I don’t have to imagine the sexy groove feel or thrashing heavy beat. It’s already there as my foundation. Once I find a beat I like, I can start plying along or singing to it. Very inspiring! The important thing to remember at this point is the drum loop is not your song. It’s simply a mood setter. It’s easy to get excited and intoxicated with the loop itself. I periodically turn off the loop as I’m writing and make sure my melody has its own groove. That I can sing the words and melody and they are just as interesting without that loop. Your melody needs to have its own rhythm and not rely on the rhythm of the machine beat. In fact, your lyrics should have its own rhythm too! The loop should be an enhancer to your great song, not the other way around. Remember, every writer with a smart phone has access to that same beat. But you are the only one with that song idea in your head. The loop is not half as original and interesting as you!
Another great reason I use loops is it forces me out of my comfort zone. If I’m writing a lot of ballads lately then I can turn on a beat at 120 BPM and it forces me to pick up the tempo. I remember hanging out in the writing room a few years back with two co-writers. We started talking about a mutual love for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I push a button to play a loop on my computer and rapped these lines “Going out of my mind these days. Like I’m walking ‘round in a haze”, in the Pepper style of rapping. We all fell out laughing. But then it hit us, this sounded pretty cool. We had the inspiration to begin a new song. We finished the song, demoed it a lot more country, with the drummer imitating the loop rather than using the loop, and we had our first #1 hit as country writers. But the important thing to remember is we wrote a strong song independent of the drum loop. I can go out and perform the song with just my acoustic guitar and people dance in their seats. So today if you are looking for a way to write outside your comfort zone, update your sound, or just get inspired then try downloading a drum loop app to your computer or phone. If you have a great app you are already using, then leave a comment and turn us all on to it!
Hangi Tavakoli is our in-house established and professional music producer with 20 years of experience in songwriting, music production, mix and mastering. He has written and produced more than 5,000 published songs to-date, including some major hits in international scale.