The backside of being creatively in the moment

While doing dishes today it dawned on me that the way I make music is almost like I’m high or like I’m having a psychosis.

I get so caught up in the moment that the process of creation is a fog or haze. It’s almost like I turn into a creative werewolf and when I turn back into a human I sit there in my birthday suit wondering how the hell I ended up here…

Why I suddenly had this realization is that I’ve been looking for a way to create music more scientifically, with more thought and care. The reason this became a realization is because I realized it is that psychosis that I’m after, so going against that in an attempt to be more meticulous and structured is extremly hard and leads me to unwanted results and sometimes boredom…

Has anyone In here managed to walk the line between these two states of being creative… how do you do it? Any tips?


I’ve heard a lot of people mirror this, and it’s something I’ve thought about a fair bit too.
I think practice is an important aspect, so that the werewolf moments become more usable or precise thanks to muscle memory.
Sometimes I will follow a framework->werewolf->cut and arrange pattern which doesn’t really reign anything in, but utilizes that wild stage really well.
Most of the time when i make music, i am attempting to express myself in the moment, and have conversation with the happy accidents i create during my music making, all of which is antecedent to a well produced and planned project.
On that note, giving up a little bit helps too.

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You can make it into a skill. But I guess you’re experiencing the extreme end of creativity, where purpose/practicality seem distant, whereas with too much skill can lead to stagnation and inauthenticity (music that’s effectively devoid of content). I think learning to vacillate between the two is a really worthy goal (and therefore not easy). People tend to latch onto one mode of thinking but I think it’s because society was built on specialization. Then again society evolved out of human behavior so maybe training oneself to transcend this tendency is to go against evolution. Anyway you can’t be “successful” if you don’t learn to do it - maybe a flash in the pan and then years of chasing the glory days. Because you didn’t learn to let go and invite the creative process (generating ideas, trying things, exploring new ways of writing and performing etc) OTOH if one can’t generate original ideas in the first place (thinking of making music as a well-defined procedure instead of a breathing, exploratory science), they might be a great fit for mainstream. :wink:

I’m not saying this as if I think I’m some kinda master, far from it … I just am very interested in the growth process … but I can say that the more I succeed in that switch, the more I perceive each state … the more I know about the conditions that support each one …

So I guess my suggestion is … to get better at the switch, you have to train yourself to consciously do it. It’s kind of like enough playtime, time to work, then when the work is done back to playtime. Maybe? Idk what are other’s thoughts

(To add, project parameters are secretly maybe a crucial key to balancing creativity with work)


Well, which is it man!?!?

If you just want to be a psychotic werewolf, then howl at the moon and #knobtwist away.

But you said you want to be more scientific, more thoughtful… there must be an underlying reason for wanting this.

Is it to have more polished, finished songs? Is it to perfect aspects of your craft? Increase certain skills?

The suggestion of doing both is well received by my ears. What good is a werewolf gleefully howling at the moon to anything other than said werewolf?

Think of the great lead guitarist in a band. Gets in the studio, the engineer starts recording from warm up, through licks, and various takes.

Much is not used, some is laid into tracks for the good of the band, small fleeting bits are magical and lead to new creations and inspiration.

Be the productive werewolf, let yourself go, but remember to shed your fur and fangs after that session and allow the human inside to find order in that blissful chaos.

For the good of the band.


Okay, when I play at my best, I’m not thinking. I’m in the ‘zone.’ Music is flowing through me, but this flow is broken sometimes when I make a mistake. My mistakes are often caused by frustration, and making mistakes often causes me to become frustrated. Many times, poor technique is at the root of the problem. Poor technique robs me of free expression. It’s like I hear what I wanna play, but my technique doesn’t allow it to come out. “Now,” I continued, “in order for me to play freely, I need good technique, but I don’t wanna be thinking about my technique while I’m playing any more than I wanna be thinking about my mouth when I’m talking. So, when I practice, I use ‘concentration’ to learn what the technique is. Then I use ‘not concentrating’ to get completely comfortable using the technique. Combining the two concentration methods allows me to get a complete grasp of the technique.” I surprised myself. Somehow, I was finally getting it. I didn’t know where the information was coming from, but I was open to it and it was flowing through me. I wasn’t ready to stop. Feeling the energy, I kept talking. “If ‘not concentrating’ is where I want to end up, I need to add it to my practice routine. Combining ‘concentrating’ with ‘not concentrating’ is necessary to complete the circle.

  • victor wooten;
    from his excellent book: the music lesson

First off. I love the werewolf analogy, this is great.
This phenomenon is one of the most appealing aspects of music creation to me, you get some of that as a listener (can be especially true at live shows) but you can really get this in an extreme way with playing or creating music and it is fantastic.
Music creation can be very medative.
To focus on the singularity of the moment and loose all awareness of everything else. I have been hooked on those woah I just really zoned out experiences like snapping back to ‘reality’ and rembering or realizing who you are. This disconnect can be therapeutic and it is good to step away from directly conscious thought from time to time, our own thoughts can rule us more than external influences a lot of the time and it is not always good to be stuck in that. Humans seem to have many deeper level levels of consciousness and this musical flow state seems like a great way of accessing more than just the top surface level of awareness of a typical day to day experience.

And I would like to able to continue to let what is inside of me
You know, I’d like for that to come out
And it’s like, it’s not really me that’s coming
The music’s coming through me

This sample at the end of the first track on endtroducing really resonates with me

Many famous artists have spoken of not being in full control of what they have made but it just came to them, almost like being channeled maybe. What is inspiration? I’m not sure I know.

This goes beyond music but I think both the process and result benefit from this kind of experience

I remember bowie saying in some interview something like, drugs are one thing and give you all kinds of experiences but getting up on stage is the biggest rush I know.- or something like that. I think you get a part of that even at home with a box or instrument and headphones

I have had this zoned out rush feeling when performing, when jamming with a band, or just solo creation letting the music flow

It probably feels so good for a reason, maybe you are accessing something, so there is no need to deny this or have guilt here imo, rejoice in it.

Having said that I too have been seeking some level of refinement and structure in certain musical aspects. As with the quote i started with i think practicing techniques will help you have more subconscious automatic tendencies that have more techinal refinement, which will then come out naturally during your wherewolf states. Like focusing on sound design, procuring samples, music theroy, playing or programming intricacies, -seperate from the creation phase- for the scientific part; or as a practice and preparation to become more instinctively ingraned to merge the scientific thought with the out of body mental flowing part.

Try setting specific ideas, goals, themes for something you are wotking on, like i am going to work on polyrhythms or texture or drones or a different time signature or something based on a certain inspiration or anything specific- to give you focus

Try working in styles that are outside your usual norms

Focus on song structure, creative mixing or bringing fresh ideas with intention, try something new and it will demand your attention

Instrumentalists often have spent much time focusing on playing techniques, knowing scales well, bringing expressiveness etc, in early stages especially and continued throughout their journey to be able to play the instrument well, this concept and be applied to electronic music if you wish to take that kind of approach. Some people in this type of mindset are happy to play and perform but would be very uncomfortable if asked to jam, improv or compose something. Nothing wrong with that way of thinking in music, but electronic stylings have can tend to blend nicely with the freely creative side and the technical knowledge/ meticulous structured side. So both things can bring something good to the table, they don’t have to fight each other out and will ideally merge back together to give you the best of both worlds

I don’t know if I’ve managed to walk the line between these well yet but this is an interesting subject to me and I think you have articulated it nicely. I’m not sure if any of this is helpfull but my free flowing thoughts kept going on and on so I must have been in a werewolf state when I wrote all this


this has been my main focus as well. its great and fun but i feel like i jam out and then move on. im looking for ways to stay and refine more, but i find that process super tedious.

ooh yes, me as well. i love learning and i have a life long goal of learning new things as much as possible, i dont aim for perfection i just aim for refinement i think and that´s where i struggle, i struggle to go back because i want explore more, to be a wild roaming werewolf.

i phrased it badly. My aim with music is to get in the zone and have fun, its my hobby.
but i want to refine my werewolf moments. The issue is that i find the refinement to be boring, but i long for making music that feel like a thoroughly programmed song. something with intent and restraint.

this is exactly what it is to me… often when i recorded my music i end with a sigh of relief as if i just got out of a trance state of total bliss, i feel renewed and at ease. and this is exactly why i play music, to get into this meditative state.

there have been alot of interesting discussion regarding this and i can agree that at times it feels like what ive made didn´t come from me, but rather was given to me. its an odd feeling and equally fantastic feeling.

i have the tools to fully capture my and refine my music … so maybe i should just have my werewolf moments and multi track them and refine them (add or subtract) whenever im out of inspiration.

I completely get this topic.

I am kind of a “psychotic music werewolf” too, but I don’t see this as a bad thing.
Most of the time it is how I create my songs. The thing is, it is usually the “good part” of song creation, and then I struggle to add the detail and mix.

However, my struggle got easier now because I made huge progress as a “normal human”. Here is my “secret” about this:

  • I let the werewolf do its job, I like him actually
  • When going back human, I tried not to spend too much time on a project and let it go. Either to finish the track or mix, I try to be reactive and not proactive. It is one of the big secret to me. I listen and I only add correct things that I really can’t stand. That is the human job. The creativity part belongs to the werewolf

Overall, I try to prefer quantity over quality when it comes to creation. It allows to relieve creation stress and pressure. In the end, quality comes from selecting the good tracks amongst the track you created. Because, let’s be honest, the werewolf has an urge to create, but the end results is not always good. In that case, let it be bad, the human can’t do much about it and his job is not to repair the crap of the werewolf, but to be a selling agent. :smiley:

Your metaphor with a werewolf is dope by the way.


Yeah. ADD meds kind of diminished this for me. Now I make music more intellectually, which is great for getting things done but not that great for larger than life experiences.

damn, that´s a well thought out strategy…

maybe my problem isn´t that i lack a way of being intellectual in my process but rather i lack cohesive ways of catching the werewolf on camera… because what i want is to catch the moment of complete freedom in a manner that i can intellectualize and refine at later stages

so maybe i need to prepare myself better… if say i use OP-Z to sequence OT and other stuff… record the midi data. instead of doing stereo recordings, multi track it instead and so on.

do you feel like that change has affected your music? in the way it sounds?

I’m not sure, I haven’t really finalized anything since I started taking them. But the process is different and my headspace is completely different. We’ll see. I am still into the same stuff, the same moods and the same methods though so I don’t know if people will notice.

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interesting for sure. i hope you post on this board whenever you got something to share!

Well the thing is I used to go in a completly opposite direction : spend ages on a song created by the werewolf until I am bored, disgusted and get low self-esteem. I realised then it is a very bad strategy as I personnally do music for pleasure. Also, there are songs that just “works” (entirely subjective) and some that don’t. It is a better idea to let the werewolf progress and play like a child, letting him making his mistakes and so on, that’s my conclusion.

The werewolf is not bad thing. It is the mojo, the motor of creation, you should just cherish it, give him space and allocate time to him.


Maybe your right… maybe im overthinking this… i guess its only natural to try to find ways of evolving. but maybe i should just let the evolution occur naturally, by letting the werewolf dictate it…

Björk talks about creativity in similar fashion in how you have to let that little being inside you take form in whatever ways it wants, may it be music or baking cookies… i think its incredibly freeing thinking about creativity (and other modes and feelings such as ego) in this form. it sort of makes it more palpable.

Yes well, however, there is nothing against learning.

As a violin/guitar player, I have also have two important “phases”:

  • the learning phase, where I struggle, slowly try to decompose every steps etc
  • the "werewolf " phase, or maybe more accuratly the “psychedelic phase”, which happens when I am relaxed, enjoying music and also not thinking. I can compare it to some kind of medditation. In this phase, it is the moment I play the best, and where everything I learn comes out naturally. This is the “state of mind” I am looking for when jamming or playing with others. With time, I learned to “master it”, to create this phase. To reach this “phase/state” the idea behind is to think “you can’t be better at playing your instrument than you really are, so be it”. In other words, I try not to concentrate, to struggle, it is not the moment to learn, but to let it go. On the opposite, I juste try to relax, enjoy, start with simple thing, forget other things.

However, learning is very important as well, but it is not the same process for me. I think it is the same thing with music production. It is the famous “muscle memory” that one needs to acquire. The same kind ot phemomenon that allows to write on a computer keyboard without thinking or driving without feeling it.

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Oh, I think you touched something: I’ve been a bit bored lately and I can see in your words the reason why, thank you @MichaalHell!

Anyway, there are many sides to creating music. The patient & laborious part can ease things for the creative one, IMO. By organizing, creating patches, making it possible for the creative side to get as many shortcuts as possible to express itself.

I value this “magic” side a lot more than the other one, btw.

Where I struggle is in creating a liveset, activity that needs both qualities I guess… I have to find a way to let each one do it’s thing.


I like the Bjork thing, reminds me of this part of the moog documentary

Somehow they all feel like the same thing

Capture is an interesting word here if you think about it- could be seen as capturing the inspiration, not just the sound (recording)

So in the chess/ pirate/ hunter/ sense of the word, you know how to trap the wherewolf. Now you have to learn how to tame the beast. This can take time since the beast can be wild, acting on primal instincts
Refine: to purify from what is coarse, vulgar, or debasing; make elegant or cultured.
to become more fine, elegant, or polished:
to improve by inserting finer distinctions, superior elements, etc.:
I agree with @Dissofiddle this is the humans job, fix improve or take away the most obvious parts to you and move on and restart the process all over again for the next full moon, repeating this cycle can bring out more quality over time, rather than beating your first idea to death/ getting board

When just jamming alone or with others I find the first few to maybe even 20 or so minute’s in can be pretty meh, (transitioning to werewolf phase) and once the psychosis has taken over that’s where the good stuff lies. So for the human/scientist far more is learned and gained over the course of making many many tracks/ experiments than overanalizing/forcing just one will give you- this is where the 20min in part comes in on the human side

Running wild and then selective refinement, critical thinking and adding structure to the loose inspiration ideas seems like a common and effective way of making music. Resting your senses and coming back later pays off here giving you a clearer view here as coming straight out of werewolf phase you can have distorted perception

I think, and many people believe all technical skill and polish in music with no feeling is not better than music that is rough but heartfelt and full of soul. So don’t forget that it is also an art when focusing on the mathematical side. All CG and no story is not the best way and don’t forget to embrace imperfections, as they are part of the beauty


this is why i think OT is such a great live set companion because you can use loops (recorded from werewolf sessions?) as the basis of your set, but then you can set up resampling tracks which works as a way of remixing the loop and adding scenes on top of that… its a really nice way of working freely in a controlled environment.

this werewolf analogy works great in this context :smiley:

some very thoughtful considerations in your reply. i will definitely take them to heart and ponder them while in my human phase :smiley:

everyone´s replies has really made me realize how wonderful music is and how completely enthralling it is to find that zone state. it is best of what drugs have to offer but without the side effects.

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…start always from well prepared blank projects…

whatever ur gear might be, at some point, after a few of those sonic werewolf sessions, ur able to at least remember and recreate some basic trix, ways of function/treatment and workflow habits u learned a long the way…
so get some of those in place already for whatever’s going to happen in some further advanced new default settings…

be able to start always from scratch, but not from total zero point…
this way, ur able to harvest all ur werewolf moments later on instead of feeling lost and overwhelmed where to start to cross the finish line…
plus the great sideeffect, that whenever u get in the zone again, u supported already ur flow status and it’s more likely that the whole run remains a longer/smoother uninterrupted sonic ride…

in fact, all music creation has in best case, that moment of total feel for the moment of boundless and mindless creativity flow AND that time where u sort those magig moments out to nail/polish/finish them for real…

once there was a time, some engineers would do that for u…but those days are gone…
today ur on ur own…ur the creative chaos, the intellectual curator to clean out that mess to make it shine for real, the producer, the promo guy and the concept and packaging department…all at once…or one after the other…

so preparation is key…

so further embrace those moments where u don’t try to make sense…
and then find THE sense in all that later on…that’s best of both worlds and pretty much the only way to come up with truuly fresh ideas and vibes AND to also reach the status that ur stuff can see the light of a serious release date…

If you are a “werewolf” type then bringing more of the werewolf into the meticulous refinement phase as much as possible can help. Like don’t just sit there frozen clicking a mouse if you are on a computer. You might need more physical movement. When I have to do meticulous stuff on the computer, I find pacing, or using a standing desk, or even actually talking to my computer, or generally being insane. The more insane the better during the boring stuff, kind of feeds the werewolf a bit and lights up that creativity while “the scientist” has to do the work.