Thursday, July 30th, 2015
I love songwriting. I loathe finishing songs. I love writing melodies, setting the hooks, and structuring the song. I hate writing lyric to support those hooks, but I love it when it all works out.
I know an easier way. I know so many others that use the easier way. But I don’t think it works for me. I’m not sure I’ve met anybody for whom it works for, really.
Allow me to explain.
It is all about the “hook”. The melodic bit that infects the audience’s brain. The thing that astrally-projects out of your hindbrain with its neandrethall-like love of music and locks the listener down.
The thing that, when you first heard it, you had to write a song as its life-support system so it could go continue existing.
You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. You can’t polish up … well, you know the phrase. So, then, we must understand that you can’t make a song out of a broken hook.
A broken hook is one that can’t stand on its own melodically. A solid melodic hook needs to be that catchy, musical/rhythmic/lyrical bit that jumps into the listener’s brain and takes root.
Some songs are memorable, and some songs are ambient. Ambient songs never really penetrate into the deeper parts of our perceptive filters, forcing us to acknowledge them. Instead, they get droned out by other stimulae and provide an enjoyable ‘in-the-now’ sort of experience.
I know entire bands who provide a great show, but I can’t hum a single one of their tunes right now to save my life. Their songs didn’t penetrate deeply enough for me to notice, from then to make a new memory by turning the spotlight of my present and presence onto the experience of listening to that song. They lost their chance.
I don’t want to write those songs.
So I delve my subconscious for melodic hooks, and when I happen to mine one up, I try to build a song around it. I collect hookie bits in files on my phone, and play them for my bandmate who sorts them, and the best bits tend to lend themselves to collaboration with each other. Songs are born that way, for me.
That means I spend a lot of late nights with almost-asleep moments where my mind is free to wander, and when I find myself humming a little snippet I have to ethereally drag myself out of the tarpit of slumber and propel myself towards my phone to groggily groan out a bleary-froggy melodic snippet that I angrily challenge my future self to do something with in order to make this shit worth it!
But I digress …
You see, if I construct my songs the way I have described, I have a much higher chance of writing a song that is catchy and memorable. If, on the other hand, I take the easier way of writing the words first, I am merely hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.
Yeah … I know …, but at least my way, I’ve got a customized bottle.
I would prefer to write a poem, and then set music to that poem. I would prefer to write lyrics first, and then find something that fit those words, but whenever I try to do that I wind up feeling so constricted by the word scansion that my melodies end up simple and boring.
There are probably songwriters out there who can manage to both write a catchy melodic hook *and* write one within the constraints of a pre-existing meter … but that’s beyond me.
I’m fairly religious in my belief that the hook of the song has to come first, so I spend a lot of time taking advantage of those almost-asleep, distracted-yet-relaxed moments to suddenly *go to work*! It makes things interesting.
So, the part of the process that is required to bend and strain is the lyrical portion. I have to write lyrics to a pre-existing musical meter, and that sometimes proves to be a more difficult challenge than I am comfortable admitting.
I used to write so freely and easily, and now I find it difficult.
So I write these things out, so I can play with words again. Then I can play with songwriting.
Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Back in the day, I used to write things. I wrote long, complicated papers for academia, and I wrote long, personal e-mails on a regular basis with anybody who cared to correspond. I wrote long, thought-out posts on various forum boards and interest groups, and I had long, luxurious talks with friends and family. I entertained serious notions of writing for a living.
I don’t do that anymore. I don’t write as often, and I don’t really connect past the level of general communication. I don’t let people in, and I don’t know what to talk about.
Part of this occurred to me while cobbling together lyrics for my band’s upcoming LP. I’m thinking of shooting for a name like “Dialogues”, but we’ll see how things go.
So, I’m trying to write lyrics, and I just feel ever-so-slightly disconnected from the process. I don’t flow into the writing anymore. It doesn’t engulf and consume and curl around me as it used to.
So I’m going to start writing again, about the process of waking up again. Waking up creatively, personally, professionally.
Let’s see where this takes us.
A nice little article from the Tri-City Herald about the Relief Benefit, and us! You can read it here!
Free Finn Doxie show for fans willing to be a supportive audience for our video shoot!
On Saturday, April 18th at 7:00, Finn Doxie will be hosting a free show at the Wolf Den Music Space at 5220 NE Sandy blvd.
The point of this show is to create some short videos of live performance while testing our live audio in pro-tools, and we want YOU to help us make it a fun evening!
Think of it as an “unplugged” show, similar to a VH1 Storytellers-style night.
We need people to come out, sit in comfy chairs, smile and clap and sway to the music. If you want to support Finn Doxie and local, live music, then come do it on camera! Support our band by enjoying music! What could be easier?!
Please come on out, bring your friends, fill the seats, and support us by having a good time.
For those of you thinking of using Wolf Den for a video shoot, or for live audio recording, come out and watch it happen and feel free to discuss details after.