Stuck in loops

Hello. I’ve been trying to make some jams, but I get stuck in the 8 bar loop and start fiddling with knobs. How can I get unstuck? I have too much ADHD to do reference tracks for too long.


Use the arranger


Write a pattern.
Copy to next.
Change one thing

Repeat until youve filled up all the banks.

Go back through and tweak.



Repeat from step one or step two?

I think with OT has so many options for modulation that even just one 8 bar loop can work.

Say you’re using four tracks on the OT, you’ve got mute/Mute to bring in and out different sounds.

Use various scenes with the fader. This can totally change how the loops sounds.

Use trig conditions for some randomness.

Maybe resample your loop and then rearrange the chops. Do so some sampling tricks with the fader.

The options are endless…

With ADHD your going to struggle with the Octatrack avoiding loops. Maybe switch to a simple non sequencing set up that doesnt cause you anxiety.

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Write pattern.
Copy to next.
Change one thing
Copy to next.
Change one thing



Others have pointed out OT can perform a whole piece of music from a loop. But I find it’s also always important with elektrons to compose from the point of view of an eventual performance.


How do you arrange that?

One thing you can do is using long samples that you launch with a one shot trig.
Either voices, ambiences, field recording.
Then you build on top, taking your time, not using all tracks at once.
Ambient is pretty cool against anxiety, I found…


This assumes way too much.
Totally disagree ADHD = struggle with OT.
And the OP never mentioned anxiety. Dont put that on people.

@abat lots of people get stuck in the loop, not just with OT, but other machines, and DAW.

The trick is to write a section then move on fast . And keep moving, until you get to the end. Which could be 4 min track. Or a 1 hour live set. Or say 8 patterns worth.

Its a work flow thing. Practice moving.


I suggest you read up on ADHD and the plethora of research done on it before making inaccurate comments.

Off topic counterpoint-
I suggest you consider empowering people (with mental health conditions), rather than assuming they have a problem because of a condition.

I also suggest you refrain from suggesting/assuming you know more than others, I worked in mental health of approx 10 years for example.

Back on topic, which is getting stuck in loops, has nothing to do with Octatrack, any other machine or DAW, or ADHD or any other condition. Its skill plus workflow related.

Once one finds a workflow that keeps things moving, there is no issue.


I don’t have ADHD, so can’t relate in that sense, but I find myself getting stuck in loops on my various gear because I am too concentrated on making that part sound so perfect that I can’t move on to the next. Usually end up discarding it all in frustration because I have listened to it for so long I lose the ability to make sense of it anymore. Like sensory overload.

So, what has started to help has been just create a part, forget about perfecting it and move on. Come back to it at the end when I have finished all the parts I would like. Makes more sense (to me) to do the knob twiddling from there, when I can see where everything is going to fit in the larger picture.

And when I get stuck I take breaks, do something different.

Best wishes.


Just want to say that I’m in the same spot as you - can’t get out of the loop. A couple of things I’m trying out - not there yet, but my “plan” so to speak.

  • Work backward from the loop. After Jamming, and when I’m happy with the loop - Then think arrangement from that, in what order can I add elements to end up with that loop.

  • Create the arrangement in the arranger first, with no sound. 8 pattern intro, 2 pattern build-up, 1 pattern “drop,” 8 pattern segment 1, etc…

I am also contemplating recording each track of my happy loop into Ableton, and then using that for arrangement - and also add “spice tracks” with ear candy some EQ tweaks, etc.

Good luck, You’re not alone (In more than one way. I. Wrote this while I was supposed to fix a birthday present for a party we’re going to in less than 40 minutes… :rofl: :innocent: )


When you are blocked in a loop, 4, 8 bar whatever. It’s just you try to make it sound perfect.
So you are doing a painting basically.
But a song is more like a small movie.
And movie has some part which are not well made.
So if you want to make a song not a loop, just create a small part which sound ok, not perfect but fine.
You could think of a B section intro end. But move away from perfection.
Perfection is a goal so when your loop is perfect any other thing will sound like shit.
By the way your snare will sound like shit :slight_smile:


For me it’s been an issue of managing interest. Like, a get four bars down and then the most naturally interesting thing for me is to start tweaking, refining, and generally designing the sounds.

Because that’s what I like to do most, if I let myself go down that path I’ll never leave because nothing will ever be more interesting. If I remind myself that making bars is also interesting, though, I can expand my song for a while and then have no trouble switching over to sound design when it’s time.

The real trick, for me, is how to “remind myself building bars is also interesting”. Routine and habit are the ultimate goals here, but to get myself going I usually have to trick my brain. I’ll set a 5–10min timer on my phone and tell myself I’m just going to work on a new loop for that long. Then I can do whatever I want.

Without fail, by the time the timer’s up, I’m already invested enough in some new structure or beat that it’s naturally holding my interest and I no longer feel compelled to tweak sounds of the old loop.

Like all creative things, what works for you will be highly personalized, though. One thing I’d suggest is stop thinking of yourself as “stuck”. You’re not stuck. You’re doing something it’s just not what part of you would prefer. Don’t treat that as a bad thing. Treat it as a thing to observe and understand with kindness and empathy. Once you understand, workarounds that work for you will become clear.


Arranger is the way… full stop…

Even if you only have one 8 bar loop you can rearrange that 8 bar loop to a complete song


I need to follow my own advice…

Same here. My favorite way to use Octatrack is to sample the loop and then rearrange that loop into something completely different.

However I need to do it more often