This post will be a little different compared to my book reviews and the monthly playlists, as I am taking my process to create aesthetically pleasing playlists for your current or favorite book(s).
I have been making mixes of music for YEARS! It started while I was in middle school, I would create CDs of my favorite songs of that time and/or mood. I had party, sad, happy, etc CDs in my collection, literally I have more burn CDs than actual artist/band albums. Back then, it was fun to arrange these two-to-three-minute songs in a way that would mimic a soundtrack.
When I was ending my last semester of freshman year, my English teacher made up a hefty final for us. He told us that we were to pick out a book, read it and do at least projects that would feature certain things that take place within the book. We were given a list of different projects we were allowed to do and I was pulled into creating a playlist of songs that I thought would fit the book itself. However, I did one better, I was using a CD-Rom that was called, “Jam Trax” and it was a kid version of what actual music producers use Pro Tools. This was made for children, so it provided you with an array of beats and instruments, but you were allowed to add your own sounds and vocals too. I didn’t just create a soundtrack, I made a score based on the events happening in the book, which was “Sister Spy (Alias #4)” by Laura Peyton Roberts.
Another element to the final was we were also allowed to grade ourselves and I remember giving myself a B-, I didn’t want to be cocky and give myself an A but I also didn’t want to barely pass either, so that’s why I went with a B- because it felt like a fair grade to me. What surprised me was the note I got on the whole thing, “You should have had an A.”
Last year, I just had the need to go back to when I created that final project. I was busy reading Melanie Karsak’s first Viking series, “The Road to Valhalla” and I was thinking of various songs that would be aesthetically pleasing; my intention was to do something simple because I was weary whether or not I would continue reading the series, but when I finished the first book, I had a whole playlist that reminded me of certain characters and scenes. I was curious to see what this would be like with the rest of the books and I can tell you, I have 114 songs on it based on all six books.
Here are some advice in creating your own aesthetic playlist based on your current read or maybe a favorite series in the past.
Find the main character’s theme first.
In “The Road to Valhalla” series, we follow Hervor’s quest into finding who her father was and discover the secrets hidden among her family.
One of the things that is important to Hervor is for her love of Odin, who is the main deity, he is like father to all of the Vikings as he represents knowledge and power. He is the Allfather of the Norse mythology.
While I was in the throes of the book, I couldn’t exactly pinpoint the right song that felt Hervor’s theme. It wasn’t until I found like five Vikings playlists on Spotify that I decided to listen to these Old Norse styled songs, and there was one that finally spoke to me. It was Foresaga’s “Allfather” and this has a hauntingly calm about it. I felt a sense of self the first time I listened to it, and I knew this was the way I wanted to start Hervor’s playlist.
I ended up finding a theme for the majority of the characters in the first book. Hervor’s mother Svafa is dealing with what we would call amnesia and I gave her “Imaginary” by Evanescence. For Hervor’s best friend and thrall to the family Eydis, I found “Volva” by Vinnie Camaileri. It is an instrumental of a bunch of shamanism vibes and it fits well with her. Eydis is a devotee of the trickster God Loki, and been known to receive visions from the Gods, and the Vikings word for these types of people are called Volvas.
Focus on key words to help inspire you.
We live in a world where we hashtag a lot of random words, sometimes we include them in ways that will create traffic on that post. Let’s say you are advertising a book you really enjoyed, and oddly enough it’s about the Vikings and their culture and beliefs. You want it to be accessible to certain demographic groups, not just your audience, You need to think about the words to include in the actual post. Here are some easy key words to keep in mind.
- Historical fiction – it is important to include the words “historical fiction” as that category is a very popular type of fiction. You need to remember the terminology as well, because that will definitely help you out too!
- Norse Mythology
- Old Norse
- Gods & Goddesses: Odin, Freyja, Freyr, Loki, Thor, etc.
- Scandinavia – Denmark, Greenland, Norway, Iceland and Sweden. They all have their own Viking stories, but it is easier to say “Scandinavia” to keep it simple for you and others.
- Warrior terms – Within the Viking world, you hear a lot about them raiding various cities around the world. They will include both male and female along for the ride. The women that were apart of the scrimmage were called “shield maidens” and they will train their children very early on, They use a mix of different weapons, some are lengendary and others are ordinary to everyday life.
- Tyrfing – it was a cursed dwarven sword and used amongst Hervor and her father, uncles and grandfather.
- Steel swords
- Decoerated shields
- Bow & arrows
- Fiire – you have to remember they did have guns, but they knew fire was a handy element, and something else they used was whale oil. They would hunt whales to collect various bones, blubber, and oil for everyday usage.
When it comes to create an aesthetic playlist, it might also be helpful to search for fantasy and medieval playlists on Spotify. This is definitely an easier resource in case you don’t have enough material to work with in the beginning. People have also created their own bookish playlists so don’t deny yourself to have a look on their stuff too. It might also draw out the genre of music you want to use for the entire thing. For the first series, I went with a mixture of cinematic pop artists like Ruelle, FJØRA, Hidden Citizens, but I also included a lot of hard rock bands too, such as Within Temptation, Papa Roach, and Halestorm. However, for the second series “The Shadows of Valhalla” has more artists like Gealdyr, Danheim, Peyton Parrish as they make music in the same way as Foresaga.
Okay, I think I am officially done with this post. I know I gave more than enough of ideas to stir around in your head to probably give you a major headache but go slowly with it. Once you start though, it can be difficult to stop, so that’s my final piece of advice there. If you’d like to check out both of my aesthetic playlists here are the links. The Road to Valhalla and The Shadows of Valhalla. I hope everyone enjoyed learning a bit more about the Viking world past and present.
Have you made an aesthetic playlist before? If so, what was it inspired by and what kind of music did you use for it?