Get Epic Songwriting Ideas Fast

Sometimes a track just spills out of you and other times it is an epic battle equaled to the fight on the mountains of Mordor.  Through the years I have figured out some techniques to get me out of those ruts. Once and a while you just need a  little creative nudge to finish that idea or come up with a new one.

One technique that has helped me a lot, I call the title question. The idea is you start with a title and start exploring questions and answers that it envokes. I know… seems cheesy. Well, it is but it works.

1. Start with the track title.  Usually, when I start a track the title is the last thing on my mind. I usually don’t even have the name until I send it out for mastering. But when I am lost on ideas to get a track started, this technique is a lifesaver. One of the best ways to come up with an idea is to start with an action. Like running, fighting, breaking, and so on. Then add something else to give it context, and you have an evocative name.

2. Start to question the title.  Now that you have a title, start asking yourself what it might mean. Make a list of questions you might ask to unlock the meaning of the title. Things like: When did this happen? Who was there? How does it make me feel? What will happen next? Try to get at least 3 questions, but 4-5 is better.

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Song Structure in Electronic Music and Dubstep

Developing a song is more than just the pieces placed together. It’s about creating a fluid story. In this article, I am going to go over how to arrange your track and getting a solid song structure for your music.

The Building Blocks of an Arrangement:

To start, let’s go over the parts that make up an arrangement. There are many different terms, depending on the style of music. For our purposes, we will be looking at these basic terms and then applying them to the electronic music arrangement:

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By |2019-01-05T12:59:59-07:00December 26th, 2018|Music Theory, Producers Blog|40 Comments

Free Goal Hacking Course! 👌🔥

Goals are a funny thing. We love improving ourselves and finding the next best ever, but sometimes we get stuck. You might ask yourself:

Why do I never finish my goals?

How can I stop from getting stuck in a rut?

Where do I even start?

 

I get it, we all get these thoughts sometimes. Luckily, there has been lots of research on goal setting and achieving them.  These three things are major factors:

Being Accountable to Others

Regular Scheduled Updates 

A Solid Action Plan

 

That is why I put together a free email course on Goal Hacking. I will be sharing a whole system of setting great goals and achieving them. If you join I will send you an email once a week, for 8-weeks, with activities and techniques.

I don’t want to give too much away, but let me say that I am really proud of what I have created to help people set their goals for the new year. It has worksheets I have created, interactivity with other creatives, and more.

Ok… I need to stop before too many spoilers. If you are down and want to dedicate to your future, join me and an amazing community of artist.

Looking forward to bringing in the year with more art and collaboration

Isaac Cotec
aka Subaqueous

Spirit Rose Music Video with Marya Stark and Tiare Tashnick

I have always dreamed of making this exact video. Something provocative, emotional, and meaningful to me. When Marya Stark and Tiare Tashnick reached out to me about collaborating, I was elated. Well, actually I was uncontrollably grinning and dancing around.

I am honored to present this new music video.

To give you a glimps on my creative process, here are some words I write about this video.

Our world is asking us to rise to greatness. We can no longer hide from the shadow or get lost in illusion. We are being asked to shatter the spells, to empower ourselves with love, and make this world a better place. Will you rise to the challenge?

I started to vision with Marya and Tiare Tashnick on how this can grow into an immersive experience. How could we breathe further life into the transformative fire? Beyond elated to work with such a talented creator as Tiare. This video was our first step in an evolving epic of music, visuals, art, ritual, and movement. We will rise to the challenge and hope to stand beside you.

The song is Spirit Rose featuring Khatchadour Khatchadourian on Duduk and Marya Stark on vocals.

By |2019-02-09T23:37:20-07:00November 27th, 2018|Producers Blog, Subaqueous News, Events and Music|0 Comments

Loop 2018 Music Sumit

Coming back from Ableton Loop Event and feeling hella inspired. Just set up my studio again and started making music… because isn’t that the point?

The classes and workshops were really mind-blowing. I took classes on making synths with paper, Artifical Intelligence in music, the art of listening, and so much more.

Here is a video I made of my experience at Loop 2018. You can see how excited I was and pick up some of what I learned. Also… there is a little teaser in there for something amazing.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCodS8aCBsY” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

My overall experience was great at Loop. Ableton really goes all out with these events. I got to hang out with other teachers I admire, meet new musicians, pick up new skills, and come out with new ideas to put into my tracks. So yeah… a success for sure.  Next year I hope it’s back in LA, it’s a lot easier of a trip then Berlin, but either way, I hope to make it out.

If you went, I would love to hear in the comments what your favorite part of Loop was.

Music and the Movement of Ecstatic Dance

Over ten years ago I went to my first ecstatic dance in Seattle Wa. The experience changed the trajectory of my life and my music.  So wait… lets back up… what is Ecstatic Dance?

Ecstatic Dance is a freeform of authentic movement. The idea is there is a general formula you can follow to take dancers through a diverse journey, a wave if you will, that brings them from softness to an ecstatic revelatory place and back to stillness.

WHAT IS ECSTATIC DANCE?

Here is the general layout of an ecstatic dance. First of all, it’s drug-free, all ages, and generally a pretty short experience. 2-3 hours total. Think of it as a dance class more than a club.  The event usually starts with a warm-up. People come and stretch, roll on the floor, and get ready to shake it.  After the warm-up, there is an opening circle. Each ecstatic dance is different and I have seen a range from a circle with a 5minute welcoming, to a shared ritual/movement practice.  After the opening, the DJ, it’s usually one DJ for the whole evening, starts there set.

 

The music moves as a wave. From a softer buildup to a peak. At many ecstatic dances, it follows a “wave” where the energy builds to a peak, dips down, builds to another peak, and then lands into a softer place to end. For the past few years, I have been helping with Muse Dance in Portland OR, and the above image is what I made to help communicate that movement to DJ’s at our dance.

THE EXPERIENCE

So what is this all about? Well… this might sound hella woo-woo. One of the best descriptions I have found was from Ecstaticdance.com

Through dance, we believe everyone can discover, explore, unleash, and enhance their individual potential to live a fulfilling and meaningful life. By engaging our senses and listening to our bodies, we connect to others and shape a consciousness that extends beyond our own. – Ecstaticdance.com

When I dance and fully let myself go I find myself in space that lets me process my emotions. Not from a thinking place, but truly feel my emotions in my body. I have had life-changing revelations and moments of discovery.  As a facilitator and musician, I have seen thousands of people experience this same space in Ecstatic Dance. That is why it’s a growing movement. There are hundreds of dances worldwide. Portland alone has 5 dances a week! Some of them have 100-200 people regularly.  You can find a full list of Ecstatic Dances worldwide at Ecstaticdance.org.

THE MUSIC

A unique aspect of Ecstatic Dance is the eclectic music. during one dance you will hear sultry singer-songwriter, Latin funk, throbbing glitch music, and ambient strings.  Since the experience is all about dynamics and diversity, it gives you such a wide pallet as a DJ.  As a musician, this is one of my all time favorite places to perform. I find the dancers are deeply listening and can appreciate a wider range of possibilities.

It’s also been hard sometimes to find just the right kind of music. For instance, I want a soft loving vocal track for the end of my set, but to many times the lyrics are about a co-dependent relationship. To really respect the dance, I want to make sure the message is always one of growth.  You also have to think of music outside of genre but in terms of how it will affect the dancers and where it fits in the story arch.

It’s because of this that I was really excited when Peter Weinstein, aka Baron von Spirit, approached me about a new project.  Together we dreamed up a record label that would help connect the musical world with the dancers of ecstatic dance.  We saw how we could help curate music that holds a space at Ecstatic Dances, as well as introduce new music to the growing number of ecstatic dancers.  Thus, Ecstatic Dance Records was born.

ECSTATIC DANCE RECORDS LAUNCH

Today, well… as I am writing this, we launched the Record Label by releasing four EP’s. We worked with musicians from around the world. Including this amazing lineup: KaminandaDysphemicSubaqueousKR3TURETemple Step ProjectIlluminertiaEvan Fraser MusicSugarBeatsSilk DropEO • Eric OberthalerHigh Step SocietyDJ Taz RashidYogi PrateadoLiving Roots, and Tikki Masala.

Since ecstatic dance is based on a musical journey we wanted to showcase the music based on its placement in the phases of the Ecstatic Dance Journey. Peter has come up with and refined the six phases of the ecstatic dance journey over a decade of performance. The phases go as followed:

Arrival * Buildup * Peak * Cruise * Landing * Integration

The first four EP’s are Arrival, Buildup, Peak, and Cruise. Our concept was to help showcase the different states of the dancers and how music can be used to move people through the journey.



For the last year Peter and I have had weekly calls to discuss the philosophy, build strategic partnerships in the community, and gather an amazing list of musicians. I am elated to finally launch this project. Since Ecstatic Dance has been such a cornerstone of my life, this feels like a natural and beautiful new endeavor.

If your interested in what this project, please join us on our Ecstatic Dance Records facebook page and check out the music.  If you want to get involved in any way, feel free to message us. Now that this has launched, we have all sorts of visions we are working on. Just the beginning of an amazing journey.