Metal Bassist David Ellefson - What Is Music....Really

In interviews I'm often asked "What is your favorite song?" The truth is, I don't really have one. The reason is because music moves me in different ways on different days. One day a song may get me rowdy or add a little pep to my day. On another day that same song may disturb or annoy me especially if I’m not ‘feeling’ the mood at that particular moment.

It has been argued that “all of life is energy”. Music is certainly that, especially if you consider the science of strings vibrating to move air which in turn creates sound. Music is really just energy in motion which either resonates harmoniously with us or uncomfortably against us. That would explain why some people wake up to Rock n’ Roll songs in the morning but go to bed with Classical music to soothe their nerves and relax for the evening.

In the creative process, when any two or more musicians are working together, the chemistry and ‘vibrations’ in the room can change and steer us in different directions as we create music together. With this said, our musical encounters are priceless moments that go beyond just a jam session, rehearsal or gig and can explain why ‘vibe’ or chemistry between musicians is so crucial to making great music. That vibe can also change in a group setting, especially after extended periods of time.

Therefore when working together be cognizant of those things not spoken between musicians but rather for those things communicated kinetically without words; things like the singer hinting that he is going to do a double chorus, the guitarist wanting to take a lead solo after the second chorus, or even the drummer using crescendos to signal a change in the song's arrangement or feel of a section in the tune. Or, how about when the whole band just lays into a killer riff or groove and no one deviates out of it because it feels so good to circle the riff over and over again?

No two gigs, recordings or even rehearsals are the same which is why I encourage recording ourselves at every opportunity we can. I think this is vital to capturing those unguarded moments of creative magic we all stumble into.

So bust out those iPods, digital recorders or Pro Tools rigs when possible to listen back to your creativity. You never know when your moments of genius might strike and deliver something you may want to hear over, and over again…maybe for many years to come on a record of your own!

Rock on!

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