A creative day of collaborations today and a happy realisation that as the clocks have changed everywhere, I can now speak to Arktik Lake Tony in Sydney at midday instead of 10 AM. I wonder if the proverb “the early bird catches the worm” is true of writing songs. I have advised people who have writer’s block to wear something they wouldn’t usually wear to inspire an odd feeling that might shake them out of the creative doldrums, another idea might be to write a song before breakfast. Creative writing is a slippery beast, on one hand sticking to the formula is the answer, familiar surroundings might do the trick, on the other hand, a complete change of scenery might be better served. Whichever you choose, the muse can be elusive or sit right there on your lap.
The fact is, trying everything and not giving up is always a good policy. When it comes to sport, that famous Australian that no one in Australia has ever heard of, Neil Robertson, used the never give up system in the snooker final today, losing 4-9 to John Higgins and winning 10-9. Today Tony and I worked on a new song potentially for the Arktik Lake album and came up with a result between us that we liked. Tony had something of a catchy chord sequence and backing track but it took some digging to catch the melody. The mystery of melodies and where they reside is a fascinating subject. How is it possible that there are so many melodies not mined? At some point in the future, you will hear a melody that you haven’t heard before in a song that you like. Are melodies really infinite?
A later sesh with Space Summit Jed in Minneapolis had me get a feeling for my 12-string Seagull and write an already catchy chord sequence for Jed to add his own melodic magic. Different guitars inspire different ideas. Different sounds, different feels, different tangents. It’s interesting how many bass players there are out there that are the writers. Some of them play rudimentary guitar but their main instrument is the bass and that gives a unique perspective. I love playing the bass and play all the bass on the Space Summit – Life This Way album. I played bass on a few songs in the past too, it gives a different angle to songwriting and then there’s playing with or without a pick? A big red hollow-bodied bass or a heavy solid wood bass with active electronics would have you write two different types of song.
One of the reasons to write every day is because you must. What is more satisfying than filling a blank canvas, turning nothing into something. Philosophically, nothing is also something but all that means is anything is possible from one extreme to the other, what a broad scope of possibilities, how inviting. John Cage anyone? Painting, writing, playing, banging on a box, I wonder how many great ideas out there are lost because a person didn’t bother to create them, didn’t think they could or just got too busy with something else. One of the most satisfying elements of the sessions is to find truly talented people that do create but struggle with finding an outlet for their ideas. I’m not exactly Chris Blackwell but completing a body of work is simply valuable for the soul. Fascinating facts: Chris Blackwell turned down the opportunity to sign Elton John because he considered him too shy to be a successful performer.
Music today has been one of the classic John Martyn albums from the early seventies, Solid Air (1973).
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