How Does It Feel?
With every note, with every sound element, with every chord movement, I always ask one question: how does this make me feel? Or, more specifically: what part of the emotional spectrum am I experiencing at this moment? This requires you to internalize your emotions constantly, which isn't always comfortable. But it forces you to engage with the world, which, if you want your work to resonate with people - is paramount.
Good or bad never enters the equation. There are no wrong notes, only notes in which I haven't provided enough context. There are certain trajectories that I need to earn before arriving at the end.
It's not bad that a sound makes you feel a certain way. It's not good either, it's just part of something bigger. Making it fit your vision (or the vision of your project) should be what dictates whether something is right or wrong. Not your internal biases (which you'll never fully get rid of but awareness is huge)
This is all really abstract, but I think these are fundamental qualities about sound and music. And I wish more designers and composers would engage more in the psychological aspects of their work, shedding off the fear of revealing too much about themselves.
New music below : )