Breaking out of your genre comfort zone?

I often feel like the music I make mostly exists within a limited space - either covers of songs that somebody else has done, chiptunes, or what I can only describe really as “electronic sleepy music” (downtempo jams, often lofi or vaporwave-tinted). These are sounds I like, and part of what I listen to, but not all. I want to make hyperpop, or trance, or synthpop, or metal too! But whenever I try and work in a genre like that which has more of a distinct style (rather than “sleepy music”) I always abandon tracks because they don’t work out, or I feel like I’m only copying surface level elements - like I’m accidentally making a parody of the style I like.

Anybody got tips for breaking out of your genre comfort zone and moving into genres and styles you don’t normally make?

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The other night i was jamming with some peers in a friends studio, i recorded some parts in mlr and we ended up in jungle territory.
Out of the blue.

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BlockquoteI feel like I’m only copying surface level elements

First step is to be shameless about it because it is the first step to mastery. Sophistication comes once you mastered the easy stuff. Copying is essential. Learn covers on the guitar, program the drum parts etc.into a sequencer, watch genre tutorials. Over time you build new vocabulary and will be able to go down new roads of expression.

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This, but at the same time, try not to worry about confirming to external genres, do what feels good!

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a thing I’ve found helps is taking elements from two different styles and jamming them together somehow. cause then even if you’re “copying surface level elements” (which I always fear doing), you’re also making something unique since it’s a combination of new sounds. this is especially easy if you’re mixing a new style with an old style, but can be interesting if you do two new styles

metal + hyperpop is something that’s sort of been done before but since “hyperpop” is a shitty term for an extraordinarily large amount of styles, there’s a lot you can do with it. hyperpop + sleepy music, however, would fucking RIP

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might sound like oversimplification but, for me, listening appreciatively is the foundation for new paths

usually i’ve heard something that piqued my interest in trying the genre so i listen attentively and dig for more info

sometimes this leads to technical questions (how can i pay homage without the same exact tools?) while also forcing me to parse out why i found the style gripping to begin with

what do i like most? am i already capable of trying some elements of the form? if not, what should i learn (or buy :grimacing:) which can potentially bridge the gaps?

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i like to identify a few core characteristics of the source material then try integrating them one at a time—simple but effective in my experience

it’s the worst how often this works :upside_down_face:

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always, always respect the musical style you’re trying to emulate. be as genuine as you can be going into it.

don’t be afraid of being cliche. cliche is a big part of music. cliche is not parody if you’re coming at it from a genuine place.

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