Learning by Doing and Listening

Obviously I am no pro, but I do remember writing my first proper song when I was 15 or 16. There’s been quite a few since. The interesting thing about song-writing is how much you can learn and grow by studying all the hundreds of dimensions of a song. For a long time I’ve been driven by trying to come up with at least one out of three options: 1) A solid rock guitar riff, 2) a nicely harmonic and poppy melody line, and 3) a creative chord progression that’s never been done before but sounds natural. It’s not until recent years that I’ve started paying attention to things like lyrics, rhythms, vocal phrasing, creating spaces and overall atmosphere of a song.

It’s been rewarding to hear the great and very specific feedback people have given us after our shows. Everyone experiences music differently and it’s almost impossible to predict which combinations of all those song elements will work at one time. However, what is certain, is that once the elements ‘click’, the song will work. And it matters when performing too. If the singer connects with the lyrics and the rhythm, and the lyrics and rhythm connect with the melodies and atmosphere, everyone will perform better and the listeners will experience the magic.

The songs of ours that seem to connect the best are quite different and it’s almost impossible for me to say why they work, but in all of them the lyrics actually matter and I’ve spent a lot of time on them. In some more on the message, in some more on the rhythm and phrasing, and in some more on the rhymes and melodies. None of them have the most innovative chord progression ever written nor are the melodies on Brian Wilson’s harmonic level, but these songs seem to be ones where the different parts and dimensions click well together. Fascinating stuff.

Oh, before I forget, our album is progressing. I have finished my guitars and am halfway with the lead vocals. Working with Hiili is obviously a massive pleasure and privilege. This guy knows his stuff and has no problems with sharing his knowledge and principles. I’ve learnt a lot about recording with him, from slightly de-tuning the E-string for barre chord playing to how/when to record double/triple vocal tracks, and a bunch of other practical things. But I think Hiili’s secret is how he makes everyone comfortable in being themselves and doing their best, and knowing exactly when to push harder and when to ease a little. He is a facilitator par excellence.

Next week more guitars and vocals, and then we start approaching the mixing phase. One scary part of recording is how shitty the first tracks sound without being mixed properly. I can’t wait to hear what magic Hiili is able to sprinkle on our tracks.

Be well. Be healthy. Be kind. Be true to yourself. Be curious.

Lasse / Flush

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