Anyone who makes music will know the eternal frustration that comes from listening to the same eight bars of a melody or bass line 300 times in a row. Those poor people living with bedroom producers will also be keenly aware of how hugely irritating this practice can be.
It’s easy to loose sight of what you’re doing or trying to achieve if you over-listen. Whilst it might seem necessary to loop those eight bars and jam over the top in an effort to inject a new lease of life into your first verse, it can also be very counterproductive.
Like many people, I’m always working on two or three tracks at any one time. As soon as I start to get frustrated with something, I’ll save it, bring up another project and move on. Leaving it to settle, even if only for a couple of hours, can work wonders. When you come back to it, it’ll sound fresh and you’ll instantly be inspired to add to it*.
Quite often, I’ll bounce a rough mix, or even just the basic outline of a track to MP3 and stick it on my iPod. Then, using the ‘I’m just going out to walk the dog’ excuse, I’ll get some fresh air and have a listen. It’s incredible how different a track can sound when you take it out of the studio. Just remember to make a mental note (particularly if you are dog walking) of any changes you need to make on your return.
Try it. Walk away from what you’re doing. Like a good bolognese, music needs some time to settle. Daft analogy, but true. Sort of.
*Very occasionally, it’ll sound like dog shit. In this case, consign it to your trash can – you were right in the first place.