Tuesday, 21 June 2011

So how about a little peek into my lyric book

A couple of pages from my lyric book

Today doesn't seem like a good time to go through all the Tuesday to-dos that I've missed out on over exams - and I'll be merging that and Friday into a new Sunday feature soon (I think) - so I thought now might be nice to do a small blog about something I'm writing, or, more specifically, how I write.

However, first things first, I think we should all sing a quick happy birthday to Vivatramp which celebrates its first birthday today. Ready?
A happy blah blah
blah you
blah blah
blah you
blah blah blah blah blah,
Anyway, nice one Bee; I think the speed at which Viva's grown goes some way to showing you really quite how good it is.  It's definitely right up there amongst my favourite blogs and it's pretty easily my favourite personal one.   Anyway, onwaaaaaaaard:

You all know I'm in a band, right?  Well, yeah, I am, and being a little English nut who's keen on poetry and things, I always try and write lyrics when I can (If you have our EP, I did 'E9', 'Enlightenment; Maybe' and 'Black|White' (must improve my titles for songs)).  Jonny sent me a new song out of the blue the other day, so I'm jumping on the opportunity before Ed gets his filthy-but-better mitts on it.

Pretentious, badly written and unhelpful-because-its-a-personal-thing guides are ten-a-penny these days, but this is how I write - not a guide, but an insight into my creative process.
This is what happens when you have a song to write, not when you're inspired; whilst you'd assume I'd hate writing as a task, I often find it works - if I 'have' to write something, it stops me cringing and makes me get on with it.

Going hand in hand with this vague sense of duty, I find I need a song ready for me to write anything well.  You can write as much as you want without music, but that method leaves you rather susceptible to getting just too poetic, or alternatively leaving you with something that bit too hard to fit into a melody.  People aren't listening exclusively for your wordcraft, which might well be great and give depth or feel to a song but won't catch someone's immediate attention - how many songs sound brilliant to belt out but mean nothing at all? Often a few LALAs will suffice.

Second, get yourself some refreshments.  These are totally, absolutely necessary: writing is an excellent excuse to have some chai.
Chai tea and Marmite on toast are musts
 Then get a pen and some paper. Don't use a computer; that sucks the life out of any emotion you are trying to get across, which is kind of the point, right? Get physical, and knuckle down - listen to the song a couple of times on repeat and jot down any thoughts you have / do a mindmap of ideas. Draw a picture, write down some quotes, do a bit of word association or freeform writing. Get stuff down. Next, make a collection of all the words or phrases you might have jotted down in notebooks or on scraps of paper in the past few months (I use my phone's memos) and copy them all down in a page together.  Soon you'll find some recurring themes: that's your head, that is. Don't be afraid of talking about your preoccupations - lyrics or poetry can be a great release.  Although you can run the risk of re-lodging stuff in your mind, I wouldn't worry about anything coming back in my head too much - much due to the fact that I don't sing, but hand lyrics over to Ed.  The fact someone else can be singing something personal, or abstract and open to interpretation, feels like the best release.  If nothing else, hearing anything over and over, whilst writing, rehearsing and recording will make the subject lovely and dull - mundanity, much the subject of the song I'm doing now, can be a great comfort, as well as working wonders for ruining your memory.  All hail the death of good thought!

Some of my books full of notes
Giving vague order to any recurrences you have in your notes is a pretty good next step, after which you should try to fit them vaguely in with any of the stuff you wrote whilst listening to the song earlier.  For melody (I'm really bad at this), you can try and transcribe whatever you have already kicking around in your head, direct from the words you've written, or sit and listen to the song on repeat for ages in an attempt to work one out.  A personal favourite.

I use my glock to write melody (which I'm shit at) 
Fit it all together, go through it a few times, then go and do something else for a few hours. Never get rid of your rough work, whether it's throwing away notes or whatever.  Read/listen again for a quick once-over, before giving what you have the 24 hour rule, and if it's not cringeworthy after that you'll be fineeeee

Got bored of writing towards the end so rushed through, really.  That's all, I'm going to get the song slowed down a bit so it fits a bit more nicely with my lyrics and so it sounds a bit more Wild Beasts-y.  I'll be doing a walking blog catch-up tomorrow, I think.  T'ra!


when I've finished these I'll put them here. Shouldn't be too long, though the result'll probably go down like a curry fart in a space suit

My hands are completely covering my eyes


  1. Whey thumbs up for my pretentious statement! Haven't written lyrics in a verrrrrrry long time, to be truthful everything I re-read makes me want to vomit with cringe so possibly this is a sign. Deffffs agree with the no computer rule, unfortunately I can only write sensical prose by hand (oh so looking forward to an English degree and my fifteen thousand word dissertation, could be interesting). Looking forward to a non-cringe lyric update!

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this peek into your creative process. More of the same please. I've always been curious as to how people write lyrics.... turns out it's a lot like how I write! Although probably with fewer temper tantrums and procrastination. xoxo

  3. so i am digging your writing style, it amuses me :) and also, you have talent for song lyrics, for real!


Comments are better than comets, crumpets, trumpets and strumpets

I shall reply to each and every one because you're all lovely