On the radio tomorrow!

3 04 2013

Hey everyone.  I just wanted to tell you that my Lyrics class will be taking over the airwaves tomorrow night!  From 9-11pm, we’ll be either playing live in the studio or playing our recordings on Citr, 101.9 FM during a program titled “Live from Thunderbird Radio Hell”. You can also listen online at http://www.citr.ca, as all of their programs stream live.

I haven’t yet decided if I will be playing live or not, but I’d like to.  I do work for 5 hours tomorrow and my voice wears out quite quickly so I may have to play one of my recordings but regardless, hope some of you tune in!

Re-writing songs

1 04 2013

I don’t like it.

Maybe it’s just my process of doing it, but I don’t like it.  I should probably say, more specifically, that I’m not a fan of re-writing lyrics.  In general, lyrics have never been my strong suit.  Today, as I was forced to re-write lyrics for my final portfolio for the class, I found it extremely difficult and not very pleasant.  I wonder if I should say that in the little blurb I have to write about my revision process.

I think part of it is the coercion (perhaps that’s too strong a word to use here) to write songs and then re-write them.  I’ve always thought that good songs will naturally come to you, and many songwriters will agree with that statement.  It makes sense, then, that if you’re forced to re-write a song, it probably won’t be very good.  Ugh.

I’m happy to re-write a creative non-fiction piece, or my TV pilot, or even a fiction piece I’m not very attached to.  But re-writing lyrics in a form that can be very (too?) structured, is enough to make me spend an entire day thinking of rhymes for “spot”.  Which is not a good thing, if that wasn’t clear.

Way Back Into Love

21 03 2013

Speaking of collaborative songwriting, I almost forgot how good this song is.

Writing like Fiona Apple

14 01 2013

I’m in the process of writing a song (lyrics so far) like Fiona Apple, particularly like “Left Alone”, on Idler Wheel.  I feel weird about it because it’s not like anything I’ve written before, and the fact that I haven’t written a song in so long is a bit of a daunting task.  At the same time, I want to show my classmates that I’m actually a deep songwriter.  It goes back to my older songs, and how I wonder how I ever wrote them when I can’t even churn out a song now.

Anyway, we’ll see how it goes.  Wish me luck.

Back into it

11 01 2013

I’m taking a Lyrics Creative Writing class this semester.  It’s been about a year and a half since I last wrote a song, and before that, probably about another year or so.  I’ve been writing instrumentals, but writing songs, I’ve found, is getting harder and harder to do, especially when there are easier outlets to express how I feel (ie. autobiography).  I’m forcing myself to get back into it though, and I’ve been improvising at the piano to try and find something cool, but, as usual, I’m so picky about melodies and themes, which I think is a good thing, but at the same time, well, not good.

Sometimes, I think back to my best songs (“Almost Here”, “Empty”, “Goodbye Spain”) and I wonder, “How did I write that??”  They’re such good songs and yet I can’t even come up with decent lyrics and melodies these days.  I know I’ve realized that I’m probably a better composer than a lyricist, but dammit, I wanna do both again.

Maybe my golden age has come and gone. 😦

How to be inspired to write good songs

30 10 2012

Listen to shit!  Here’s a medley of some of the worst songs this year so far!

“The Magic Position” — Patrick Wolf

16 10 2012

I only recently discovered this guy, and holy crap, he is amazing.  He is the pianist and songwriter that I aspire to be.

I cannot stop listening to this song.  It blows my mind not only because it’s so good, but also because, from what I know about him, he used to write really minor, gloomy songs (like me!).  In “The Magic Position”, he literally sings about “singing in the major key”, as if it’s such a big deal to finally be writing and singing an upbeat song.  I think that’s a pretty big thing to do — to be changed so much by someone as to sing and write different songs altogether.

“I Know You Care” — Ellie Goulding

14 10 2012

Just listening to this inspires to take up songwriting again.

Why happy music does not exist for me

8 01 2012

A friend recently asked me, “Do you think some people just have sad souls?” (I forget the exact wording but something to that effect), referring to Kurt Kobain’s sad, angsty music.  I told him what Fiona Apple said about all music coming from angst.  (skip to4:36 for the start of the interview)

“Here’s what I think though: I only write when I’m angry or sad or something because that’s when I just have to write and I only will work if I absolutely have to.  If I’m having a good time and I’m happy and things are going really well, why would I want to stop what I’m doing to go and write at the piano?”

I feel like I’ve written about this before in a previous blog.  Hmm.  In any case, I tried to explain to my friend that maybe Kurt Kobain did have an eternally sad soul–I didn’t know him– but if we simply take a look at his/Nirvana’s music which may be sad, it’s not completely telling of his character.  I don’t believe he had zero happy moments in his life, but that, like me and like Fiona Apple, perhaps he simply wrote sad, angsty songs because he felt it was a way to let out his sadness, in order to feel good again.  And since so few of us in the world knew Kobain as a person, we might suggest through his songs and the subject matter of them that he was a sad soul, when it might not be the case.

We all pour out our feelings into something, to an extent, I think.

Goodbye Spain

22 05 2011

Shameless self-promotion time!  Before “Goodbye Spain”, I had always written songs with my own lyrics.  It’s not that I wasn’t open to writing songs with other lyrics but the thought never occured to me.  Then one day, I came across my good old friend Sam West’s blog, which he used to post his own poetry and lyrics every once in a while, and that was where I read lyrics of his called “Goodbye Spain”.  The words spoke of a longing to get out of a smalltown, and though Vancouver isn’t a smalltown by any means, I could still relate to the lonely, outsider feeling of the poem’s tone.  In fact, I was so impressed and liked the lyrics so much that I asked Sam if I could write a song with them and once I was given the OK, I got to work on them.  First collaboration!  Woot!

For a while, I couldn’t come up with much.  Most of the time when I write, I’ll either have the music for the verse or the chorus down, but not for both, and I usually just get frustrated.  With “Goodbye Spain”, it was the same thing: I had music for the verses all set but nothing really came to mind for a chorus.  Eventually, I somehow managed to crank something out, and the next thing I knew, I was singing the song walking down the street, thinking to myself, “Damn!  That’s actually a pretty awesome song.” (rather than, “Damn!  I must seem like a crazy person right now, singing in public about highway A1A.”

I don’t have a studio version recording of the track yet, but I’ve performed it a bunch of times in live and this is my favourite performance.  Enjoy!