There are times when we feel like we are in a creative rut. It isn’t always easy to write new music. Sometimes we don’t even feel like playing music at all. This is normal. One trick I have found useful is to get inspired by other forms of art.
If you feel a little burned out by your music career then take a little break. Take some time to explore other things you enjoy. Make sure to check out other forms of art as well. Go see a movie, read a book, or go to an art museum. You will notice that your creative juices will start flowing again.
Here are some examples of how other musicians have used other forms of art to help their inspiration.
Duran Duran is one of the most iconic bands from the 80s. Did you know that their name is a character from the movie called Barbarossa starring Jane Fonda?
The Doors got their name from the book by Aldous Huxley called The Doors of Perception.
Fall Out Boy takes their name from the Simpsons character of the same name.
The Velvet Underground takes their name from book, The Velvet Underground. It is a non-fiction book about bizarre sexual practices in the United States. This wasn’t the only time the band would reference a sex-themed novel: the song “Venus is Furs” is named after a novel about sadomasochism.
Soundtracks are a good example of how visual art can inspire audio creations.
There are times when the songs are already written and a music supervisor figures out a way to use them in the context of a movie or TV show. Other times, the movie is done and an artist is commissioned to write music for it. A great example of the latter is Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder who wrote the entire score for the film Into the Wild.
I am also a huge fan of John Williams who did the score for the Star Wars movies. I can’t tell you how many times I hummed the Imperial Walk to myself. Music can make a huge impact on other things when they align. Just think how boring movies would be without music. That scary movie wouldn’t be nearly as frightening without that creepy music building in the background.
Books inspiring music
Rush wrote songs for 2112 after they were inspired by author Ayn Rand. https://www.rush.com/2112-spotlight-on-ayn-rand/
Movies inspiring lyrics
Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler was inspired to write the lyrics to “Walk This Way” after the producer? and the band saw the Mel Brooks’ movie, Young Frankenstein. There is a scene in the movie where Igor asks the group to “walk this way.” Igor then proceeds to shuffle off in his hunch-back way and the group mimics him in their walking style. The band and record producer thought it was so funny that they kept walking around the studio like Igor. Then Steven had his idea to use “walk this way” as his inspiration.
Pink Floyd aligning with Wizard of Oz? There times when fans find a way to tie different arts forms together. Take the Dark Side of the Moon album from Pink Floyd. Have you ever played it while watching The Wizard of Oz? I am not sure if Pink Floyd wanted you to do this or not, but so many things line up with the lyrics that it is hard to think they didn’t.
Paintings inspiring music
The Beatles wrote Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds about a painting that Julian Lennon had created about his schoolmate, Lucy. Most people think the song is code for L.S.D. because the subject is so weird, but it really comes from the creative mind of a young boy. https://www.songfacts.com/facts/the-beatles/lucy-in-the-sky-with-diamonds
The Killers song The Calling is inspired by the painting The Calling of St. Matthew. https://www.songfacts.com/facts/the-killers/the-calling
Take the time to be inspired
You need to remember to take the time to see what other artists are doing. You might find a new approach to how you create your art in the end. Great art is usually inspired art. You need to allow yourself to be inspired from time to time. I would even suggest to put it in your schedule. That way you commit some time to do nothing but take in new forms of creative energy. I would bet that you will find new ideas for your music start flooding in. Have fun with this exercise, and enjoy all the art around you!