Monday, 17 October 2011

How to write/record/enjoy a new song in 4 hours (with Rick Franssens)

Hello Friends,

When Beauty and I first came to Utrecht we had the fortune to meet the wonderful Rick Franssens. He was playing at the very first open mic night we went to at Averecht and we had both been amazed at how good he was on the stage.

We met again at another open mic the following week and spent some time chatting, finding out we had much in common and deciding that we should try doing some collaborative work on music. Rick very kindly invited me to his to see what creative sparks we could make fly.

Once he had come and picked me up from the station in his car, we got to his, had some lunch and chatted about our musical histories. Once the chinese soup and turkish bread had settled in our stomachs, we turned our attention to the task at hand, making up a new song.

Rick at the mixing Mac, guitar having a chill on the seat.
We set ourselves up in Ricks living room, even though he had another room that was already pretty set up to record. Since we were only going to be using Garage Band and a laptop, it seemed to make sense for us to sit in comfort while we created. Now, lyrics have never really proved to be a problem for me, I love writing lyrics and coming up with ideas for lyrics, the music is the part that I struggle more with. Rick, is the opposite it seems. So we played to our strengths for our first collaboration. Rick sat playing his guitar, working out some nice chords and progressions for our song.  While he did that, I flicked through my book of lyrics and settled on a set called 'Unordinary Day'. I tried to sing them along to the things Rick was twiddling, but they weren't working out for me (which is probably why I hadn't tried to ever use them myself). I decided, probably better just to come up with some new ones. I flicked to a blank sheet in the book and started musing. There were a couple of trails from planes across the sky, and these caught my imagination to begin with, a couple of lines about that came out. Then I hooked into a different idea all of a sudden...'This fork in the brain, blunts like a knife'...yeah, that worked. From that start point I started to formulate further ideas. All the while, Rick was strumming and picking at the guitar, shaping his sequences.

Rick at the mic, recording some noises.
Rick got a phone call, from a new student of his (he teaches guitar for a living), so began explaining things in Dutch over the phone. I got up and went to sit on the balcony, taking the book with me just incase further inspiration struck. Luckily it did, and the opening lyric to the song was born in the cold air 'Infinity in a grain of sugar'. Once I had that line, the rest just flowed out. I love to rhyme most of the time, at least, in the way that a singer can (by sometimes bending words a bit).

It didn't take us long to piece the song together, Rick had verses, an intro, a transition to chorus bit, and a chorus. I picked through the mess of words I had put down and pulled out the structure. We played it through a couple of times, with me singing and Rick playing the guitar. Once we were happy with the structure we moved straight to recording. Rick recorded the guitar part first, then I did the main vocal line, then Rick added bass and backing vocals. Then I added another vocal line, before we moved on to hitting pots and pans, making shakers from kitchen objects and making silly noises with our mouths.

After 4 hours we had a finished track, and here it is 'Huh!'(Excuse Me) - by Rick Franssens and Andy Jackson.

HUH! (with Andy Jackson) by rickfranssens

It took us about 4 hours to finnish, from conception to final track, not bad for a first track together. I look forward to working with Rick again, on a more serious song next time I expect.

Peace and infinite love

Andy x

No comments:

Post a Comment