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Hired to write a style you dislike/don't care about?

Desire Inspires

To the stars through desire....
Yep, EDM, Rap and modern Pop are the genres that drive me to drink. But it's my job, gotta be professional and all that crap. ;)
So why not collaborate with people who do those genres? They can do some parts, well most parts, and you fill in gaps as needed. Those genres always need someone with skills to replace programmed melodies with real playing. Much more easier to knock out than orchestral music, and pays better in many cases.


 
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Nico

New Member
- Listen to the most famous tracks in that style
- Extract the most cliché elements, the ones you often find ridiculous and hate.
- Use all those cliché elements. Make a parody of it. Do not have shame, just make fun of it!

I used to teach French to English kids. They would never get the right pronunciation and would struggle a lot. But I always got the best results by telling them to just imitate and make fun of French people, no offense taken :P
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
Well in your (very uhh...creative) example you made it sound like there's no benefit. But he's getting money for the job so I think the comparison you made wasn't fair.
Oh, I see. Makes sense of course. I guess the key thing is: how much do you need the money. I should make a different analogy: writing in a style you really don't like and don't know very well is like cleaning toilets for a living. With your bare hands.
 

purple

Member
Hi Vi:C friends,

I'm sure many of you have been hired to compose a style you don't particularly like, of course that comes with the job, I know that. My usual styles are typical jRPG and melodic, think Final Fantasy, Golden Sun, Xenogears, etc.

One of my past jobs was composing the score for a Gameboy color game back in 2000, I actually liked that one because I started composing music for games a while before that era and I figured it would be the last time ever I'd ever write for 3 channels of melody and 1 noise channel like the NES era.

But now, I'm on this new project which is all Retro8Bit / EDM / Undertale-clone or some hybrid of it. I have to say, it's pretty challenging when you've never-ever listened to EDM, techno, hip hop, and the others. I got lots of rejected drafts mainly because it was either too real or not EDM enough, haha.

I still managed to stay on deadline and finished half the work. But did you end up liking the process? Would you do it again?

I'm just curious to hear about similar views. :)
In my experience you will see much more success and career growth if you are "the guy" to go to for a specific style, rather than trying to have a hand in every style and being lackluster at all of them. If you consistently turn out the best scores of a certain genre within your circle you will earn a more notable reputation and clients will know what they can expect from you. Most clients just want to be confident the individual they are hiring can get the job done, and the more consistent you are with the end product the easier it is for them to feel confident when they see your previous work or hear good things about you from others.

If you were hungry for a hot dog, where would you go? A huge buffet that sells a million different foods en masse and doesn't do any of them "the best", or the little hot dog shack on the corner that is rated #1 for hot dogs, and serves just hot dogs, fries, and drinks? I know if I were spending my money on a hot dog, I'd want to go to that shack that sells the best dogs in town and does that consistently rather than try my luck at whatever the buffet hot dogs taste like. (Ok, that was a bit of a weird analogy, but you get my point I hope?)

Actively seek out and find those projects which suit you and your sound rather than just fishing for what passes you by and hoping you get lucky with a client. Once you're bigger, have more stuff under your belt, have a lot of confidence from potential clients, then you can experiment and reach out for more diverse gigs.

It's also helpful because you might get work passed on to you if others don't feel comfortable in that style. If I had a friend I knew made really good synthscape stuff and I just got word of a gig writing that kind of music or was asked by someone two do a score like that, I'd pass it on to that friend because I know they can do it better than me also with the expectation they'll send the more orchestral stuff my way.

TL:DR Clients want to know what they are going to get is good and consistent above all, and friends can trust in you as a sub for their gigs if they know exactly what you can deliver. Stick to a style, do it well, become "the guy" for that style. You may have less potential immediate pay right this instant in your life, but it will lead you to an actual career in the long run instead of just the occasional gig here and there.
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
I agree with the "go to guy" thing. Trying to do all kinds of stuff - all olympic, lofty and ultimately childish aspirations of "becoming a better composer" aside - in practice is more like "trying to scramble up as many low-tier jobs as possible". It's a crappy point of departure if you don't feel like you can walk the walk, confidently. If you can't "be the guy" and always struggle to clearly communicate to people that you're "the guy", where's that gonna get you?

I literally had this conversation just yesterday. The person I had contact with finally got me connected to the higher-up and the dude straight up sat down in front of me and said: "So, you're the guy?" My reply was "I'm the guy!" and we went from there. I don't wanna be in the situation where I hesitate to say that with confidence, and if I was trying to fumble my way around something that's just not my thing, I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Needless to say, I'm quaking in my boots right now, but that's always the case anyway, right. :)
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
I like every job. Seriously.

Now, what chillbot says about wanting expensive productions immediately and for no money is another thing.

But I like the challenge of paraphrasing and/or doing soundalikes.
 

chillbot

Sock Muppet
Disagree with being "the guy" as it kind of sucks to be pigeonholed for one thing.

Super happy for all of you who maintain your integrity and don't sell yourself out. I have none of that.

But, I do learn a little bit more every time I venture into an uncharted genre. Not enough to really pull it off or be successful, but enough tidbits to tuck away for later. I would hate to limit myself to only genres that I enjoy.
 

Desire Inspires

To the stars through desire....
Disagree with being "the guy" as it kind of sucks to be pigeonholed for one thing.

Super happy for all of you who maintain your integrity and don't sell yourself out. I have none of that.

But, I do learn a little bit more every time I venture into an uncharted genre. Not enough to really pull it off or be successful, but enough tidbits to tuck away for later. I would hate to limit myself to only genres that I enjoy.
Yeah, it’s music. Do whatever feels good and whatever pays. Hire help if need be.
 

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
I've written extensively in the country and western, hip hop, and reggae genres...and I don't like much from any of them (there are exceptions, and I'm first to give huge kudos to many of the musicians and producers whom make those idioms their bread and butter.)

It's part of the job, one that leads to more and better jobs if you give it 100%.
 
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Living Fossil

Senior Member
In my experience, with music that I don’t like it’s hard to hit the mark and harder to make changes that get closer to approval. I end up playing it safe and sort of tricking myself into liking some small element to get myself going. Don’t forget that most of the people who do a specific style often just do that style.
That's spot on.

The difficult thing with styles you don't like is the fact that you can't rely on your instincts. Maybe what you like personally isn't appreciated in that style etc.

On the long run, it's important to find a way to get jobs in styles you personally stand for.
If not, you will to some extent lose yourself as an artist.
And - also a bad thing - you will always be judged (and put in boxes) by the things you did.
Not by the things you wanted to do or the things you could have done really good (but didn't do).

Basically, you are a lucky one if you get hired for being you and not for replacing someone the client can't afford.
 

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
Sometimes one's distaste for a genre of music can yield interesting results. I've detested the grand majority of country music for all of my life (no offense and all respect to fans), but I learned a lot when I did my homework for the genre. I finally busted through my compositional inertia by focusing on what I actually did like about C and W: the guitar solos. Everything got built around that element, the chords, progression, modulations, etc. Once I'd written the solo part everything fell into place and I ended up doing a good job. There didn't even end up being a solo in the song, which tells you just how useful the technique was in the grand scheme of things.

Of course, I haven't listened to it since lol
 
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Wolfie2112

Senior Member
If you were hungry for a hot dog, where would you go? A huge buffet that sells a million different foods en masse and doesn't do any of them "the best", or the little hot dog shack on the corner that is rated #1 for hot dogs, and serves just hot dogs, fries, and drinks? I know if I were spending my money on a hot dog, I'd want to go to that shack that sells the best dogs in town and does that consistently rather than try my luck at whatever the buffet hot dogs taste like. (Ok, that was a bit of a weird analogy, but you get my point I hope?)
The thing is, unless it's a big budget production, the client is going to go the buffet and buy a $1 hot dog instead of the quality hot dog down the street for $5.
 
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EgM

EgM

Game music!
I should point out that this is for an indie videogame and not a movie or tv ad. In these kinds of videogames you have way more freedom on the styles, you can go hybrid or even create your own style so it's not like I'd have to make super credible EDM - The client cares about melody above all.

The client had browsed through my entire portfolio before asking me and I pointed out the fact that what he was asking for was totally outside my usual style and he still wanted me to do it.

Since then, I've finished another song and I have the feeling that it's gonna be an experience that's gonna be worth it for the future :)
 
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