Tuesday, August 27, 2013

the time consuming process of writing, recording, and producing...

Good things take time.  It may be a bit pompous of me to apply this statement to my music, but let me explain... 

I realize that music is very subjective.  My favorite bands, songs, or moments in a song are often not your favorite bands, songs, etc.  Furthermore, we listen to and pay attention to different things about a song and this attention can change over time.  For instance, I remember a specific moment when I could recognize what drum machine a song was using after growing up with the song and already hearing it hundreds of times - but without the reference of what the drum machine sounds like on its own, one might never be able to recognize that machine in context of a song...

Knowing that people focus on different things, my song writing process usually goes something like this:  As I build the song, beats, instruments, etc, the music tracks have to stand on their own as an interesting listenable idea.  If they don't, I don't feel like lyrics or vocal melodies will help the song recover from boring the listener to death.  Music at every level must have a stand alone interest to my ear.  This doesn't mean that everyone would find the sound or beat or idea interesting, but it does mean that I don't expect to cover or bury something that doesn't quite work with something that does.

Lyrics and vocal melodies almost always come last for me.  They are not quite an afterthought, but nearly one.  Sometimes lyrics flow out (like lemonade - reference to my song "Conversation")... sometimes they are reluctant and similar to pulling my teeth out.  Much depends on the subject and context that I write about. 

Because of all of this, songs always take at least 4 to 5 times longer than I ever expect them to take, even after 20+ years of experience writing songs.  The instrument and music building process often takes weeks to months, where some nights I may work on nothing but a bass line or hi hats, etc. Once this is complete, or I think that it is complete as an instrumental, I work out melodies and make sure that lyrics line up with the melodies.  It is a pet peeve of mine when a word is stretched or extra syllables are added ("day" becomes "dayayay" for example).  It is also a pet peeve of mine when long words are crammed into a space where only a single syllable should lay.  Lyrics written outside of the space or context often leads to these things and sound like an afterthought - to me, the song should be more polished.

On top of all of this, once lyrics are done and vocals are recorded, the song needs a final mix.  The added vocal lines can often compromise the instrumental parts that were already in the song.  Often, competing sounds have to be mixed, EQ'd, modified, panned, or cut so they don't compete with the new lyrics.  These things take time. 

I appreciate fans, friends, labels, producers, companies, who wait patiently for me to finish my songs.

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