by Jesse Austin, with thanks to Tearaway

You have just decided with your friends that you want to start a band. Your Seven Nation Army cover is on point and your guitar solo is melting faces. But what happens when you don’t want to play other people’s music? What happens when the repetitive kick drum gets a little too boring for you? It sounds like it’s time to start writing your own music!

Songwriting is a craft that has been around for years and seems to change all the time. Lorde’s Royals sounds completely different from OMC’s How Bizarre, but both are great songs. What makes these tunes stand out from the others and what can you do to your songs to raise those Soundcloud plays and get people clicking the download button?

Five Songwriting Tips & Tricks

1.     Steal – Now, to clarify, I am not suggesting you take the melody from Broods’ Bridges and call it yours. I am however, saying that you should definitely take ideas from different songs. Whether it is a songs’ form or a chord progression you like, people have been using these same ideas for years. Just make sure to make it your own!

2.     Have a Diary – Whether this be on your phone, or a paper notebook from the stone ages, make sure you have somewhere to write down ideas. A lyric or song title might come to you at the most inconvenient of times, so being able to quickly write it down without annoying anyone means you can come back to it later

3.     Keep it Catchy – People love to be able to sing along to something and will enjoy your songs if they can do just that! Even if you aren’t trying to do pop music, or you have screamo vocals, the instrumental parts can be catchy. Either a guitar part you can sing along to, or a drum part that gets stuck in your head, try to be memorable.

4.     Break Your Mould – If you normally write by yourself in a room with a guitar, trying writing with other people with a piano. Change it up and change the environment you are in, and you might come up with something you would never have thought of.

5.     Get Some Fresh Ears – Record what you have written and listen back to it later or get some honest friends to listen to you. Being able to take feedback and look at your music objectively can really help you improve your songs and get them sounding tight!

There is so much you can do to a song to make it sound great, and these 5 tips will hopefully get you started. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you are happy with your music. Past Smokefreerockquest winner Leon Van Dijk sums it up perfectly when he says ‘As an artist you tend to be your harshest critic, but sometimes you need to step back, be positive and confident about what you’ve made.’


Smokefree Pacifica Beats:

Leon Van Dijk: