Photo courtesy of Corbu
Jonathan Graves of Corbu, musician
I think you have have to want to find your identity to be able to find it. It’s really valuable to study the artists you love and learn from them. I took a film class once, and it taught me to break things down and ask, “Why does this make me feel the way it makes me feel? How is it doing that?” There was a point where I hated all the music I was making, so I spent a long time dissecting everything I loved and trying to see how it worked.
Aside from music, I tried to find inspiration in movies I loved, art, architecture, video games, whatever. I read a lot of interviews and learned how different artists approached things. It gave me a clear idea of what I wanted to be, and it all sort of “clicked” when I started writing again. It gave me a set of tools I could use when I got stuck, and those tools were all chosen by me for the kind of feeling I wanted to create.
Overall, I’ve learned that the most powerful thing you can do is limit your palette to the sounds, colors, or elements you love the most, and then use them in every possible way you can imagine. That’s how you build a body of work that sounds or looks like “you.”