When I start recording a song I can start anywhere. This can be the chord progression of a verse, a riff for the chorus or a drum pattern (midi, because I don’t have a drum kit, not even talking about my skills as a drummer). Sometimes it’s on acoustic guitar sometimes it’s on electric, sometimes it’s on a different instrument. Sometimes I start out with the vocals, creating a multi vocal part, which mostly blends in with the other parts played by other instruments later. I don’t really have a single way of writing or recording. But most of the times I start with the instrumental parts. Lyrics will come later. This is actually a funny thing, because most people will remember the lyrics and not what the second guitar part was of the second pre-chorus.
Most of the times I have a story in mind, something I want to tell with the songs. Or a theme. Maybe this is more conceptual writing than songwriting, but I love stories. I love storytelling. But I do want to combine this with a song, so my storytelling slowly forms into songwriting with a story in mind.
Those stories don’t just come to mind. At least, not with me. I need to be inspired and I acquire this inspiration from my surroundings, experiences, smells, colours, tastes, views, other music, friends, growing food, getting my hands dirty, building, dreams, coffee and all those things of which you can have a feeling about. Not a judgement, don’t get me wrong, but a feeling.
When I have those feelings, they slowly transform into an idea and those ideas slowly into the stories I mentioned above. When those stories settled in my head, I can slowly form them into songs. First instrumental, writing the lyrics as I go.
To keep this whole thing organised I write everything down. On single sided copy machine paper. Not the best for the environment, but when it’s finished or ends up in the corner, I use it to light the fireplace. Soon I have a sheet of paper for the chord progression of a song, the lyrics and one to keep track of what I am doing in the recording project. Things like BPM, tuning, what guitar I used and settings worth mentioning end up on this one.
To keep all this organised again I pin everything on the wall. Every stack of paper represents a song. Some consist of 4 sheets, some of 8. And on top of that, I have a sheet of paper organising what should’ve been organised on the wall already. So now I have a whole wall with ideas, finished and work in progress, pin posted to the wall with a ‘master’ sheet of things that have to be done and a separate note book for more ideas on other projects, and a book to link the pin posted sheets with the notebook and back and thus I have everything organised and all. Still following?
Maybe it’s time for me to simplify things. I record the songs digital anyway…