Friday, 24 August 2012

Musical Hybrids

A musical hybrid is a wonderful trait to have as a musician and in my opinion it is the only way forward to evolve music, make it interesting and to stop some genres becoming old or stale. 

All the best musicians over the years offer a trait within them that is from another genre somewhere or another. A hybrid musician consists of you playing a genre of music you aren't naturally accustomed to and combining it to your bands style.

The Doors are a great example of hybrid musicians as they have guitarist Robert Krieger who's style comes from Flamenco and uses finger picking within his progressions, combining John Densmore and Ray Manzarek who were both took inspiration from early Jazz which gave them a 'loungey' typed feel. Leading to Jim Morrision who wrote poetry and sometimes performs not too dissimilar from Blues, Soul or RnB. When these elements are combined and focused into performance they create something totally new. Not just Rock'N'Roll but the new category that evolved to be called today "Psychedelic Rock"

The Doors

Using myself as an example in the first band I joined Drink Fuelled Violence (DFV) they were a Punk/Punk-Rock band. I drew inspiration from Heavy Metal and American Punk Rock at that time.
Most bass players of Punk/Punk-Rock (a generalisation incoming...) will only follow the root note of the progression and fail to show any talent, focus or soul what so ever. Most likely because they were forced to pick up bass by their band mates in the first place.

My inspiration came from bassists like Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) 
Jason Newsted (Metallica) and Steve Harris (Iron Maiden).
These guys made complex and sophisticated bass lines and the let the bass do totally unconventional things that brought their bands to life - No longer would you hear bassists thumping their strings. The bass lines were smart, I picked up on their respective styles quite naturally and applied it to my own performance, no longer is the bass following a 3 chord progression of guitars and drums, the bass has brought something to the table now that is pleasurable to the ear. You can hear the groove between the bass and drums, In my case DFV had a thriving, grooving, solid back bone. Which did our performance and more importantly our style wonders. 


In DFV we had the Punk/Punk-Rock drummer providing the back bone of our music with his love of 200bpm beats, that kept our music fast paced and lively.

The Rock lead vocal/guitarist who wrote the 'conventional' chord progression and vocal performance, his talents thanks to Rock were catchy and said progressions covered all genre bases to make it likeable for a wide audience
The Heavy Metal Punk-Rock bassist (yours truly) who combined those elements mentioned above and kept the foundation of the groove tight and interesting with the grooving bassline.
All these styles had a moment where they shined proudly in the music, when you combine the sophistication or core traits from other genres the music evolves. Our little Punk-Rock band now had its own style and signature sound.

If you want your band to be original and to have a sound 'out of the box' you will want one or more of the members to have the following.

1) Their own hybrid style combination
2) A common sound/direction you all agree upon. 
3) Then apply the  knowledge of how to adapt their style to your genre that musically makes sense.
(E.g. you wouldnt want a Thrash solo in the middle of a Jazz groove, it doesn't make sense)

While its fine for your band to all have the same favourite type of music or influences, chances are your music won't grow because you're not exposing yourself to new sounds. The only true way to create your own style is to
experiment and grow not only as a band but as musicians too.

Below are some examples of hybrids, which are formed by my own opinion and not to be treated as fact. The red lines indicate where the hybrid styles would mix after they have taken their influences. While mixing the genres is obvious I.e. Rock + Punk = Punk-Rock , hybrids take the elements without defining themselves like Jimi Hendrix did.

Other examples of Hybrid musicians are
Pink - Rnb / Pop / Rock
Yngwie Malmsteen Classical / Metal

Apocalyptica - Classical / Metal
Zapp - Funk / Soul 

While the last 2 mentions are bands, like The Doors all members in them have the hybrid elements.

Do you have your own hybrid mash-up of styles you bring to your band? If so what makes your sound different to the rest of your band or even the genre?

Have you seen what sort of rig a Heavy Metal - Punk Rock bass player would use? Make sure to read my Ideal Bass rig of 2012

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