The search for the perfect collaboration partner – and managing that relationship – can take up a lot of time and effort. We all want that cohesive bond, that magical unspoken stoke that yields pure gold. But there are pitfalls along the way, perhaps the biggest downside being if you don’t set yourself up correctly, you could eat into your own creative time – which is your most valuable resource.
Compatibility comes in many forms, creative tastes and styles are as broad as the spectrum of music itself. You can’t expect to find that perfect match without first understanding that everybody has different influences, workflows, songwriting habits, and organizational skills. As you approach a project, recognize these differences and ask the tough questions to determine if your aspirations and values align. Be honest with yourself and with your potential collaborator, and you might just make magic.
With all that said, here are some basics that you should embrace, and the questions you should ask yourself and your potential partner. The ABC’s of collaboration are:
Always Be Screening
You’ve nailed down a few candidates that you’re vibing with and you’re geared up at the potential this fresh inspiration could bring to your creative process. It’s an exciting time, but pump your brakes; you should always screen your new buddy before jumping in full-on.
So, how will you know if they’re right for you? Have you just found the Skrillex to your Diplo? You’ve got to dig into a few questions to be sure: How long have you been creating? What genres do you dabble in? What type of experience do you have creating with other people? What are your go-to tools? What sort of environment do you like to work in?
Think about what you would like someone to ask you in order for you to really shine and share your own process and style. Ask those same questions to unlock their honest creative self, this will save you plenty of time and awkward sessions down the line. Remember, you don’t have to be twinsies — in fact, the most beautiful creations come from opposing theories. Just be sure you’re open and transparent throughout the screening process.
Beware the Logistics
Are you free on Thursday nights? What about Saturdays? Mondays? My house, or your house? Do your roommates mind if we’re at it until sunrise? Do you have some decks I can borrow, or should I bring my own?
First and foremost, if you are committing to making music with someone, make sure you actually can physically do so. Where favoring the creative process, and the fun of what results is easiest, ignoring the logistics of collaboration could lead you to frustrating situations.
Again, protect your creative time, don’t spend it in confusion or misalignment. Make a schedule, stay flexible and be patient. The right collaborator will be someone who does and expects the same.
Music is music, and your collaborator should inspire you, push you to be a better creator, and help you make the most of your respective visions. If you feel nervous, or reluctant, maybe you’re better off to let this person go so you can find the right one.
At the end of the day, trust your gut and don’t perpetuate unproductive or turbulent relationships. You’re trying to grow your freedom to create, so get after what feels right, challenges you to get better, and enables you to create more.
Get to hunting, and enjoy the good vibes that collaboration brings!
Author bios: This article was written by SKIO Music Co-Founder Omri Amouyal and Darcy Hughes, VP of SKIO Music Business Development and award-winning Marketer and entrepreneur.
SKIO Music, member of the Association for Electronic Music and winner of the startup Award at SF MusicTech Summit, is a collaborative community and music licensing marketplace that gives control back to creators and content owners.