It usually starts when i don't have time for anything. It's THAT moment, everybody knows very well. I just start my DAW program, put first segment of the future greatest hit there, and after 15h of amok i'm still in front of the computer, with 2mins of track, without a will to continue. I save the track and don't go back.
TRUEEE THAT!!!!!! i have tonnes of projects like that.... the question is..... do they get better each time?
For me... I'm in a process of heavy and thorough learning and experimentation in finding my 'sound'... so I just start with something I want to learn... or experiment with... and it just takes me somewhere
Today I want to go through the factory presets in Zebra 2 and choose my favorites... then try to recreate them from scratch...tweak them... decide what about them I like... so where that takes me.
but probably eat some chicken and pass out for a while first.
I get stoned.... thats what I start with. and then I usually get some cookies and milk or ice cream, and all along I have a kick and snare going while I search thru patches or samples, loops, etc, for something that fits, and when i find the texture or main feel to the song idea, i save it... and move on... keeping the same beat but changing hte main chorus or melody or whatever it is, that drives the idea... usually a bass synth or a texture synth that I have taken and modified and added a lot of dirt or tube/tape.
I worry about the small stuff after... I try to find unique ideas that may or may not fit.
i usually start after a cup of coffee or something, and thinking about what i wanna work on the most. A rhythm or sound I've been trying to refine, or a song in progress, I feel like there's always something to work on. sometimes I just go through my oldest projects and turn them into new stuff.
It depends on the track. if it's a song with lyrics, I'll usually start from the lyrics. Sometimes all, but at least a verse or the chorus, even if I'm not sure which it is at the time. Then I'll get a kick going on the sequencer and dail in a tempo I'm comfortable singing to. Then move on to getting a bassline going, then add more precussion, so it sits in with the bass, and carry on from there.
If it's a track where I wan't to use sampled vocal shots, I'll sort the samples out first, then load the into the player. Again start with a kick on the sequencer and then work out where I want the samples to come in or do the bassline, then samples.
I tried this tactic very recently: I listened to a song I liked a lot and wrote down all the parts, instruments, sounds and elements that were in it. I arranged them in a timeline grid that resembles grids in DAW recording window. This way I got a reference on what the track needs. These boundaries made starting the actual work really exciting because I had a clear vision of what I need to create to finish the track.
0) feel inspired somehow
1) grab either a VSTi preset I edited or one I made
2) jam with it
3) calculate the BPM of the jamming
4) record the jam at the discovered BPM
5) start overdubbing or loading in samples and mixing as I go along
6) mix adjustments and editing of rhythms
7) final mixdown and rendering to 32-bit float WAV
8) archive and convert a copy to upload format
9) create more samples for next project by combining stuff
10) edit samples for next project
I feel as though it really depends on the track. Sometimes I can get inspired just by noodling around on my gear, or from just a beat on other occasions. I usually start with some chords now, but I also enjoy trying to create a track that evokes some sort of feeling I have in mind, like riding in a car.
Now that I really think about it, I'd say my tracks start as thoughts in my head. "Oh, I want to make a jungle track", or "oh, I need to make an ambient album" are both examples of that thought process in action. After that, it's just a process of discovering the track in real time as it's composed
My creative work flow may differ from the norm here but,i like to fire up my favorite drum machines .
I then start jamming with different chords that have some tension and feeling and emotion.
I then create melodies, and create chord progressions then i mess around with different chord progressions until i get the right feel and vibe.
I then break the rules once everything sounds right to make it sound epic.
Try to reproduce this one song I liked some days ago
Come back to DAW moments later
Choose nice sounding instrument
Choose a mood
Start playing with chords (minor/major...7th)
Check for voice samples (if applicable)
Develop a perc system (2 or 3 different, maximum),
And finally try and play with pieces of melody that could fit together and with the chords, without overwhelming the track... Most difficult process to me.
Until now it works, it gives somehow flat sounds, since I prefer to work horizontally than vertically, meaning that I will more tend to extend the track with pieces of melody, than to make my one loop more complex; there are some functions I still do not master.
How I start my creative workflow has everything to do with state of mind.
If I'm not in the mood, I won't be productive.
So...there are ways to improve productivity, if need be (I can be quite ritualistic about my studio time, to be honest). Exercise is helpful, as anyone knows when you're making music on a computer, you're not moving at all, possibly for hours. Stretching as well.
Caffeine, of course. But lately I've taken to another (legal) substance, Kratom. Would highly recommend it to anyone who works for hours at a time. It is similar to caffeine, but has a longer-lasting effect and also has the added bonus of being a euphoriant. It's really a wonder-drug for any creative work.
Before I work, I always listen to the sounds around me, as closely as possible. It's a practice of listening, it gets my mind ready to listen to my own music, intently.
Also, when I begin work, I set at least an hour of time, with no possible distractions. That means turning off internet, shutting my door, closing the blinds.
I just keep my eyes open until i am so tired the next step would be death. I then start ableton and then start doing whatever crosses my fingertips. The good thing about being tired is that i dont have all the “do this” and “dont do that” prohibiting thoughts present, so the next day i find a project that has become a HUGE mistake that needs a lot of repairs, but at the same time has some interesting nuances.