Here is an outline some of the things to look for when picking tunes for our repertoire. Some of these things are hard to quantify so these are just some rough guidelines.
- Will the tune translate well to our instrumentation? Most popular music is made with instruments we don’t use - gtr, bass gtr, drumset keyboard etc… vocal lines can often be tricky to translate instrumentally because of the pitch bends, spoken or half sung bits, rhythms that make sense when there are words but are awkward when rendered instrumentally etc…
- Does the tune have something for everyone? Some tunes have a great melody or riff but lack a groove sufficient for our doomline to do anything interesting while others have a great groove but lack enough melodic content for the various wind sections. Sometimes I can work around these issues with some arranging bits as I did with 7 Nation Army where I added those drum riffs and builds to help make it a better fit for our instrumentation.
- Does it fit or enhance our aura (brand) sonically and/or visually? This is very subjective but I am always trying to find stuff that fits and furthers our most captivating and unique attributes - fun, wacky, intense, surprising, interactive, visual and dramatic etc.. This to me is more important than musical genre in further evolving our identity. Very recognizable tunes are fine but can be tricky as I tend to resist tunes that are possibly overdone, cliche or too pep bandish unless it fits a theme where the recognizability can be treated suprisingly or to enhance the narrative of a themed show.
- Does the music develop quickly enough? Because most of our shows are somewhat brief, apart from cadences I generally prefer songs that don’t linger too long unless there is a building momentum or we’re sustaining a massive groove, peak or solo section.
- Is it readily playable? I plan to continue pushing the envelope with our arrangements into more sophisticated charts but because of the amount of rehearsal time available, I will also continue to mix in some fun tunes that are easily accomplished.