Why Drax Project gave themselves 10 minutes to write a song - and got the six track 'Blind Beat' EP out of it

The group Drax Project with soundbars across their faces.
Drax Project's new EP Blind Beat has been created in an innovative way. Photo credit: Supplied

Ten minutes, no clue what your other bandmates are doing and then you've got to mix it all together to make something musical.

It sounds like a logistical and musical nightmare, but for Wellington band Drax Project, it was all part of a self-set challenge they laid down for themselves on social media platform TikTok.

Each band member had 10 minutes to perform their part of a song, but had no insight into what any of the others were doing. When the time was up, they'd come back together and try and mix it all in the studio into something resembling a song.

The result is a new six track EP called Blind Beat that collects together the songs the band made under this time-sensitive creative process.

Drummer Matt Beachen told Newshub the original idea came from guitarist Ben O'Leary as "as a way to spark some creative juices in the studio".

"We established a key and a tempo as the only guidelines which meant, in theory, the final product would at least sound cohesive. Matt had the idea to film it and the rest is history," Beachen said.

But he said initially the band wasn't too sure they'd done the right thing.

"We had no idea how much people would be interested in it, the first one sat on Matt's phone for a month before we posted it. After that one ('Stole a Car') blew up online, we churned out four more and had an EP sitting right there ready to be finished up."

He reckoned it was a way to combat ennui in the studio and the "often slow grind of building a song piece-by-piece". 

"There's no way we could have made these songs as they stand now within our usual process, not knowing what the other guys are making and enforcing a time limit means you can't overthink anything," Beachen said.

"After years of writing together, we sort of know how we all think which definitely helped the creative process. The biggest adjustment was accepting that each part was final and we couldn't mess around with each other's parts like we usually would. It was really nice being forced to simply trust each other in the process."

The group posted the videos to TikTok, releasing only the revelation of the musical bits they had to fiddle with, before revealing the final result. While they may have been unsure of what they'd done, Beachen said online reaction proved to be galvanising, rather than off-putting.

"Seeing how desperate people were to see the 'Part 2' videos where we put the parts together was refreshing and inspiring at the same time."

However, don't expect the 'Catching Feelings' singers to record and release music this way continually in the future.

"I don't think we would do it this way every time because we still have some of our best music that we've been working on in the pipelines. It was awesome being able to put out more music through the Blind Beat process, but we've got a bank of music ready to finish up," Beachen said, before promising a new album would be on the way in 2023.

The ability to surprise themselves proved to be key to the project's success, but Beachen said one lyric has still got them scratching their heads months after it was laid down. 

"Shaan's vocal part in Blind Beat 1 aka 'Stole a Car' came out of nowhere. We still have no idea where the inspiration behind him confessing that he stole a car came from.

"He's not even remotely criminally inclined!"