Well, my influences are pretty shifty. It depends on the day of the week --- some days I fucking hate punk and anything to do with it, and it gives me a headache to listen to anything even approaching it (whether it's Offspring, Rancid, Ramones, Green Day or anything in between). During those times I tend to focus more on orchestrated music (not classical, though....for some reason I just can't get into true classical....I do like the style, though, and anything more contemporary that utilizes that style). I also listen to a lot of foreign rap, mostly Asian/Japanese (but I like rap songs written in *any* random languages I don't know, regardless, especially the weirder attempts). "White Guy music," as my co-workers sometimes call it Pop music (there's a pop threshold I'm careful not to cross, but anything that's distantly mainstream or catchy is alright by me), rock or punk played with synthesizers or other weird instruments instead of guitars....that kind of stuff really cranks my creative tractor.
But yeah, as far as influences go, I'm pretty fleeting; generally I'm influenced by the stuff I listen to, but there have been times where I go to a show and see a band that I've never heard of, like them a lot, and decide to try and write a song with a feeling like that (for example, when I saw Less Than Jake for the first time last year on Warped, I ended up writing the songlet "The Decision" and its sequel song, "Ballad of the Snow Queen"). Sometimes I'll see a band play an instrument that I've never seen played that way before (like a synth-driven hardcore band), and I'll decide to try that, or I'll get an idea from that (for example, using a harmonica instead of a trumpet for a ska song, because I can't play trumpet very well).
Personally, I think my best work comes about as a result of those kinds of circumstances; for example, my BBS Mixtape 2 song, "The Underdog" (which happens to be one of my favorites), was written after I listened to MCR's "The Black Parade" album for the first time. "The Answer" was written shortly after I became acquainted with NOFX but before I knew them very well; and "Again" was written after I heard Bad Religion's Recipe For Hate album, which was very stylistically different from their other albums, and although it wasn't as good as some of them, I appreciated that they were willing to try something new.
Recently I've been listening to a lot of '90's alternative-pop and grunge, Nirvana and Green Day and Collective Soul and that sort of thing, so my newest EP is probably going to be something like "Green Day on Valium," or maybe, "Collective Soul and The Offspring's (or Bad Religion's) ugly baby."
So yeah....I guess you'd say I consider my greatest influence as being "in the moment." If something strikes me as unique in the moment, then chances are that will be the most prominent influence for my next project, moreso than something that I know very well and listen to frequently. I guess I feel more challenged by trying to grasp things I don't understand very well, that catch me off-guard in the heat of the moment.
P.S. Also, is anyone else ever influenced musically by non-musical sources? Sometimes I'll be reading a book, or watching a movie, or playing a video game, and I'll come across a scene or a concept that's really atmospheric or moody or thought-provoking, and it'll strike up an image in my mind (so to speak) and give me musical ideas. For example, I got the idea for the first song of what eventually became that 16-song concept album from the video game "Persona 3" for PS2; I was really moved by the ending, so I tried to channel the feeling of it into song form and then twist it with my own little spin (and somehow ended up copying the Offspring in the process ). Likewise, I'm influenced a lot by funny situations I find myself (or my friends or coworkers) in that I think other people could relate to, but that nobody's ever written a song about. Sometimes if I have a "shameful" thought or experience that I'd find embarrassing, I write it into a song and kind of flaunt it shamelessly in an attemptedly-humorous fashion.
Last edited by Static_Martyr; 04-04-2010 at 08:31 PM.
For all the things that I never did
For all the places I never was
For all the people I never stopped
But there was nothing I could do..."