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 Hi, a friend of Tony’s on Facebook asked a very interesting thing, how do we “write” a song. The answer is so long, Tony thought it was best to put it up here in case any one wanted a bedtime story!

     I guess every songwriter has “there” way of doing it, ours nearly always starts with guitar chords. I will just play chords, sometimes I find two/four/six cords that I like, as well as a rhythm that makes it sound interesting. I can happily play these chords for months on end before somehow I put another “bit” to it. This can be another “batch” of cords, or I have learnt a new chord and that works with it. At this point the two bits are sort of spliced together. I happily play this for a few months, it just sounds “nice” to me. Eventually I get tired of the same bits and try to fit in a “bridge” This is where I use some of the existing chords but play them with a different rhythm and in a different order. Once I find something I like I then try to marry everything together into a full song. You will notice that as yet I have never mentioned lyrics,or the vocal melody, that is because I don’t have one!

      I then record the song, add drums/bass/keyboards/anything else I need. It is only at this point that I put down a melody line for Una. I use a piano sound and as I know Una’s vocal range I make sure it sits fine for Una. During this stage I get a few ideas about what the lyrics may be about. This is where it all gets a bit “mythical” I guess the songs give me a “feel” like Bucannons War, The song felt “angry” and slightly “gothic/haunting” I guess I carry lots of “thoughts” in my head and the lyrics are a mish mash of ideas put together. Take Bucannons War, I had thoughts on landlords overcharging tenants, Knowledge of the Scottish land grabs done where people were moved to the coasts so that the landlords could keep the best land and make more money, I lived near Nottingham so knew a lot about Robin Hood, Scotland is fighting to get it’s own independence from the UK. Add all that together and the story comes out quite quickly.

      I do try to make the story’s a little more “interesting” but I don’t always win on that one (think Bad Bad Boy) When Una comes to sing the songs things do change, a line here, a few notes changed there. We spend a lot of time trying to get the right “feel” into Una’s vocal, probably the toughest part of the songwriting process, if Una gets it wrong the song dies a death.  Again when this is done I may then add more “bits” that I think will make it sound “better”.

     So that is it, in a nutshell most of the songs come from “somewhere” and the lyrics come from  “Ideas” in my head. Mostly “mythical” is my best guess, and you know what, I don’t want to analyze it any more! The best way of describing it is I see a river, on a nice day i jump in the river and go for a swim. I know where the river is, I know on a good day it will be there for me if I wish to go swimming. That is how I see songs, all there, I just have to go for a swim occasionally!

I hope this makes some sense of it all, but in an odd sort of way I am also happy if it still seems strange, I like Strange, it’s what makes the world go round and stops it getting boring.