So you just bought your new sound kit and you're ready to start cranking out some dope tracks. After you get about 5 or 6 beats into your project, you're stuck. Absolutely stuck with no more creative juice left.
You made a Boom-Bap Beat.
You Made a Trap Beat.
You made a Grime beat.
You even played around with some of that EDM stuff.
What do you do next?
Well, it's not glamorous, but I have a solution for you that, when timed correctly, will help you get more out of the beat's you've already done. This method will help you to double, triple...completely max out your beat potential after just a few sessions. So, Strap in, hold on tight, and try to keep an open mind while I guide you through my list of ideas.
1. Stick to the Tempos.
I wrote a whole article about tempos, and how they can help you maximize exposure for DJ's. You can check that out HERE. But the idea is that if you make your beats closer to popular tempos, they will be more likely to end up on a DJ's playlist later down the line. So after you've made a cool track, try cloning it and then changing the tempo in combination with this next tip.
2. Remake old works with a new Sound Kit.
I listen to Beatmakers by the library, and one thing I notice a lot, is that some songs (if not all) get remade, but with a different Sound Kit. it's the same (or similar) drum pattern with a different bass line, and new synth lines. Not a bad way to quickly turn a riff into a full beat.
3. Remake a Popular Song, but with a twist.
WARNING: There's a big difference between using a song as inspiration, and plagiarism.
I CAN NOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH, SO I'LL SAY IT AGAIN!! Plagiarism is SIN!
I'm not advocating you be as lazy as possible and just copy someone outright. What I AM saying is that you can get some really cool ideas from other works outside your genre. Look for something to springboard your ideas. Try using that synth you heard on another song or try to find out how they did that cool effect, and then duplicate that technique. The key is that people SHOULD NOT be able to tell where you're inspiration comes from unless you outright tell them.
[ex.] I once constructed an entire song from the vocal melody of 'Tom Sawyer' by Rush. I turned to vocal line into a bass line, and then went an entirely different direction.
[ex.2] Another time, I completely reconstructed 'Panic Switch', by The Silversun Pick-Ups in a different genre, and with a completely different set of sounds. I didn't use this for anything yet, but I may use part of what I learned in this exercise for a new song someday.
4. Build Templates
It can take me 15 minutes to a few hours to find samples and settings for a new track, depending on distractions and
How'd you like to get more DJ's to play your music? How'd you like to see more Rappers and Singers using your beats to make Dance tracks and remixes? How'd you like to be asked to make more remixes for songs? If any of these ideas appeal to you then I have a simple trick that may help increase your chances of producing more popular work.
Stick to the right tempo.
This seems both weird AND limiting, and in a way, it is. But, the idea is to know what DJ's like to mix and what tempos they like to use when mixing and then to cater to that taste. DJ's are (and have always been) the progenitors of musical trends. There are songs that we now consider classics that would never have gotten radio play if it weren't for DJ's. So knowing their mixing habits will help you to get your music in front of more people if you make it easier for them to play. You do this by selecting tempos that they are most likely to use when mixing.
Modern DJ's use software that automatically detects the tempos of songs, and then they select songs for their playlists that best fit their desired tempo for performances and set. A quick internet search will result an overwhelming amount of results (splitting hairs over genres most beatmakers have never heard of) so, I'm going stick to generalities for this article.
Basic Tempos that I've seen a lot as a DJ:
As you can see, songs tend to gravitate towards certain tempos in order to maximize their DJ appeal, and other songs are not meant to be used by DJ's. The ideal tempos for me were 90, 100, 120, 128, & 140 depending of the style I was using that night. I would always base my sets on the speeds I had available first. So if you want my opinion (and I assume you do if you've read this far already), I would suggest using 1 of the 5 tempos for maximizing your dance tracks.
Here are those speeds again:
I hope this tip helps you get more exposure with DJ's. If it does, be sure to let us know in the comments. We'd love to hear your ideas about this topic as well.