The first part of the song-writing process begins with the basics (for me): A pen, a piece of paper, and a guitar. Some stray thought which has been lingering in the back of your mind; some subtle melody which softly ripples through your body and up to your tongue. It starts so insignificantly, like a mental hum, appearing to pop up from nowhere. And when the time is right, when all the conditions say yay; you’re in the right mood, the right rhythm, the right frame of mind; it blows in from your subconscious; coming out of you, be it fast or slow.
Once you get it down: Lyrics, chords, melody; then starts the next step of the process: cementing. This is also a very valuable part of it all. You familiarise yourself with the song; sing it over and over again, learn all about its intricacies. More small melodies and rhythms jump up between the prominent parts. It’s really fun, your new creation provides great buzz within, strengthening the bond between you and your higher self; channelling effortlessly, straight from the soul. But it doesn’t last forever. Eventually that fades.
There is a certain amount of time until all the excitement dies down and one loses enthusiasm for the project. And when it ain’t fun no more all those minor melodies which were popping up will disappear, floating off into the ether. The identity of the song is there, the main structure of it will never die; once you’ve written it down and played it through a few times it’s set in stone. But those extra little bits, the random little spurts of inspiration, the faint patterns in between, they soon fade.
If you want to catch them before they go you’ve got to think fast. And that’s why I make demos- to do just that. You can think of the rough recording process as a butterfly net, snatching them in before they flutter away. And once you’ve got them down, then later you can develop them into something more polished.
It’s so special when you’re in that creative frenzy, sparks firing wildly inside the headphones; a blur of disordered colours all shining in your mind; dashing around from instrument to instrument; sloshing paint up from the pallet. It gets very messy, even somewhat embarrassing. But in amongst the roughness are the gems which later will shine…
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