Interesting song writing technique

kfowler8

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Not sure if this belongs here or another subforum but I've started doing some writing again after a long break and found this podcast pretty interesting.

The idea is he writes 50 songs including lyrics over in 12 weeks. From that 50 songs he selects 13 to actually be on his album and fully record. For the 50 he's just writing and recording them on his iPhone so he's not doing a full production on each song.

The concept is trying to flush out as many ideas as you can regardless of how good or bad you think they are. I think one of the big points is it gets you in discipline of actually writing frequently and not worrying so much about trying to achieve perfection.

Episode #34 – The Secret To Writing Better (And More) Songs In The Studio | Simply Recording Podcast
 

Nick-O

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To be honest, it would be decades for me to have 50 ideas...so I am impressed right from the get go!
 

kfowler8

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To be honest, it would be decades for me to have 50 ideas...so I am impressed right from the get go!
You know I thought the same thing going into it but after listening I get the logic. He also states that maybe your target is not 50 but 25 or some other number. He does this for a living and basically spent a couple hours each day working on it. That's not feasible for most of us but perhaps on a smaller scale.
 

Malikon

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"throw enough sh*t at the wall."

I figured that's what everyone does, come up with a bunch of ideas and separate the wheat from the chaff.

forcing yourself to write every day seems like it would create a lot of bad ideas though.

I'm sure we've all spent a day writing a song and then the next day been like, "what was I thinking?" and just ..hating what you put so much work into the day before.

...seems like the best ideas, riffs, melodies just pop out of nowhere anyway. You don't really have to work them.

It's a good idea though. Novelists and writers have been doing the same thing forever. They write every day even if it's garbage, just to practice writing.

I figure we do about the same when we practice guitar.

How many times do you sit down to practice and end up writing instead? Look up and an hour's gone by and you've been working 2-3 riffs together to see how they gel.
 

Death Incarnate

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The concept is trying to flush out as many ideas as you can regardless of how good or bad you think they are. I think one of the big points is it gets you in discipline of actually writing frequently and not worrying so much about trying to achieve perfection.
Speaking for myself, the more it's done, the better the songs and ideas. After I take a break after an album, once I start and write a few songs, I get really intimated and wonder how I ever wrote the older stuff. Then after a few more, and after the muscle is flexed, once I'm 20 in, each new song is more amazing than the last, and demolishes the earlier demos. In the end, those 10-12 tracks on the album are 90% the most recent material.

For my band's eight LP (due in two weeks!), I spent 25 weeks with a 100% commitment to write one song a week for six months, starting first week of Jan 2015. The deal I made with myself was to that by the time I went to bed on Sunday night, I had to have a demo fully mixed, with chords, melody, and lyrics. It's pretty easy once you get into the groove of it.

For me, I also think this comes from the fact that early on, I'm just writing simple ideas. And once the low hanging fruit is gone, I challenge myself to write more interesting ideas, key changes, more interesting production and loops, etc.
 

EDS1275

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my method is to get drunk, start sobbing out of self pity, write a tune, then go get a snack
 

Malikon

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I just hear sh*t in my head most of the time.

it never really seemed like work, it just happens.

the few times I truly worked at writing/arranging a song they weren't very popular anyway. :laugh2:

The ones I spend the least amount of time on people seem to like. Go figure. :dunno:

I think if I really forced myself to write on a schedule I'd probably start to resent the guitar or something.

I don't know how some of these bands go in a studio and write and record a record in a couple weeks. I think if I forced myself to write 10 songs really quickly I'd probably start to hate the songs or be forever tweaking them.

don't think I could do 50 songs in 3 months. I'd burn out and not want to play guitar for a year. :laugh2:
 

kfowler8

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I think part of it is people believe this myth that a song will just come to you out of thin air. Sometimes it does many times you need to tease it out by just doing it. As you say Mal it's really no difference than any other thing in life. You have to work at it and commit to it.
 

Malikon

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yeah,...just never really seemed too much like work.

Forcing a schedule on yourself, commiting to a number of songs,..just seems like it could turn something joyful into a grind.

I could see though that it could have a positive effect on others.

...we all write and approach the instrument differently I guess. Everyone has different methods or whatever.
 

Brians Evil Twin

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Acoustic Guitar magazine – Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers

You are a songbird right this minute. Today you’re a better songbird than you was yesterday, ’cause you know a little bit more, you seen a little bit more, and all you got to do is just park yourself under a shade tree, or maybe at a desk, if you still got a desk, and haul off and write down some way you think this old world could be fixed so’s it would be twice as level and half as steep. . . . It wouldn’t have to be fancy words. It wouldn’t have to be a fancy tune. The fancier it is the worse it is. The plainer it is the easier it is, and the easier it is, the better it is—and the words don’t even have to be spelt right. . . . They don’t even have to rhyme to suit me. If they don’t rhyme a tall, well, then it’s prose, and all of the college boys will study on it for a couple of hundred years, and because they cain’t make heads nor tails of it, they’ll swear you’re a natural born song writer, maybe call you a natural born genius.

—Woody Guthrie, from the introduction to Hard Hitting Songs for Hard-Hit People
 

Sequimite

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I've seen many novelists talk about writing having two stages. First, get your conscious mind out of the way and let the id flow. Then editing, which many describe as what "writing" actually is. The first draft of Saul Bellow's "Herzog" was over three thousand pages. So exercises like the one cited by the OP are meant to enable one to learn how to set judgment aside and just let the words roll freely. The theory is that you need quantity before you can achieve quality and some of the best writers ascribe to this model.
 

kfowler8

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I've seen many novelists talk about writing having two stages. First, get your conscious mind out of the way and let the id flow. Then editing, which many describe as what "writing" actually is. The first draft of Saul Bellow's "Herzog" was over three thousand pages. So exercises like the one cited by the OP are meant to enable one to learn how to set judgment aside and just let the words roll freely. The theory is that you need quantity before you can achieve quality and some of the best writers ascribe to this model.
That's right, similar to the 80/20 rule.
 

Malikon

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I've seen many novelists talk about writing having two stages. First, get your conscious mind out of the way and let the id flow. Then editing, which many describe as what "writing" actually is. The first draft of Saul Bellow's "Herzog" was over three thousand pages. So exercises like the one cited by the OP are meant to enable one to learn how to set judgment aside and just let the words roll freely. The theory is that you need quantity before you can achieve quality and some of the best writers ascribe to this model.
Totally. Separate the good/interesting ideas from the bad ones.

Another thing that works is the stuff you remember or gets stuck in your head days after you wrote it...there's a reason it's stuck in your head.

and if it sticks in your head there's a good chance it will stick in other peoples heads too.
 

eddie_bowers

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I have mixed feelings about this approach. The people I know who do this end up with a lot of songs with a moment or two that sound interesting, but nothing really strong. Some good ideas get wasted on otherwise lame songs and it's rare that they recycle the ideas. In theory you could absolutely recycle, but they tend to think "I used that already"
I think you need to write fairly constantly to keep that "muscle" exercised, but not set artificial constraints.
Writing a lot also forces you to come up with a set process of doing it to be efficient and productive. IMHO as soon as someone gets into a "Process" they lose creativity.
All that being said I like putting stuff together outside of a DAW (like rough phone recordings). The DAW gets you thinking about creating a final product and that can suck out the creativity.
 

MikeyTheCat

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A few years back I had some down time (unemployed for a few weeks) and a buddy of mine who is an honest to goodness song writer got me into writing a song or two a day. Drums, bass, guitar, keys, maybe vocals, record it, write it all down, keep everything to one or two takes. It was mostly an exercise to get me producing music but some of the ideas were pretty good and used.
 

MikeyTheCat

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yeah,...just never really seemed too much like work.

Forcing a schedule on yourself, commiting to a number of songs,..just seems like it could turn something joyful into a grind.

I could see though that it could have a positive effect on others.

...we all write and approach the instrument differently I guess. Everyone has different methods or whatever.
 

FUS44

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See, I think if you are always working on new stuff.........constantly trying move forward, the ideas will appear out of thin air. I don't know about the 50 song method; it seems a bit forced. But I also know the more you do it, the better you get.

When I pick up my guitar, I may play a couple of licks to warm up, but then it is just jamming. I don't spend much time on learning anything else by anyone else. It may seem ignorant but my goal is to write. Now, listening to music, voracious. But daily I am constantly humming, singing, mentally recording....words, phrases,sounds, colors, shapes....ugh, feelins. All to influence or be the subject of a song. Inspiration is everywhere. The best analogy I can make is a, ahem, river...ideas just flowing and inspiration is kinda the sh*t that gets snagged in the submerged roots of your mind and fester into a song.

The music can be a riff, sometimes a whole song. Many times, I will write a similar tempo'd song in the same key with different changes. Then we pick the one that seems best and I add words and an arrangement.

I guess the process is different for everyone, but the practice makes perfect. Record yourself, play out, be ready to have your butt handed to you by critics and indifferent audiences alike. And damn if that Woody Gutherie quote ain't a wee bit accurate.
 

Laggspike

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I tend to just get up from the bed and then go grab my food and then down to the studio and grab the guitar and figure somthing out :)

i might make a intro to somthing cinematic, i might just noodle around to find somthing work on (not always working..)

Sometimes i just play a pc game if i dont find inspiration.

Sometimes when i watch a movie, i grab the guitar and play while watching, i dont pay attention when i do this, unless my ears pick up somthing interesting i just did :)

But then again, my gaming room is the same room as my studio. so its quite easy to grab a guitar and go for it. my guitars is in a 50cm range from me so yeah..

i dont write any lyrics at all. im pretty much strictly for instrumentals, simply becouse i cant sing and i cant find any singers.. if i had that, there would be a bunch of covers on my youtube by now lol
 

NRBQ

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"throw enough sh*t at the wall."

I figured that's what everyone does, come up with a bunch of ideas and separate the wheat from the chaff.

Or in my case, how to separate the chaff from the other chaff.
 




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