Wandering between genres

Who else feels home in various genres and is producing vastly different music?
I for myself have a love for synthesizer dominated idm/electronica, melodic technoish stuff, ambient, sample based hip hop and downbeat, as well as guitar heavy music like rock, singer-songwriter stuff etc. Electronic music alone is so crazy diverse. Dance genres might share a lot of things but there is so many great directions you can go.
And depending on what I’m listening currently the music I produce changes frequently. One day I try to sound like Aphex, the other day I want to be DJ Shadow :smiley: Also my gear demands change frequently with the style of music I do.
Sometimes I try to force myself to stick to one style, and say to myself I can’t get really good at one thing if I change all the time. On the other hand you learn lot’s of different things. I also often think that it’s harder to get a “fanbase” if you are acting like a chameleon :smiley: But I guess I shouldn’t care about that.
Who can relate to this? How do you handle it? Different projects or pseudonyms for different stuff? Or do you think: “who cares?” :slight_smile:


I’m all over the place as well. Don’t really feel home in any genre, just make whatever comes out when I sit down with the machines. It feels like the most honest approach I could take personally. I’ve had periods where I’ve tried to only make club music for instance, but I simply can’t do it - it feels too much like work, and when inspiration strikes you just need to go with the flow and make whatever comes out. My brother is a club head, pretty much only listens to club music, and has done that for the past 20 years - I simply don’t get it, I guess I’m not made for it somehow. I can’t stand just listening to one type of music all the time, so I guess that’s where the preference for making all kinds of different styles come from as well. I admire people that do though. :slight_smile: I think I have maybe 15 different aliases, hehe, and don’t mind it at all, building a “fan base” isn’t within reach, so to speak, so I couldn’t really care less. I actually find it quite liberating to hide behind an alias. Not even my closest friends know about a lot of the music I release, haha.


I am working with different genres and have different project names to keep it simple for the people who listen to my music. I have a dark ambient project, a techno project, a drum and bass live band and these are only my electronic music projects. I also play the organ and piano on a professional level and gain most of my regular income with “classical” music. For me it´s no big deal to juggle all these different sides of my musical personality, I often work in phases. These days I am preparing some techno gigs and so I am mostly in the studio with my elektron stuff. After that I may be in another ambient production phase and so on. Usually I don´t work on different genres / projects at the same time, it would confuse me.


Wandering between genres is often the first Step into creating a new one :wink: So - nothing wrong with that! Music should be as diverse as possible! If one is able to combine the elements of different genres in a meaningful way, fresh and new Music will evolve from that.


that’s a nice way to see it, actually. I often keep the things separate. But that’s the challenge I guess, to mix it up in a meaningful way :slight_smile:

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My main band is called Nightsatan and we’ve been doing this thing we call lasermetal for the last 10 or so years. One music journalist described our music as ”If Kraftwerk were trying to play Black Sabbath songs.” It’s basically doom metal played with only live synths and electronic drums. No sequencers, no loops, no samples.

But at the moment we’re recording our first hip hop album with three rappers and mainly sequencers, loops and samples. It sounds like Nightsatan but it’s something completely different at the same time. The first single from the album was released today to rave reviews. Really refreshing. I was about to sell my Octatrack until this project came to life. Luckily I did not.


I definitely wander between genres. I produce a lot of hip hop/rap songs, but they are typically seen as “weird” or “left field”. My instrumental work drifts between techno, disco, trap, juke, house, glitch, idm and everything in between. It seems like once I start being labeled as one thing or the other, I change gears. I enjoy being an outsider. I’m truculent :blush:

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I have been making music for over 20 years. Sticking to one genre and keeping one name definitely helped build a fan base, get gigs, releases etc.

It did not sustain my enjoyment. I started to get bitter and jaded. So I have made peace with it all, said a polite but firm ‘fuck you’ to the whole thing and the last 3 years have been making whatever I want to make. I have also trimmed down all the pseudoyms, and just use my name on bandcamp/soundcloud etc

Gigs and releases have died down considerably, but so what? Those things are nice, but not as rewarding or fun or engaging as actually creating.


When I first got into making music I was all over the place, but recently got stuck in a Boom Bap loop. I normally just go by feel when making music, but of course habits form. To break the habit, I started playing with my synths more (instead of vinyl samples), basically just having sound design sessions & recording these sessions. Then I go thru the recording & build a beat off the sounds I made.

I realized I got stuck in a Boom Bap loop due to using the same type of sounds like drum breaks & chops. Of course a lot of different styles can be made from this, but it wasn’t a good way to break the habit. Using different sounds/instruments helps a lot (or even just changing up workflow).

I just start to get bored & stuck in habits when I do the same thing over & over, which is why I like making different styles of music, using different set ups/instruments & I try to experiment every time I make music. Keeps the creativity flowing :sunglasses:

The comment you made on listening to just 1 style of music, this is the same for me, I listen to so many genres & styles of music & couldn’t listen to just 1 genre, it feels the same when making music. When I make just 1 style of music for a while I start getting bored & need to switch things up.

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I was listening to this Cibo Matto song the other day and I was thinking “how many genres do they have in this one song?”. And it was borderline mandatory in the days of album rock. “Tusk” by Lindsey Buckingham comes to mind as one of the more far-out ones. So plenty of good company.


oh man… I feel ya.
happens to me all the time - I think “oh I want to go into X style of music now”, I dive into a certain sound for a few tracks, then I inevitably end up all over the place… although some times I tried to confort myself by thinking that a broad palette might actually be a good thing.
I barely produce anything though… I enjoy so much creating, that I have a hard time doing the “analytical” part of the work (tracking, editing, etc.)… that’s one of the reasons I’m hoping Overbridge works for me.
and also the reason why I decided to start making YouTube videos of my tracks, before I end up starting from scratch either because I moved on to new music and/or new hardware…
and that’s only considering my solo, beat-oriented music… to put it in perspective and give some examples, these are some of my projects:
Depuratumba > solo stuff, beat oriented, techno, house, etc:
youtube videos > https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK1AgX7nH-vL1aJ9eFYJ7Uw?view_as=subscriber
and my only ep > www.soundcloud.com/depuratumba

Programa > pop electronic rock-ish band, where I sing and play some guitar:

and also, my ambient/drone/experimental stuff, under my name > www.gflichman.bandcamp.com

and I’m leaving some projects out

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TBH … I don’t even care.

I love celtic or medieval style music, classic orchestral music from various ages, jazz, much of the music of the 70ies to the 90ies including prog-rock, hard-rock, R&B, Funk, and also many of the recent electronic styles.

I try to understand why I like what I like, and then I let the ideas flow. I never try to copy or cover a great artist or to sound alike, but I am often enough inspired to make my own things …

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I’m having the same issue so I totally understand where you coming from. :sweat_smile: I might not jump through lots of genres like you but I definitely take in different styles of Electronic music. And it really does affect my focus. One month I’m listening heavily to Klaus Schulze, TD or other Berlin school types, then the following month or two I’m into nothing but industrial techno…then dark ambient like RSE the next month… :smile: My tracks reflect that too…I have all three styles and they wouldn’t fit together on a “demo”. So yeah, I have to put it under a different project. :expressionless:

It is frustrating as I’d like to stay a little more focused but like someone said that can lead to your own unique style as well, which is what most want. I tried to just not listen to music for a few weeks but cannot do it…I think honestly, I’m more of a music fan than a music maker but I do enjoy doing both. I I can relate though. :thup:

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i dont care about anybody else

my music is for me

i don’t care about genre

my music is my own little genre… which I call electronic Berlin underground glitched downtempo techno weird beats


fwiw, picasso (not that i dig pablo) used to emulate and study various styles during his formative years before coming up with his own thing, we synthesize different aspect into something our own. same is true for many artists in many different media.

as pretentious as it sounds, art is a discourse with oneself, and its the greatest thing to get to know yourself through art, like creating a feedback loop of yourself and universe. putting arbitrary limitations such as genre or style on ones output is a disservice to art and yourself. any limitations we abide to have to be intuitively set not rationally imo.
and all of this sounds like a first year philosophy student sorry.

commercially speaking one has to create a recogizable brand and having a distinct style is imperative.

i used to think its important to do what you love and be able to make money out of it. as time passes i think this may be a curse in disguise as it inevitably puts you on a course of compromise and your artistic freedom takes a back seat. so now i think if you really, really love something - dont put money into the equation at all. but this is OT.


but very true. I agree


truth be told, this position can only be maintained on a full stomach.
i have seen artist hold their own and hunger as a result. otoh stubbornes, egotism and fear often pretend they are artistic principle but they are not.

in reality the lines are blurred and compromising is a fact of life. if you have mouths to feed, artistic integrity should go out the window obviously.


Also true.

I played in a shogaze band, completely influenced by Radiohead and NIN.
Then I started with my Unifono thing doing boom bap hip hop beats. My whole goal was to come as close to the quality of premo or pete rock beats as possible :slight_smile:
The I re-discovered amon tobin, bonobo and such (ninja tune) and tried to make the instrumentals more complex and layered. Completely focused on samplers.
Then I discovered aphex, BOC and autechre. Buying synths, learning modular synths, getting into elektron. Trying to sound similar to those. Same with many other examples.
When I listen to hip hop I want to buy turntables and learn scratching, when I listen to aphex I like to buy analog drum machines and synths :smiley: Every direction I go is completely influenced by the music I listen at that time.
Thing is, when I really love some music or artist, I’m completely fixated on this and I want to do something like that. I want to experience doing something like this myself. At least as good as I can achieve this.

That’s often a problem for me. I wanted to make an album (or I did an album). But I went through two phases during making this album. So half of the tracks try to sound like ambient aphex, the other half tries to sound like four tet :sweat_smile: Difficult to put this all out together


Wandering is good and almost always leads to new discovery, enjoy the moment not the label.