Monday, 23 May 2011

Acoustic stuff, songwriting and my love of Radio 4.

James (LSC bassist) and I spent a day going through the massive back log of little acoustic ideas we have had over the last 6 months. Previously we'd write things, realise we didn't really have an outlet for them and end up shelving them to be looked at later.
Well we finally got around to 'later' and in amongst the rough i think we found a diamond. Time will tell as sometimes these things seem great "Wow, its so simple, direct and moving!", then after playing it a few times you realise that maybe the simple and moving equates to dull and cheesy.
I get asked quite a lot in interviews or just by people at gigs how I go about writing a song. Well the truth is I don't really know. I have no set method and always wonder if maybe i have written my last song. I feel like i'm totally out of ideas and can't remember how the last ones came to me and then out of the blue i'm playing guitar, humming a melody and it all just appears. The less work that's involved the better the song usually is, but sometimes it can take a while to end up with something that feels true to the feeling you're trying to convey. I like to work fast and get into a vibe in my little home studio, but i also write 90% of my lyrics whilst driving. For 2 years my car had no radio, tape player or anything to fill the silence so on long drives it gave me a chance to just think and usually i'd work through the mental backlog of little snippets i'd come up with and flesh them out to full songs. Being unprepared and having no pen in the car i'd then have to rush into the house when i got home to write down what i'd got in my head before it drifted away (songwriters, never assume you'll remember that cool chorus. You won't and if there is nothing more frustrating!). So now that i have a radio in my car i still often drive in silence to give me time with no distractions to work on lyrical ideas.

The times i'm not sat in silence driving down the M3 i'm usually listening to Radio 4. The radio station, not the band. To anyone reading this and thinking I'm old before my time then i'll accept the jibe because i really don't care. Radio 4 is great and i don't mind people knowing. You see the thing i love about it is that i learn things, about the world, about the economy, about religion, about art, about science, about history and as well as that there's really good comedy (lots of the 'cool' comedy stuff on TV started out on Radio 4). I love reading and i love to learn and often feel a little starved of it in day to day life. It is one of the few media portals that doesn't feel dumbed down and i just love to turn it on and hear people speaking properly and interesting things that i'd never even thought i'd have been interested in before. Shit, i even like Woman's Hour, its like Loose Women on ITV but on the radio and not made by idiots for idiots. So my listening tip is not a cool new band its the In Our Time show with Melvyn Bragg on Radio 4.
Jon
                                                         James working on new songs.

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