How to Get Out of a Production Rut

It happens to everyone - and we are here to help!

By Eimear O SullivanMusicngear Editor

Article photo - How to Get Out of a Production Rut

Here are some tried and tested ways to get out of a production rut and re-invigorate your creative spark.


Article photo - How to Get Out of a Production Rut

Run by Native Instruments, Metapop is an online music platform with a vast community that holds weekly producer contests and challenges. These generally are either remix competitions, or ‘Produce This’ challenges. In the ‘Produce This’ category - you are provided with a sample pack in which to create a full track from. These are not just any sounds, these are sounds taken from iconic hardware synths (such as the Roland TR-909, TR-808  or samples from some of Native Instrument best products) - completely free.   

This is a great way to just have fun and play around with samples (while having an end goal). You can also request feedback from the other producers/musicians on this platform if you are struggling with ideas. Each of these competitions also have massive prizes - overall this is just a great way to get out of your head, and just do something for fun.

Use Different Source Material

Article photo - How to Get Out of a Production Rut

Instead of plugging away with the same samples and VSTs you always use - try shaking up your source material just to keep things interesting. Using samples taken from odd and intriguing sources, and playing around with these in your DAW is something you can really have fun with, and will bring a whole new character to your music.

Here are some high quality samples that are completely free to use - taken from usual places: 

NASA has a vast collection of high quality recorded sounds from other planets, sounds from space missions and space shuttles; alongside other sounds.

Ocean Explorer - a collection of sounds from deep under the ocean. - recordings both from underwater and vessels out at sea including submarines, boats and others.

Ambisonic Sound Library -  A collection of impeccably high quality recordings (all done on the RØDE’ NT-SF1 ambisonic microphone) ranging from winds in a forest, water running in a creek to metallic industrial city sounds.

US National Park Service - Recordings from scientists from national parks all around the US.

Classical Music Pieces (in the public domain)

Article photo - How to Get Out of a Production Rut

The timbre and emotion present in classical music pieces is very hard to emulate, Wikipedia has a VAST selection of classical music that are all under public domain, available to download, all in one place.


Article photo - How to Get Out of a Production Rut

Collaborate and get paid - Vocalizr is a jobs marketplace and platform for producers and vocalists to work together. You can find someone who specifically fits the custom vocal requirements you are looking for ( it works the same way for a vocalist looking for a producer)  An excellent way to freshen up your song, and make money while doing it.

And lastly

Do a cover of your favourite song

Article photo - How to Get Out of a Production Rut

Doing a cover of your favourite song is one of the best ways to get yourself out of a rut - as it provides structure from which to work (which is crucial) as it firstly, is fun and it will also get your confidence in your abilities back up as it will remind you that you can in fact produce.. Halloween is coming up, why not just hit everyone with a metal version of I Put A Spell on You?

About Eimear O Sullivan

Eimear Ann O Sullivan is a multi-genre music producer, audio engineer and vocalist. After receiving a Masters in Music Technology from the CIT Cork School of Music, she went on to operate as a producer under the name Blakkheart. Her releases have received critical acclaim from Ireland's biggest music publications, such as District Magazine and Nialler9, alongside receiving heavy commercial radio airplay. She currently works in Cork recording studio Flashpoint CC. Previous clients of hers include the likes of Comedy Central’s Dragony Aunt star Candy Warhol, rapper Darce and Outsider YP. (Photo credit @Fabian Boros)

Contact Eimear O Sullivan at

About Music Production

In this section of the blog you will find recording advice, tips and tricks from fellow artists and music producers.

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