So…with the ‘new years resolution’ of recording a CD this year, I drove all the way across the state to meet up with an accomplished writer. We had the legal stuff worked out a couple days in advance over the phone. We met up this morning around 9:00 am, reviewed the licensing agreements and the split sheets, then got to work. He sent me a few really nice ideas over dropbox ahead of time. I had bits and pieces of motivic melody lines and riffs I’d wanted to build into songs, but had given up on because I’m hopeless when it comes to lyric writing. We were actually able to hash out really good starts on about six or seven tracks.
I’d never worked like this before. And I don’t think I’ve ever tried writing with a lyrics guy quite this quick. I was pretty impressed with how fast he was able to grasp a concept, match it to one of my musical textures, and spit out something that just sounded damn good. It really helped bring the best out of the word-music relationship. It was neat to watch someone write lines of lyrics and brainstorm ideas the same way I develop productions in Maschine or Ableton Live. Except using a pen and piece of staff paper as his DAW. Also noted how organized and methodical but also creative and expressive his poetry was. He spent a lot of time trying to pinpoint the focus and message of the music, hone in on the main points, then it was like writing the actual lyrics was an afterthought.
I learned a lot today and hopefully came out with some great material to sell off. Best thing was I showed up with a Yamaha portable keyboard (with built in speakers) and an acoustic guitar. That was it. And we sat in a bedroom and recorded stuff with our cellphones. lol…gotta love it. We’ll be refining and tweaking stuff over the next few weeks, and hopefully I’ll be headed to a studio soon to start tracking. Look forward to sharing stuff here when I get the copyright taken care of.
It’s a tried and true method; Gilbert and Sullivan, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, etc. Two specialists and a good working relationship. Good luck with the songs and CD! Of course we’ll be interested to hear your progress along the way. You might consider starting a thread in Indie Spotlight to track progress on the project. Goals, challenges, lessons learned, suggestions and advice, etc.
I was in some Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and it was fascinating to learn how they constructed their songs. They were crazy and weird as hell, but of course tremendously successful with their creations. They broke lots of musical “rules” too, so the sky is the limit. Of course your stuff may be something completely different.
In “Pirates of Penzance” I was a Policeman (i.e. Keystone Cops). A singing policeman. This is one of my favorites. Whew!
In any instance there has to be a degree of mutual trust to even sit down in a room together. But I’ve noticed through experience, the ownership details of the material compound exponentially, with increased interested from agents and publishers. I wasn’t just looking to use the stuff for my own project. The two of us had certain publishing outlets in mind for quite some time. Basically, by the time we figure out how to get the material somewhere, the need to secure and protect the intellectual property becomes somewhat urgent. You can’t chunk off pieces equity for a song you can’t prove that you own.
If we were just sitting down and writing for the fun of it, we probably wouldn’t have bothered. Or figured it out later.