This morning my man Jack Drew asked the Twitterers for suggestions for music to write to. I immediately offered up my go-to writin’ music, the Conan the Barbarian soundtrack.
I often prefer soundtracks and instrumental work. Danzig’s Black Aria is another one, or Pink Floyd’s Animals. Sometimes I’ll let the ambient noise of Ghosts I-IV from Nine Inch Nails fly. Surf guitar, like Los Straitjackets, works well. After a while I stop hearing the music anyway, and I let iTunes shuffle or I’ll pick a song and let it build a Genius playlist for me.
There are times I’ll shoot for a particular feel, though. I still adopt “Wolves & Werewolves” from The Pack A.D. as the unofficial theme song for Lie with the Dead (or even my entire Pack series), and iTunes will run with it and build me a good blues-rock mix with a little Rage Against the Machine for spice.
Time to write something steamy? I don’t always need music to get me in the mood, but one that always works is Tito & Tarantula’s “After Dark” off the From Dusk ‘Til Dawn soundtrack. Why that song? Observe:
I’ll always take a sleazy guitar riff over the old school R&B. It just works.
Am I still talking about writing? Right. Moving on.
Action scenes, I might queue up some punk or metal. Sometimes spoken word will pop through a shuffle, like something from Henry Rollins, but I have to hit skip so I don’t end up listening to it instead of writing.
Whatever the sound, having music on works. If I find myself procrastinating by surfing websites or fooling around on some social networking time suck, I will open up iTunes and just hit play. It’s almost a trigger for me. A Pavlovian reaction that goes “this happens, now I do this.” It’s not quite as effective as sitting down with a cigar and the iPad on the front porch, but it gets the job done.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time I fire up Pages and rock out.