So last night was an interesting night of practice.
First off, everyone but Alina was totally late. Sorry Alina, that sucks, and I’m promising not to leave you out standing out there like that again. Gotta get you some keys to the studio.
Second, we totally missed Trace. Not sure if he made it in early, then took off when no one else showed up. If that’s the case, Trace, again my apologies.
Alina and I took some time to put the studio back together post-show. We talked about how to organize the band as a legal entity–I have high hopes for this band, and my gut feeling is to do it right from the start. However, there are some concerns over involving the government in our business, so I think for now we’re going to draft a band agreement, and go from there. We also pulled out her book o’lyrics and started discussing working on a new song.
Elvis made it in, and we continued the conversation about what we’re doing, and how we should do it. Recording, song development process, etc. Things got a big heated between us; a bit of miscommunication that got resolved, but not before Elvis got a bit aggravated with me. All I can say is thank god for transformation, the ability to discern what happened and what we make it mean, and our commitment to each other’s happiness, growth and development. And, throughout, Elvis had a cigarette out that he had been planning on smoking. So I can say that we were also contributing to the health of his lungs by aggravating him with conversation.
However, while we were in the midst of said conversation, I was noodling on the guitar (which aggravated Elvis further, I’m sure–I saw him give my fingers and the guitar an evil look a few times). I started noticing that what I was noodling was pretty cool (maybe that’s what Elvis was eyeing?)
Anyway, once we were done with our conversation, Elvis headed out to smoke, and I called Alina’s attention to what my fingers were doing. She popped open her book, and started humming along with me out of one of the pieces she wrote.
Within minutes we had a fantastic melody. Elvis walked in, quickly picked up a guitar, and started working with us. He had us rework a bridge we were working on, and the three of us continued collaborating.
Hours passed like minutes, with this beautiful melody and song emerging. Two verses and a bridge, a really cool guitar verse as an intro. But a chorus was still missing. Alina had lyrics, but we were getting exhausted listening to the same chord changes.
Alina said she thought there should be a dramatic change. Elvis concurred. I sat staring at the neck of the guitar. I was finishing the verses we had just written with an odd major seven chord–it worked, well!, but was definitely a step out of the scale we were working in. I started fumbling trying to figure out something that would work. Alina was humming, Elvis was trying to stop me as I hit notes that registered with him. This wasn’t working. A song should flow, and generally whatever sounds natural is what should be written. (As long as it isn’t just another repetition of the same old stuff).
We paused and talked for a bit. Did Alina have something pre-written for this chorus?
“No, actually, these lyrics were supposed to be used with another band, and there was a melody written for it. I don’t even want to hum it for you, as that music belonged to that band.”
Hmm. OK, back to the drawing board. Or sound board, in this case. I started working through a couple ideas that I had had while we were in the midst of our conversation that so far hadn’t worked with the rest of the song. Lo and behold, transposing a few chord changes up a couple steps did the trick.
“Will… that’s awesome!” Elvis shouts. To Alina: “Where does he come up with these chords?!” Elvis had me fine tune my timing and a the progression of the changes. What emerged gave me goose bumps. Not quite lyric friendly yet, but I had confidence we were on the right track.
With another half hour of work, Alina had a melody that worked over an alteration of the timing of the chord changes. I had the original timing of the changes that Elvis had composed down to use as an instrumental break. We played through the entire song. Giddy, I pulled out my iPhone and we took a rough recording of it in the voice memo.
Wow. It’s called “Please Don’t Say.” Once again I am stunned. Where does this stuff come from? Every time we create a new song I am struck by the wonder of the creation. I get concerned that this is it, this is the last of them. How could we ever create anything that will top that? And then BAM here’s another!
I have that rough copy of Please Don’t Say from the iPhone. Interested in hearing it? Comment here and let us know!