Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Song-Write Why?

Writing songs does make me really very happy. But I wonder why I do it sometimes. I want to be writing songs basically all of the time, but I don't really know what I want out of it. I know what I don't want out of it. I don't want people to say it's okay, and I don't want people to be in the NME Cool List (unless I am number one). And I don't want EMI to say they would like to sign me up for a billion pounds.

I think I would quite like lots of people to like my songs, but I would much rather The Bumblebees were a few people's favourite band then one that lots of people quite liked. But that is obvious. I think it makes sense that I would write things that sound similar to other songs that I have loved. Because I want the same audience as the bands I like? Or because I what to feel what it would have felt like to write a song like that? Is it actually talent to re-organise your influences in an order that seems original? Or is that actually original in itself? Bleurgh. I write like Carrie Bradshaw.

I really love the challenge of writing a song. I would say it is like having a blank canvas, but it is not really. When I write a song, there are things that I know I don't want, and limitations to what I can make happen. For a Bumblebees song, for example, it has to be playable on the instruments that we play, it can't really have more than three vocal parts because there are only three of us, and it has to have a drumbeat that we can follow, because we have a drum machine. But those are fun limitations to have. We have chosen to be a quite normal pop band and there is a lot of flexibility to be a bit subversive and also be dancey and fun and accessible.

The idea of a song having the potential to be aboslutely anything is really scary and amazing. But everyone is limited by their brain.

I think I have quite often written songs that sound like someone else. I'm not really sure how I feel about that. I really absolutely love when you hear something in a song that you think is absolutely completely new. But I really like poppy songs that stay in your head. Is it a bit wrong to try and sound weird when all you want to do is stay in people's heads? Because I think if you try and be a little bit weird then you are not really trying to be that at all. Is it alright to try and be a bit weird just because you don't want to be boring, or bored by yourself? I hope not. We try not to be the same as anything, but we are definitely very similar to quite a few things that we like.

The only bit I don't really think about very much is lyrics. Lyrics and structure. I find that they are just true for me. I just do whatever words I think are the best and I write about basically whatever I am thinking about at the time. Usually that is illness and death, but sometimes it is just words for words sake. That happens less now though.

It is possibly a bad idea even to think about songs in such depth. But I can't help it now, so it's too late. And I think that it can make better songs. It is better than just knocking off songs like you don't care about them. I'm pretty sure every band I love has thought about their songs a lot, and it shows in a good way - they don't forced, they just sound considered. And that is fine. I like it when you listen to a song and think that every second of it has had hours of thought put into it.

I have made a couple of songs that I quite like recently. That helps me be a bit more assured in knowing that I can actually do what I want to do. I think of writing blocks as a bit like stages that you have to get past. Like on a game. And once you get past it, you are a better player.

1 comment:

Bonjela said...

I like pop songs that make you forget about structure and they make everything seem so easy and you only realise afterwards it isn't as straightforward. Like everything on pet sounds. For me, enjoying the structure is going "I didn't expect this bit!" or "Yay!, This bit works well over the top of this earlier bit." Is that how you feel?

But I have trouble now cos whatever I do I feel it's too obvious. I've written myself into a corner. Chords all sound like chords and such-like. I'll get over it. blah blah.