Background… for years I’ve been in a creative funk (and not the good kind like George Clinton made). I had a lot of stuff taking up my free time, and when I had time to myself I was usually too tired/stressed to do anything creative. So I played guitar here and there, but nothing much came of that effort. When I would try to sit down and write/record a song, I usually got 1/4 of the way through and gave up out of frustration.
I was hoping as I reduced sources of stress in my life, the creative block would crumble like the pink ooze shell on the museum in Ghostbusters 2. Not a chance. So I looked for outside help. I got this book… it’s called “The Frustrated Songwriter’s Handbook.” It’s 1/3 propaganda, 1/3 nonsense, 1/3 nuggets of great advice. Thankfully, I’m pretty good at extracting the useful portion and bypassing the rest. The general theory revolves around the immersive music technique. Their primary gimmick is a “20 song game” where you take a full day and dedicate it to nothing but music, with the goal being writing 20 new songs. It’s about quantity, not quality. You’re supposed to start completely from scratch (none of those ideas you’ve been working on forever) and just hammer out as many songs as possible, regardless of length, quality, style, etc.
So I half-ass tried it today. I couldn’t dedicate anywhere near a full day to the process, but I was so eager to give it a shot that I broke the rules. I spent maybe 4 hours and ended up with 7 “songs.” I’m happy with the results. Stuff flowed out quickly, I spent almost zero time with overdubs/retakes and although I wouldn’t present any one song as a quality representation of my musical abilities; I do have a lot of new ideas to expand on in the future.
I’m hoping to do this again within a month. I’m in the middle of some work on my favorite guitar, so part of my hinderance was a bit of awkward playing. The guitar I used was a super flat radius, and the one I’m working on is much rounder, which I prefer. I also did not properly prep a workspace for myself. My desk was a mess, so I moved to the bedroom. I wasn’t comfortable there, so I took a break and cleaned my desk and moved back there. Silly anecdote, but it really ate up a lot of time and broke the creative flow for a bit. Alas, that just helps me better prepare for next time. If I don’t have a full day to dedicate again, I’ll at least shoot for like 5-6 hours and try to get 15 songs. Very eager for that day to come.
Anyway – the results are posted on my facebook artist page for anyone to listen. When I do these sessions, I’ll name the songs in the “#-#” format. “1-3” would be session 1, song 3.
Another note, part of the “rules” of the process are when you start an idea, finish no matter what. So like song #2 for example, I started with a beat and a real simple bass line and wanted to do something very electronic. It wasn’t going anywhere and I was unhappy. Rather than either spending hours on it or trashing the song, I ruined it with guitar noise. But the point is, it’s still finished. Same with Song #3, different results. However, since I finished the song, I A) accomplished something and B) Have material to go back to. So maybe with song #3, even though it’s terrible as-is, I have something I can go back to and say “hey, the guitar part on the chorus could work for something else…” I really like that whole concept.