Saturday, 7 May 2011

some things about songwriting that i've learnt

So friends,

Still weaving my away around Amsterdam, playing guitar in Vondelpark (pronounced Fondlepark...teh heh), smoking such lovely week that each time I take a drag I have to go 'yummmm' as if I were savouring the most delicious of meals (maybe a curry...yum, i love curry, with mango chutney!).

The creativity bug has grabbed me by the face sack, full of all the energy of moving to a new country I have been bursting at the seams (not literally, that would require a hospital visit and some extensive "seams" reconstruction surgery that would take hours to recover from rendering me unable to blog).
 In the apartment that we stayed at when we first got here I wrote 4 songs.
Products of Monkey Love in the Apartment - hear them here.

Sometimes I find that inspiration grabs me more readily then other times. For example, the rush of new information from being in a new environment seems to stimulate the creative juices quite considerably. I am almost starting to sound scientific when I say that change + songwriter = new songs. This equation has been peer reviewed and tested in labs all across the world, soundlabs they are known as.

In my lifetime, when things seem to be going rather regular, all normal and straight and stuff, I am lacking in creative lubrication, my gears seem a bit metal solid and edge rustic. Inspiration comes from stuff, things happening, moments of somethings followed by confusion and cake (yum, I love cake too). When I was preparing to leave my mundane office job I was hit with a flood of inspiration, and out of me poured songs about 'shedding', 'change', 'adventure', 'growth' etc.
Without any hint of irony (and only sort of realising it afterwards) I recorded this collection of songs as 'in the shed'.

I never used to write love songs, before I met beauty. Since then, I have written a few soppy numbers, often with some comedy thrown in to stop the cheese levels reaching moon size. The trick I have found to crafting songs is to say what you want in as short a time span as possible. If I 'love you baby', then I only really should be 'loving you baby' about eight times at the most, and even that is quite a lot. I need to find ways to express that baby lovin' vibe without just repeating myself (as say, Justin Beiber does). Having a hook in the chorus is always a good idea, it becomes like an earworm for people who hear the song (for example, a good earworm is 'All you need is Love' by The Beatles and a bad earworm is 'Baby' by Justin Baby-er). But still the main trick is to not make the songs toooo long. It's easy to slip an extra verse in here, a couple of choruses there, maybe a second bridge, middle 8, middle 9, extended solo section etc. but I find it best to keep it short. There are notable exceptions to this rule of thumb, if the song can hold up to five choruses and still be interesting then I will do it, but this is rare, not a common thing.

But, what do I know, I haven't had any hit singles like Justin Beiber, and I haven't had anywhere near the youtube hits. So I should probably just shut the hell up right?

Peace and infinite love


1 comment:

  1. additional : When writing songs it is good to work with another song crafter as it expands your horizons. Other musicians can help you see ways of making music that you have never thought of, and the expansion possibilities are huge.