Hm… there is a lot I like in this song. I love the the subtle choir at the end, I love that I got to dust off my trusty Fender to lay down an electric guitar solo, it’s groovy, the verses flow nicely… and yet, I would have liked to keep working on this piece as it’s missing the most important part still: the Chorus!! What is there in its stead sounds to me like a pre-chorus.Oh well, I’ll get back to it, I promise. Once this challenge madness is over… ;)
It’s our 10th anniversary! Ten songs down, only 42 to go.
Climate is everyone’s problem, but not many do enough to change it, if anything. I’ve been part of a large group to intimidated by the task. We look at each other, shrug our shoulders and wonder… what to do? How can we stop this avalanche? Lucky for us the young peeps are getting angry and worried. They are out there fighting the good fight. Against the big machinery we’ve created and which seems too powerful to stop. They go out there every Friday to fight the Frankenstein of our globe. I was deeply moved and recorded this song for them! Next Friday I will be out there with them and face the looming disaster and fight against all odds!
It does not happen often… the first words that came to mind when I heard Johannes’ creation this week (he started again) were… German! Yes. Getting soul-y and hiphop-y.
Johannes started this song via a detour. This was originally what he had come up with to go with last week’s song. However, I couldn’t make it work. So we dragged it by its hair over to this week. I found a poem that I wanted to use, wrote a melody to it and experimented with a different singing style. Voilá (yes, mom, it’s me!)
The best feeling in the world is love and the second best is when music and words just flow out of me. In this song both of these things were very close together.
I’m always surprised about the absence of rules when it comes to recording. I laboured hard to find a good guitar part with an electric, a steel string. Nothing worked. The beat Johannes came up with reminded me of Michael Jackson and so I was sure we had to go with that vibe. But no, as the day grew old and the light was fading from my window, in one last desperate act, I grabbed my out-of-tune 30€ classical guitar from Just Music and jammed out. I thought it fit perfectly. On top of that I could play some lead lines and shimmery background noises and voilá, the song came together nicely.
See you next week.
The idea for this song came to me thinking about the time just before my love was flying out to see her parents in Australia. It was the first time I realised just how much I miss her when she’s gone. And she hadn’t even left yet! I love to spend time with her. Even when that is just sleeping next to each other. We’re making it work, despite not being the richest people in the world. It would make things much easier, but in the end it doesn’t matter as long as we have each other.
This song was a joy to write. Mind you, it flowed and morphed into different forms and shapes in the process. I sat on the porch in the morning, having promised myself to make playing the guitar a morning ritual as opposed to waiting till the end of the day when everything is done.
I started out with only two chords. A major and G major. I focused on the rhythm, really just rocking out like crazy. I was having FUN. Writing is heaven and a curse. When you’re writing, there is nothing better. When you’re not, there ain’t nothing worse. It’s a pain. My work with ‘The Artist’s Way’ (a book by Julia Cameron) and doing my morning pages everyday for more than two month opened up the channel. And I was not just doing it, I was having massive amounts of fun.
That translated into the lyrics. In very obvious ways. ‘Fun’ is the main word in the chorus. Images from almost 10 years back entered my mind. I felt the youthful newness and excitement of having chosen to be a musician that culminated in me attending a music school. The time at Berklee College in Boston was formative and beautiful. Full of adventure, full of (self-)discovery. I listened to more music than ever and played and played and played and I wrote a lot.
Johannes ended up replacing all of my guitar work with a production of a track that is reminiscent of one of his favourite eras, the 80s. He added synthesizers, drums, bass with reverb on it, shakers, even triangle! He used the vocal melody as a guide line but disregarded everything else. He even re-harmonized the whole song! Could it be that he was having fun?
Nothing left to do then, but to play a little saxophone solo…
I always write about what’s close to the heart. That’s probably inherent in the writing process for almost everyone. But some songs just move me to tears. This one especially. I cried while writing it. I am not sure if it translates to a wider audience, as it might fail to do the personal to general to particular transition of a song idea.
Some songs need to be written for a special someone in that very moment. Close to the heart, close to the situation. A bridge between two people. To those who know.
This song is like a photograph. We might stumble upon it in ten years time going through the digital album that is YouTube. We’ll remember that summer in Australia. We’ll remember what’s been said and thought, what preceded the song and what came after.
If I can move just one person with a song, I am happy. Two is bliss.
“Lately I’ve been having strange dreams. Or rather, strange people show up in my dreams. I think I know them from somewhere. But do I?”
My favourite person in the world pointed this phenomenon out to me. Intriguing. I too meet people in my dreams that I haven’t met in real life. I am sure of that, because I know where I know them from. Instagram!
I try to keep my usage to a minimum but I often yield to its vortex-like undertow. Before I know it, an hour has disappeared into the ether of time and hundreds of faces, beaches, plates with exotic foods have flashed before my eyes and wondered into the sponge of my subconsciousness.
This weeks song is a stab at this cultural phenomenon. I wonder if other people have the same thing happening to them.
Musically I tried something new. I usually write with the guitar in hand, banging out the chords, while I search for words. Inspired by Mac Demarco I have switched the timeline and instead started with a melody on guitar and chords to go with it. I build the entire song upon the chords and a melody, just humming along. Then I set out to put words to it. Interesting. I know lots of lyricist have been doing this successfully for decades. Or centuries. It just never occurred to me personally. I guess you’re never too old to learn a new stunt.
I’m nervous. We have never done this before.
We have written songs before. We’ve recorded albums too. But this is different. Our own mini web series about songwriting… We call it Song Challenge, because it is. Writing a song is a mystical and intricate process. It’s hard to put a finger on it. How is it done. We want to get to the bottom of it and see how far we can stretch our own creativity.
We send song ideas back and forth. Johannes and I each keep adding to the project every week. At the end we have a demo of a song and a video to go along with it. Demo, because it is not recorded in a studio, nor is it produced over the course of several month. That’s how records are made. What we are after is to catch as many hot ideas as we can in one year. Flow in Songwriting. The limitation is one week per song. We have to write, record, arrange and finish it. FINISH it. Yes, that’s the biggest part. I think we can do it. I think we can end up with a collection of delightful music. The foundation for the next album. We’re doing it publicly, because it is fun. It really put’s the pressure on. And we think it is enjoyable to some of you out there. Let’s enjoy it together.
About The Song(-writing):
I’ll keep it short. For this one, I was in the country-side. I enjoy the quiet days, from morning till dusk. The only noises are birds and wind and sheep and horses. It put me in a great mood. What I could conjure up is a homage to this feeling. I am always influenced by my surrounding, but till now I failed write much about it. I wasn’t able to tune in. I am excited that after putting some effort in to get the creative juices flowing, this song came naturally by turing in and listening to the sounds in my heart. It also helped that I had just learned the picking pattern for "Girl from the North Country” by Bob Dylan. It felt really new and exciting to me. I just had to get the words down on the paper. I recored it on a Zoom H1 and sent it off to Johannes. He really made something special out of it. I knew his bass playing and drumming was going to be excellent, but he turned the song around by adding the nice piano chords in the third verse. It suits the mood perfectly. This opened the song up and gave it the change it needed to stay exciting till the end.
One down. Till next time!