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Type of drugs on when writing. Maaan?
All of the above?
Do they come about because they popped into their head as they were listening or just fluke by improvising on an instrument as the song plays? I find it interesting
Probably even on a tune by tune, rhyme by rhyme basis.
But then I'm a shit songwriter.
i'll find it out later for you
whilst i find the interview interesting, its not necessarily very useful... good stuff though!
A lot of artists seem to skirt the issue of how they create in interviews, on the rare occasions they're asked.
In amongst all the ample sex, drugs and rock n roll stories, Nikki Sixx seems to like talking about it a reasonable amount
Is it because they like to portray themselves as wizards?
I guess that questioning the method of reaching the end point might give an insecure musician (that might be a tautology ;)) cause to question the actual validity of what they've created.
or to put it another way, I don't know...
I wish more people would talk about it too though - I find it interesting as well.
too much themselves
In which case I agree almost entirely. Notable exceptions are Craig Finn (Hold Steady), Dan Wilson (Withered Hand), David Tattersall (Wave Pictures) and Yoni Wolf (Why?) among others.
Some of the lyrics on the latest Radiohead album are ridiculous:
"Turn to nasty now
The dark cell
The pit of my soul
The last one out of the box
The one who broke this spell"
I know 15 year olds who write that sort of thing.
Misread the post. Thought you said "don't think enough".
Ignore this, then.
I think exactly this. Every aspect of songwriting and composition is absolutely fascinating. I wish there was some website that interviewed songwriters specifically about this, and also gave you an insight as to how songs come together/which band member does what.
In the BSP interview on DiS last week they mentioned a couple of songs on the new album dating back to Open Season. I love little bits of info like that / who does what / how one song originally came from a bit of another etc etc and I don't know why.
I know that's why I do. It's the same reason that people love to know what guitars/amps/pedals their favourite bands use.
I hate it when bands shroud all their songwriting in mystery, it doesn't add anything in my opinion. I'd love to know, in a matter of fact, unpretentious manner, exactly what inspired what, which melody came first, how the structure came together. I mean there's stuff, like Owen Pallets songs that you just think- "where did you start?? how do you start writing a song like that?"
I've been writing songs for years and years, and I certainly don't think I'm great or anything, but it's a real passion of mine that I enjoy doing just for the sake of it. I think it's a skill, like painting or something.
If anyone's read 'the sound of the smiths' book, I think if there was a website like that, but which covers many different artists and songs, that would be fucking awesome.
but they give you that sour look. There's usually a technical process they're easy to describe ("so and so will come in with a riff, or a few lines scribbled on the back of a napkin"), and then the inspiration process that's only possible to describe through crap metaphors...is my overall take on it.
Most artists are sorta loathe to talk about it because it comes dangerously close to analysizing their own work. Honestly, I think they, in general, like having reviewers...and especially their audience...to do that part for them.
and the time that Stuart Murodoch claimed that if he ever wanted to know what any of his songs were REALLY about, he'd just check on there.
The pages for The Smiths are the best though, especially the people who claim that pretty much EVERY Smiths song is really about the war in Vietnam.
I usually always ask about their song-writing process. It really fascinates me.
I like the idea of just really going into depth on a specific song though.
When I interiewed Barry from Mogwai last week I asked how you begin to write a song like Fear Satan and he sort of shrugged and was like 'not really sure...we just started with a loop...' Not sure what my point was but meh.
It is because one central songwriter writes pretty much everything, even though the songs are listed as being written by the band. It is nice to think that every member writes their own bit, but I doubt there are many decent bands where this happens apart from, perhaps REM.
kinda does that, it has bands break down their albums
So far they've done Future Islands, Frightened Rabbit, Jogging, Le Loup, BATS, Wave Pictures...
Pretty great little selection on there too.
I've learnt to play an instrument, I listen to fairly varied things...I do NOT know how to start writing something. I have quite a few unfinished logic project files from my attempts at creating something...all of them are (probably) shit. Same at the piano...I can doodle for hours but I'm never satisfied with any of it.
So it's something that interests and frustrates me.
She said she came up with a lot of the vocal melodies while she was driving and tapping out a beat on the steering wheel, then worked out some chords to go with it when she got home.
Funny how it pretty much satisfied the sentiment behind this thread, wasn't even aware of it until halfway through
its really frustrating how i know so much from documentaries and such about "classic" albums, but not (YHF excluded) the records i love. and even then, most of that is technical studio stuff, not like, the genesis of the music itself.
most writers probably can't explain the subconscious thought processes that go into putting a song together, either that or they don't want to reveal what they were ripping off at the time! It's about 50/50 for me, my bandmates get me down a lot when I bring a new idea in and they immediately break it down to "oh it sounds like a pumpkins b-side" or "think you ripped off Low there", it's thoroughly depressing when it wasn't intentional and I've had writers block for about a year as a result, quite interested in any interesting songwriting guides out there if anyone can recommend?
I hear a lot of criticism for the Keith Richards biog as it hasn't got enough stories about mars bars being inserted and he talks too much about the music that inspired him and early blues, that stuff fascinates me even if his music isn't that great. Something like MTV's storytellers usually boils down to either the story behind the song or what the song is about and they gravitate towards the former depending on how weak the song is :D REM are quite interesting as they write in a democratic fashion and are quite happy to discuss the process (like Man In The Moon, the chord change in the verse came from Bill Berry leaning over to grab a beer and his hand slid up the fretboard).
On the other hand, wasn't it the guy from Weezer who admitted to making detailed notes of Nirvana and Green Day songs to see how they worked? That seems... odd...
So is the one about the Weezer guy
one more point to kill this thread dead :D What's the opinion (from a songwriting point of view) of "hit factory" Xenomania who have people perched by the radio all day making notes of what songs are in rotation and go out of their way to 'manufacture' a 'hit record'? I know it's nothing new (wouldn't we all love to write one Christmas song that would set us up for life, eh?) but thoughts anyway?
I'm really interested in professional songwriting. I think it would be a wonderful job. Yeah its not 'artistic', but it doesn't pretend to be.
Lee Mead of Any Dream Will Do fame requested one of his song but I think he turned him down.
I find it difficult to answer without using very broad terms and its not that I don't want to illuminate the process. Our songs take a long time to gestate and then the recording process may take it in another direction altogether. The process is time consuming and often pretty emotionally draining, and when we're happy with the finished product I usually can't remember where the song originated or what sparked it into life.
rather than songwriting? Though I can obviously only think about songwriting in terms of myself. But I can remember the almost exact moment every single one of my songs were thought up. Maybe that's just because, depressingly, songwriting is pretty much my favourite thing in the world.
You all have to get your ideas organised and you all have to recognise when an idea isn't going to work and should be quietly killed even if it's something you really like.
But then I would say arrangement is part of writing a song, really. You CAN just write some chords and lyrics and call it a song but it's probably not going to be a great song until you've arranged it such that the basic melody has a good hook to it, however that 'hook' element might come about. The things I find myself remembering about a song, the 'earworms' of them are usually something different to the song itself. In My Life is a brilliant song, for example, but I'd say the bit that I really notice first is that opening little guitar phrase and I'd say it wouldn't be the song it is without that, no matter how good a melody (and it's a very good melody) or lyric line it has.
in a way that the bassline or drum beat or even the piano solo (which was by George Martin, and he wasn't credited with a co-write) wouldn't. I did a music business course thing last year, and we covered this when looking at publishing. The guy from the publishing company said that legally, songwriting was classed as the lyrics, chords and main melodies/hooks. But obviously it's judged on a song by song basis..and when using songs on TV or whatever, it depends who wrote that specific bit of the song- if they just use the riff, only the person who wrote the riff gets the money. According to what I learned on this course.
But a lot of what you said in your previous post- no matter what it means to you personally (and I know exactly what you mean), it's still mainly arrangement. A good example is the Futurehead's cover of Hounds of Love. It's a vastly different arrangement and has a different hook, but the band themselves couldn't take any writing credit for it, because they didn't write the actual song.
It's often the same case with classical or jazz pieces- you'll often see an 'arrangement' credit when a re-imagined version is performed, though the writing credit remains the same.
But then, this is why they're 'bands' rather than a songwriter and session musicians, I guess!
Personally I love talking about it but I think you're always worried about being that self-conscious bore rattling on about things only they are interested in.
The fanous Paris Review interviews famously ask writers about the nuts and bolts of their writing - do they write on paper or trypewriter, in the morning or the evening, when drunk or sober, and it's amazing the amount of insight that you get just from those seemingly mundane questions. Someone should do the same for music.
Generally I find musicians love opening up about how they write. Not all - TV On The Radio spring to mind, they were pretty frosty about the whole subject and I can understand that too - but most. I write for a free musician's publication and I try and keep a songwriting slant on every feature. More recently I did something for a US guitar mag and it was really fun talking about how one of my favourite bands came up with their wilder sounds on the new album. You just have to read further afield I think.
There are occasions when you get interviewed and are asked quite mundane questions and you do wish you were being asked about more interesting things.
That said, last year I had an interview with a Bristol based small indie mag called Drunken Werewolf which was brilliant - it was an email interview and with every question I wanted to write an essay! So you do get it sometimes...
ahhh why do i like jeffrey lewis so much
It's Leonard Cohen in a 24 page interview with Paul Zallo. It's fancinating even if you don't like his music.