your next track structure)

Right now, I’m producing an EP for a rapper. We aim at returning to the french hip hop sound circa 95-97, so artistic direction is pretty clear. For this one, I use only Maschine Mk3 and dig all my samples from the french pop music that our parents listened to when we were kids.

Meanwhile, there are lot of loops I make that are too weird, too dusty, or out of the rules I’ve put on myself… So I already know that my next project will be a beattape with all these beats, more on a Beat Konducta / Special Herbs tip.

Next in line, I’d like to return to a mostly hardware setup centered around my OT. Still with hiphop vibes but on a more experimental tip. Think “Autechre meets Dilla”.

Should keep me busy for a long time!



Damn I now have again the lakes of Connemara trying to put old bread on the balcony.

:man_facepalming:t2: :woman_facepalming:

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Yeah, I spend hours and hours digging through absolute garbage, but when I finally find something, it’s pure gold, and generally, it has never been sampled before so well worth the hassle.


Now you trigged my interest :slight_smile:
Make sure you drop me a link once you have something!

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Yeah, I’ll def post a link to the EP here when it’s all done!

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For creativity, I like to think that you need to give yourself two things: Time and space.

Time is to do with routine. Put yourself in that chair for at least one hour a day without fail. You don’t need inspiration to be there. You need discipline. And because you are there and you are not allowed to get up and do something else until your hour is up, you might as well play with a bit of gear, create some samples, or do a bit of mixing. Never underestimate the power of boredom to get you going! Whatever it is you do each day, just make sure it’s a habit that you never break. Want to stay there more than an hour? Go for it. But be sure that you’re back there the next day.

For space, I’m talking about mental space. Your brain needs new pathways to break its old, tired patterns. This means doing something, anything new. It can be as simple as taking a walk somewhere you don’t normally go, or at a different time than you usually would (early morning, late evening, etc), trying a new hobby, or reading a book to take your mind elsewhere. And of course, there’s no better way to travel somewhere else than to lie back, eyes closed, and listen to music you’ve never heard before.

I challenge anybody to do all of these things mentioned above and fail to be absolutely brimming over with new ideas! Get on with it already :slight_smile:


I’ve had to use a few trains and trams today, so have gone out with my Soma Ether and zoom recorder and I’m recording the entire journey to and around Nottingham.

There’s lots of very excellent sampling material emerging. Stuff that I would never explore or create from my own thoughts.


I took my hand held tascam field recorder out for a hike once, hoping to catch some cool mountain sounds. I passed a family, looked like two married couples and their young children, who were slowly walking up the path and speaking to each other in their language ( sounded Russian maybe). They looked at me in shock and what I thought was fear, mothers held their children and the guys stood in front of their families as I walked past them. “Strange!” I thought to myself…
Realized later that the damn thing looks like a stun gun! I must have startled them, some maniac walking quickly to overtake them with stun gun in hand…and I didn’t even get anything useful from it.