Emotional connection to your music?

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by RevDrucifer, Jul 19, 2021.

  1. RevDrucifer

    RevDrucifer SS.org Regular

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    Do you feel an emotional connection to your music?

    When you write, do you try to convey your emotions via what you’re writing?

    These are questions I’ve been asking myself for the last 5 years or so. I’m 38 and have been playing in bands and writing music for over 20 years and found myself realizing one day, “This doesn’t feel like I feel.”, when listening to my own stuff. Lyrically, I’ve certainly touched on very personal subjects, but I never felt I was able to convey the actual emotions behind them when singing them.

    The songs I’d write would just be collections of shit I thought sounded cool, but didn’t really have any emotional intent behind them and as a result, I started to hear a lack of conviction in everything I did.

    Earlier this year, all that changed. Without getting into it, my life flipped upside down around this time and I wasn’t in the best spot, mentally. I found a Classic 50’s Strat for $300 on FB Marketplace and after setting it up, I played a really basic riff that I decided to record on my phone. The next day I sat down in my studio and this entire song fell out in about 20 minutes.

    I could barely keep up with tracking the parts because the ideas were flooding into my head so fast, so a lot of this is first takes. The lyrics/vocals are 95% improvised and most of them are first takes. I’ve written dozens of songs in my life but I’ve never been more proud of one than this one. It’s nothing like the usual Tool/Alice In Chains/Pantera stuff and I totally ripped off Floyd all over it, but the biggest thing is that it sounds exactly how I felt when I recorded it.

    https://soundcloud.com/strokeface/lonely-ocean-wshitbridge


    Is this something that crosses the mind of you or something you have worked to achieve, or found it something that came naturally?
     
  2. BenjaminW

    BenjaminW SS.org Regular

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    I don’t normally write emotionally-driven music, but I do have one song that I was working on that came out of a bad day on vacation of all things.

    I also have this really strong attachment to those emotional ballad-type (not sure what to call it) backing tracks where I can sound like something out of a Gary Moore song or Respect the Wind by Van Halen.
     
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  3. AwakenTheSkies

    AwakenTheSkies SS.org Regular

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    It's a nice song! I listened to it on my phone speaker (sorry) so I probably missed out on the stereo aspects. It definetly conveys sadness and loneliness in the verse then gets a break and jumps into the dramatic chorus. It's an expressive song! Liked the solo too, dramatic and expressive, one part sounded a bit out of tune, not sure if that was intentional. Nice detail at the end with the sound of the sea waves.

    Hell yeah I'm attached to my music, I don't understand how could you not be. Not only because of the effort that went into it but also how listening to a track I made years ago totally just takes me back to another time! Expressing my emotions when writing I guess I do it all the time, I don't pay much attention to be honest, it's not important to me. It's more important for me that the song evokes emotions rather than it being about expressing myself. Which is a double edged sword. I have put myself in a really bad mood many times because of having written a very sad song. It feels like reopening a wound and poking a knife around.
     
  4. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    I don't think I do so much. It's more just a craft for me I think, but still who I am and what I like does come through in the music.
     
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  5. Nlelith

    Nlelith Motion Designer

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    Yes, absolutely.

    I do try to convey emotions, just not exactly mine, in most cases. My imagination is very vivid, and when I compose music, a certain story unfolds somewhere in my mind. Most of the time these fantasies end up giving a name to the tracks/theme for a cover art, but that's it. And yet I'm sure that same images will occur to me, when I'll re-listen to my music years later. From strangers falling in love (and also literally falling) on the ice rink, to astronauts waking from cryosleep as their ship gets blown to bits.
     
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  6. RevDrucifer

    RevDrucifer SS.org Regular

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    That out of tune part was not intentional, I’m just a shit slide player. However, once I listened back to it….and I agonized over this for a bit because it drove me nuts at first, but it’s a perfect representation of putting in a shitload of effort into something to just miss the mark and not get to where I was hoping to get. There’s a desperation in them as they fall away that I’ve grown to love because of the overall meaning of the song.

    I’ve always been attached to my music in the sense that I was prideful of accomplishing it, but that’s pretty much where it ended. I think I purposefully held myself back from pouring too much emotion into it out of fear, I suppose. I’ve written about subjects that are deeply personal, but I’ll write the lyrics to be so vague that it doesn’t really get to the point too well and maybe that’s caused some of it.

    I know what you’re saying about opening up a wound, though. There’s one melody I’ve been playing for close to 20 years and I don’t know what to do with it, but every time I play it, even though I wrote it at a time where life was pretty good, there’s something about it that makes me feel extremely sad. Someday I’ll get it out.
     
  7. kamello

    kamello DESU METARU!

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    mostly this, there are a few exceptions in a few songs where I genuinely writted as a way to sublimate shit that was happening to me.
    BUT, listening to songs I wrote in retrospect, always blooms memories about who I was and how I felt during the writting, almost like taking a picture of that moment
     
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  8. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Colorless green ideas sleep furiously Contributor

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    This reminds me of the argument I see put forth on here frequently from the anti-everything-else-besides-metal folks. That there's no emotion in music like the blues. "There's nothing magical about bending a G to A with vibrato". Keep in mind these are the same folks who refer to metal as brutal. :lol:

    I feel bad for musicians that feel no emotional connection to music. Then again, maybe that explains some of the music these days - technically competent but devoid of emotion?
     
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  9. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Is there any other way? To me it's not like an "Effort" to make it happen, more like being "open" for things/feelings to flow. If they're somehow absent of reaching out to my fingers, I'll do exercises... The result is a rather unorthodox way of composing, instead of laying rhythmic patterns, then chord progressions and then finding a melody, I'll go all deep head first into phrasing what my fingers can translate from what I think I hear inside... which usually results in odd tempo bars and changes in tempo... it's weird...
     
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  10. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Maybe it's just me, but I find music I make myself loses a lot of it's emotion or magic just by virtual of being made by me. I'm too closely familiar with it to be able to "connect" to it in the way that I can with something someone else comes up with. I tend to try to consume media in way that's analogous to having a conversation with the creator, if that makes any sense. As such, listening to my own music is about as emotional as talking to myself.

    IMO it's much more realistic to aim for known patterns of tension building and release, and allow your listener to impart onto it whatever emotion they want.
    As far as lyrics.... well, I'm a terrible lyricist, so don't take any of my advice on that front.
     
  11. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    I mean I feel emotions when I listen to music, but it's different when I write. Writing feels more like working, but I don't think that makes the music worse. And I don't think it would be impossible for other people to feel emotions listening to my music only because I didn't feel those emotions when I wrote it.

    When I put it this way it does feel like I write ingenuine "fake" music but oh well what can you do lol...
     
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  12. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I've wrote songs just for fun and I've wrote songs that I've poured my heart into. The most exposure I've ever gotten, though, was when my band did a weird cover song that scraped the bottom of a chart in an overseas country.

    I don't think every song you write has to be an outlet for your ultimate joy or sadness or a manifesto of your deepest philosophical views, but I don't think anyone should be writing songs about shit they don't know about, either. Actually, the songs I've written when I was in my darkest places are the toughest for me to perform or even listen back to. Why should I revisit something attached to that time when time keep progressing?
     
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  13. VibTDog

    VibTDog who farted?

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    When I write a song it literally comes out within just a few hours, there isn't that much emotional work put into it. However, the emotional connection I do have with music is that it brought me out of a very hard and long depression when I got back into it after a 14 year break.
     
  14. Dayn

    Dayn SS.org Regular

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    No way. It took me a very long time to get out of the tropes that require music to be 'personally meaningful' or 'emotional'. I was beholden to the idea that I needed to 'say' something personal with my music. When I had the epiphany, I said fuck that. Now I just write what I think is interesting - that's all. There's no hidden meaning, no attempt to communicate some hidden subtext. I have an idea, a sensation, a feeling, and I try to write something that evokes it. There's no emotional connection in much the same way that there's no emotional connection when someone thinks of a cool landscape and paints it.

    So whilst I want to evoke certain feelings in the music I write, the extent to which I have an 'emotional connection' is simply the abstract feeling I'm trying to evoke.

    As an aside, I rather resent the idea that a person can only express emotion if they fit the mould of a tortured artist. It's a toxic idea that warps the value of music.
     
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  15. wheresthefbomb

    wheresthefbomb SS.org Regular

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    Playing my own music is inherently emotional for me. When I play, it's an outpouring, sometimes even an exorcism. This is also what keeps me playing. I feel a direct, visceral, ineffable link between the sounds and deep parts of my emotional being. Nothing else comes close to that.

    Practice isn't like that and recording can make it difficult to find that space, but otherwise and generally, if I'm not feeling like I described above I stop playing and go do something else.

    Chino said it best: When you're ripe, you'll bleed out of control.

    I dig your track, by the way. Your vocals remind me of Giant Squid's Dead Man Slough and though your influences definitely show through it doesn't sound derivative of any of them.
     
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  16. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    I also dislike this trope. Being tortured is crippling and makes creating things harder, not easier.
     
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  17. wheresthefbomb

    wheresthefbomb SS.org Regular

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    I couldn't agree more. This applies to many other artforms as well.

    For me, this is tantamount to emotional expression, but I definitely understand where you're coming from with rejecting those tropes. I think that in trying to describe the experience of being emotionally connected with music, and especially in trying to make it "marketable," there is a tendency to oversimplify something that is inherently abstract, and in the process cheapen it and divorce it from its original sense.
     
  18. RevDrucifer

    RevDrucifer SS.org Regular

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    That’s how 98% of my music has been. I’ve tried writing lyrics while a situation was occurring but always figured it’d be better to wait until the situation was over so I could write about the resolution instead of the grief.

    And maybe that’s exactly why I’ve never felt that connection to the music/lyrics, because I was already over it.

    Writing anything right now doesn’t even get close to cathartic because I just crumble. I managed to get out a few lines and vocal melodies of a song the other day but it was too much.
     
  19. RevDrucifer

    RevDrucifer SS.org Regular

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    I don’t find that weird at all, man. Our brains receive thoughts totally randomly; the only real control we have over them is how long we’re willing to entertain those thoughts and how much power we put behind them. (That’s the Thinker in our brain……while the Doer, our subconscious, cements those ideas into reality depending on how much power they are given).

    So that actually sounds more like you’re more in tune with your brain than ya think!
     
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  20. RevDrucifer

    RevDrucifer SS.org Regular

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    Oh I hear ya there, man. Devin Townsend had a huge thing about that as well, writing lyrics and then having to go out night after night and putting yourself in that headspace. He’s talked quite a bit about accountability with his lyrics from both sides; his own issues with them and then how the fans might have taken them.

    I think, at least in my case, while I’m in therapy, there’s only so much sitting on a couch and talking is going to do. While I’m gaining tools to deal with issues, I still need an outlet for them. Even if I never listen to those songs again, getting whatever it is out of my system can be healing.

    And then you’re just fucked if that song somehow gains traction and you find yourself on the brink of musical success from said song and have to sing it night after night. :lol:
     
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