Article by The Sonic Writers
A lot of creatives prefer working alone, they feel they are in complete control of their creative output. Sometimes they will share their work for constructive feedback, but they want to maintain ownership of their art. Letting go of that sole control and being part of a team or partnership, is a process where creatives can find new and unexpected ways for their art to blossom.
The Sonic Writers (Shaun Day and Matty Margallo) have been producing and creating music for almost five years together. We have music released by different independent artists (Susan Lucas, Charles Grace, Maggie Bushiri, Des Flores, Alexia Anne, MALSI, Jon Martin) that we are incredibly proud of, and have our own EP out now. We attribute our successes to a strong working relationship and a shared passion for what we do. Here’s our five tips that we use everyday to maintain a healthy working, creative partnership:,
5 Ways To Make Creative Partnerships That Thrive
Even before The Sonic Writers came to fruition, we were friends who played together in a rock band called, Red Giant, where we became familiar with each other musically. So when the idea of a production team came to be, we learned quickly we needed to have trust. This included trust in each other’s commitment to work together, trust that the other will do their job to the best of their ability, and trust in making music a career we would thrive in.
Trust doesn’t come overnight. It builds over time, and takes effort from both parties in order to succeed. As music producers, we continue to work towards a more trusting partnership everyday. For example, when we are hired to produce a song for an artist, one of us will begin composing various parts of the song. We would then send each other these ideas and continue to shape the direction of the song. We both contribute our musicianship, knowledge, and trust in each other to find the best way to complete the song.
Though it takes time to build up to a level you are comfortable with, at the beginning you do need to take a leap of faith and start with trust.
We speak almost everyday by phone, text, or in person, but the frequency of our communication isn’t the key. It’s what we speak about and how we speak to each other. Keeping each other up to date with projects, and the goings on of our workday are part of the conversations. As mentioned before we were friends long before we started this, so a chunk of our conversations are talking about our personal lives. What we are watching on Netflix, what video games we are playing, the next movie we are planning on seeing, and even music that we are excited to listen to and want to share. All of this is to take the temperature on where each other’s head is at, so we can effectively work.
In regards to our workflow, specificity is an essential tool in our communication. Producing music has many nuances and minutiae, so being able to articulate ideas and thoughts is vital to creating. Using examples of music that we have knowledge of is a great reference point. Sometimes playing the music on our respective instruments, or even beatboxing the drum pattern. These are different methods we use to communicate musical ideas.
Working closely as a creative team, we both recognize our strengths and ability to seek constructive feedback. Sometimes different personalities and our own personal ways of thinking can either help or hinder the creative process. We both keep an open mind and are aware of our own limitations when it comes to creating music. So being humble and open to new ideas ensures that we are both equally contributing to the creative process. For example, we recently worked with artist, Sylvia Bosco, to record a single. As we produced and recorded parts of the song, we realized that we were looking for a particular style and sound that other musicians could achieve closer than we were able to. In this situation, we were able to put our pride aside and hire the appropriate musicians that fit the style of the song.
Similar to trust, creative partnerships should have a sense of honesty and openness. Being transparent can apply to many aspects of the creative process including decision making, establishing goals, and resolving conflict. In an environment where transparency is encouraged, we as The Sonic Writers feel comfortable sharing new ideas and thoughts openly with each other without personal resistance. For example, when we give each other specific feedback on songs, we share what we think isn’t working and what can be done to improve the song. If we don’t see eye to eye, we have a constructive discussion to resolve the issue while being transparent about our own thoughts and opinions.
For our last tip, we find that having respect for each other and the process is the most important quality to a successful creative partnership. In order to practice the other qualities we mentioned in the article, it all starts with respecting each other. As The Sonic Writers, we both admire each other as individuals but also respect other aspects in our personal lives, including our time and relationships outside of creative partnership. In our work, respect comes in different forms even outside our partnership. For example, when we book time with our clients, we make sure that the time we book is solely spent on their project without outside distractions. In return, we ask our clients to respect our efforts to successfully complete their project.
Please take and practice these tips, and build as many creative partnerships/relationships as you can. Collaboration is the soul of art & creativity.
Article by The Sonic Writers