Shimura Curves

Monday, May 22, 2006

Give me a Reason to love you...

What a productive weekend!

On Saturday, I went round Miss AMP's in order to give her the lesson in using Reason that I've been promising her for months. So I took her through its paces, and showed her loads of shortcuts. I just hope that I didn't go too fast because I get so excited when I use Reason that I'm always all "Look, you can do this! And then this! and wow, this sounds great..." and away I gallop while my pupil is still going "wait, what the fuck is Portamento?"

Half of the knowledge I have, I have no idea where I've picked it up over the years. I've taken two courses at University (one in Electronic Music, and the other in Studio Technology) but didn't make it to the end of either. Mostly it's just gleaned from mucking about (and fucking things up) myself, or else reading Sound On Sound while waiting in recording studios.

Anyway, she picked it up really quickly, and away she went with Disco Drums and cello samples and Duran Duran sounding synths. Hurrah! That's the nice thing about Reason - it is so user friendly to get started on.

But a stray comment just got me thinking (oh, what else is new?) - she was joking around, going "Yeah, it's easy to write a song on Reason, but it's not easy to write a song like Stronger." And I turned around and said "No, not really, there's no difference."

...and I wasn't being self depreciating or falsely modest or anything like that. It's hard to explain. Writing songs is easy, fullstop. They just flow, it just happens. And I have no way of telling, as I'm writing a song, if no one will like it and it's going nowhere, or if it's going to turn into a monster anthem that people want to release as a single. In fact, often the harder it is to write a song, the less 'good' it is.

The melody for Stronger had been kicking around my head for ages. Originally it was just a riff, with nonsense words like "She's coming on, banging on like a Venus in polyester..." but it wasn't until I had a massive row during my breakup with the Unemployed Artist Loser (sorry, I love my acronyms) that it came together. I had something I started to say to him - that for the first bit of our relationship, he had supported me, emotionally, and he had been solution to a lot of my problems. But for the rest of the relationship, he *became* my biggest problem. And he got so fixated on the whole first half of that statement (going on and on about how much effort it had taken for him to be supportive of me, and how I should be "grateful" or something) that I never got to the second bit, which was the important bit.

The next morning, I was on the bus to work - I can remember rounding the corner of Kennington Park - with this whole argument stewing in my head, and the lyrics just popped into my head. It was my way of finishing the argument, of saying what I needed to say. I bashed the melody out on Reason the next day, added some orchestral arrangements and it was finished by the weekend. Like I always say, writing songs isn't hard at all - it's living through the experiences that give you the ideas for songs that is the hard part.

Anyway, I demoed some songs on Sunday. Had loads of fun with the new pedals - in fact, I fear I may have overdone the wah, since it's the new toy. Still, I think it sounds good. I'll post Just Like Friends (total JAMC pastiche) and the infamous, long-threatned Brown And Sticky (utter filth, Missy Elliott meets Dandy Warhols) to MySpace if I can figure out how to rip MP3s on this crap work computer.


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