I started making music when I was ten years old. I’ve always been a fan of Metal and wanted to play like the bands I listened to in the 80’s. I enjoyed Metallica, Megadeth, GnR, Glam Metal and Thrash. Before that I listened to Hip Hop.
Musical Genres have one major problem: trends! Over many years of listening to and making music, I have seen one group make it in the industry and a million follow with no success. Why? Because you have innovators and you have trendies who want to ride the coat tails of another group’s style.
I’ll mention a band that invented their own style: Pantera. Obviously influenced by Sabbath and Metallica, but it was the blues based riffs that made the band a groove metal band. Glam rock had faltered as a genre after a decade, the old metal bands turned toward grunge for a piece of the pie, and while the other bands were jumping on the grunge bandwagon, Pantera decided to make their music less radio friendly. Their album “Far Beyond Driven” debuted at number 1 on the Hot 200 Billboard Chart. The bands that jumped on the bandwagon lost most of their fanbase, including Metallica who is making shitty sounding records with Lou Reed now.
Another good example of being innovators is the hip hop group The Insane Clown Posse. ICP came out with Carnival of Carnage in 1992, the same year The Chronic by Dr. Dre was released. Before 1992, NWA set their own trend of gangsta rap. Most of the rappers that came out around that time jumped on the gangsta bandwagon and didn’t have much success. ICP didn’t take the gangsta route, instead they focused on making songs about the most dysfunctional things you could think of, mutilation, hatchets, necrophilia, and every other ridiculous thing you could think of. Instead of trying to be hard, they opted to add comedy to their lyrics. Today they have an empire with fans young and old.
I am heavily influenced by most genres of music, old shit and new shit. I incorporate my metal knowledge, hip hop knowledge, classical knowledge, pop knowledge,.etc. into my beats. The instrumental industry is oversaturated with the same instruments and the same timing. If you’ve heard one beat you’ve heard them all: Bass, bells, brass and that pad underlying the whole song.
To make a beat yours you have to listen to all kinds of music and incorporate it so that it makes a beat special. If you listen to a beat by Lex Luger you not only hear distinct melodies but the different instruments are working together to make a larger sound. If you hear a Justice League song it’s always like time stands still.
You have to figure out what makes your music unique. What elements do you add to give it your signature sound? That’s how you make your own beats instead of everyone else’s beats that have sounded the same for the last ten years. If you want people to take notice you’ve gotta invent and innovate. Walk upstream!