The Alibis

Jam Pieces

I adore the song writing process.

That buzz of running through a couple of routine chords, deciding to try something different, something arbitrary and potentially…awful.

Eyes will flit across the room. “Is he going to try something? No. Should I? I could? Maybe a…NO! Not yet…”

It’s exhilarating.

Then you go for it, and your move falls off a cliff. Quickly readjust to what you were doing before. Offer wry smiles to the room. “Sorry guys…”

BOOM. You get it. Soft nods and eyebrow twitches. Ball hits net, stroke races to boundary, pass connects with teammate…we’re in business.

Adding layers of depth is a process that will relentlessly bring your current influences to the fore – the subconsciously remembered is the key to catchy.

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So a finger pick here – hot damn that’s channeling the new Warpaint record I’ve been listening to – a lick of reverb there – hello Echo and the Bunnymen – with a dollop of distortion ladled on top (must give Mogwai’s ‘Rave Tapes’ a rest – but not yet).

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Writing. A rabbit hole fall through the barely recalled influences of recent weeks. Magical.

It also makes me want to tear my hair out.

For a start, getting an move wrong or out of step is a chastening moment. “Where’s the chemistry?” you’re suddenly, irrationally thinking. “Oh lord I’m out of step with everyone. Look at them judging. Judging me, with their eyes and their ears…”

It makes for a sometime fraught dynamic. Whizz through some old songs and make a couple of mistakes and you’ll get hit with no more than a shrug.

On the knife edge between a good song writing idea and a terrible one frays human relationships. Pressure, pressure, pressure…must…do…well…NOW.

Which is of course all a distortion of the mind, pressed into an all-too-seldom-found prefecture called “creativity”, it panics.

A gym session for head and soul? That’s my idea of ‘Detox January’.

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