• Songwriting Etiquette
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Songwriting Etiquette
on: September 08, 2018, 00:51:27
« Last Edit: September 08, 2018, 00:53:40 by Bluedusksun »
So, the curious creature that I am can't help but pose a question to this fabulous forum of musicians. How do you do what you do. Was thinking about this all day, daydreaming and such, and really curious what others have to say.

I work an extremely physical and time consuming job, and find that as much of my free time (if not spent with the girlfriend) is spent making music. I am very hard on myself if I am not being productive, and since I have learned to sudo mix and master recently every song has now become work, and I've been sorta yearning to shy away from the production aspects to just get back to focusing on the creative ones.

Question is about balance I suppose, how do you balance the enjoyable creative side and the leg work of production? Most of us are DYI I'm guessing, so almost everything falls on our shoulders. Especially if its all a labor of love and you have a 9 to 5. I miss the days of just writing half ass demos each and every day, just capturing the ideas and calling it.

It's interesting, cause so many people just do what they do so naturally. I get laid off for the winter months and I dream up of having time to just work on music, but it never pans out that way. I've found that creative energy is like a life bar in a video game, if its too full then you get angsty, if its too depleted you get writers block. I fret about what specific musical direction to expend that musical energy on as well. Not sure how you all write music, but at this point I'm refining a back catalog of songs so they are completely done with. Unfortunately this takes time and new music creations suffer because of it I feel.

So my question, as broad as it may be, is how do you go about writing and recording music in allotted time frames, and how do you find the balance between everyday life. Last but not least how do you choose what to work on. really interested in everyones responses cause somethings got to give. Much love

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Re: Songwriting Etiquette
Reply #1 on: September 08, 2018, 02:05:36
Hi @Bluedusksun
I guess everyone of us has to come up with an answer to this.
And  I think that I have found a remarkably consistent way of writing. Which in itself is remarkable since the only constant is change for me.

Over the past 10 years or so I aim for a certain amount instead of a certain quality. Stemming from a practical point of view. I accept that only 2 or 3 out of 10 are songs that I want to listen to again after the first screening. I can choose. Simply because they are there. If I aim for 2 quality songs, it’s almost certain that I am not happy with one of them so the goal is not achieved.

I have a very old 8 track hard disk recorder and only today I thought out a way to double the amount of tracks and still being able to have chance at mixing the parts.
So there is a slight change towards a more time consuming working method.
Other than this, I choose to stick to a rough thing per day, as you say. Simply because that gives me the most high/kick/thrill.

I think with this, it’s a matter of what fits your kind of creativity the best.
And fit your working methods around your temperament.
I am really fine with my methods, but there is no way predicting if it would fit you. Or maybe even, if it would fit you in this specific phase of your life.
Good luck with your starry quest. I check out what you dream up and post here. With pleasure!
Kind regards, Gus

Re: Songwriting Etiquette
Reply #2 on: September 08, 2018, 04:20:27
Hi @Bluedusksun ... I feel as though I have no answers and I have the same questions and then some. The more I learn, the more empty I feel. I hate music and I love music at the same time. I don't even want to do it but I can't stop. When people call me for gigs I freak out, I avoid, I curse the opportunity  ... I keep trying to quit.

Being a lousy singer is a blessing in some ways. I write a quite a bit of stuff.... I play it for Melissa and see if she thinks it's okay. Some of it I've recorded but she'll never record the vocals ( mainly because it's garbage). Some of it is still in my brain and I just play piano versions of it while singing the lyrics to myself. Some of it, on the other hand, comes together real fast. ( thank God for the kitchen challenges!) Some of it is still on random pieces of paper. And, some of it is buried in portfolios in the closet because I came up with it long before I played keys, met Melissa or had a son to play drums with me.

All that to say. It's all in multiple stages of development and some of it will never be finished. On a daily basis it basically depends on my energy level and mostly I don't want to do it if it is not fun!  ;)
Songwriter, Keyboards, Arranger, Producer & Engineer for November Sound

November Sound is based on the Mother, Father & Son musical trio of Melissa, Bill & Will. I'm the father so anything I post will have my wife singing and/or my son playing percussion.

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Re: Songwriting Etiquette
Reply #3 on: September 09, 2018, 11:37:51
I am always writing....always. I work a 55+ week (office job these days) and have other worldly responsibilities, but the writing process is like a thread through that tapestry. Every day there is studio time.....it's the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night. Writing and recording go hand in hand for me as I LOVE the engineering part.

I remember those winter lay-offs as well @Bluedusksun ....most of my life was spent as  landscaper (  ;) ), and those were very creative years for me.

Good thread....can't wait to hear from others.
"The main thing is to have a gutsy approach....but use your head." Julia Child

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Re: Songwriting Etiquette
Reply #4 on: September 09, 2018, 14:50:00
« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 00:20:28 by oorlab »
Good question... I was a bit confused by the word etiquette.
But alotting time frames and thinking of fictional titles for songs and albums help me to have the idea that i "work" on a project instead of just goofing around.
I choose to work on some idea that presents itself to me as "odd" or "left of centre", but i know that with that i fool myself.
Basically it is just playing around and be ready if inspiration strikes. Collaborating can help a lot. Even just presenting 3 ideas and let somebody else choose 1 'worthwhile' idea to pursue can help to get a sense of purpose.
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Re: Songwriting Etiquette
Reply #5 on: September 09, 2018, 22:44:22
As one of the lucky ones in retirement mode I can pick and choose if and when I do music. I can't get away with doing it all the time as life and other hobbies get in the way. I don't think I'd want to though, as I feel the joy of creating music would then diminish a bit for me.

I'm been a tinkerer (and probably researcher) all my life, so I guess my output ebbs and flows with the muse. It is very much inspiration driven as I'm not trying to make a career out of music, or make any money. Really it's just a thing I've done since the late 70's and the technology and science fascinates me as much as the artistic bit.

I can't imagine stopping now I don't need others to create. The band phase was just that I think, a steeping-stone to where I am now.  Choir singing has really developed my singing technique and confidence too and allowed me to go beyond just instrumentals.  THe voice is jhusyt another instrument I can employ now if required. 

"Love and Life is all about connections"

Re: Songwriting Etiquette
Reply #6 on: October 13, 2018, 23:52:28
It's certainly difficult with a full time job and a young child in the house. For me i've subconsiously put my old hobbies and interests to the wayside. This past year i've started to take my music career seriously and been writing, releasing and playing music live. My old passions have drifted off; I hardly play video games these days if at all, that movie I was going to  watch I get the guitar out instead, I used to be a fan of a particular sport now I rarely watch it just keep up with it online. As I say, this isn't something i've planned on just something that's happened.
A handy tip is i've got my acoustic guitar on a stand in my living room so it's always handy to pick up if i've just got a spare five minutes.

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Re: Songwriting Etiquette
Reply #7 on: December 15, 2018, 16:51:19
Back before my songwriter's brain fell out my ear and flew away, I used to write a new song after my part time office job finished at 3pm. About 2-3 days a week, I'd go straight to my little studio, create a melody from a concept that had been brewing for 1-3 days, record it, play that melody over and over while conjuring up lyrics on the spot as the music played, then I'd add other sounds or layers, then record the vocals once all the way through for the first time, then a second time again all the way through. Done by 5pm.
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Re: Songwriting Etiquette
Reply #8 on: June 19, 2019, 13:35:43
oh @monty_lameer  sad to hear you’ve had block.

this is a great topic, for years i only wrote a handful of songs a year and averaged about one good song a year.

i HATE daws. it’s not that i can’t use them, i just find the process in creative and draining and i spend more time problem solving than recording.

so i recently switched back to my. old four track cassette which is much more fun, and i record most sound ideas in my phone voice memo app.

being in a song club with weekly challenges means i am now writing more than i ever have in my life, and it keeps my creative spark alive. it has to be fun, otherwise why do it. sure there’s 99% perspiration after the 1% inspiration. but why would anyone make music if they didn’t love it, so find ways to shake things up.

Andrew Huong is really good at ideas on his youtube for breaking up the monotony and trying different things and bringing the idea of play back into the work of songwriting.
“everything is simple, nothing is as straightforward as it seems”.— Me

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