Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sweat Boys - behind the scenes

Last night I experienced another moment in time that felt like a beginning.  A friend of mine has a band.  No surprise there.  The band is not easily pegged in the music industry, it's part 80's, part Dance/Trance, and I think I've said before it's like Depeche Mode and Judas Priest had a kid.  So on my birthday, the lead singer/writer for the band asks me if I wouldn't mind running some lyrics with him.  See, while normally he doesn't collaborate for songs, he wanted to write this sweeping love song lyric to go with this great dance music, and he just wasn't hearing his first hook.  You know, that point where you know it fits the song, and then the juices start to flow.  I reminded him that I'm not a song writer.  Novels, screenplays, poetry, that's more my scene.  And he wasn't concerned, just wanted to have someone he knew was creative that he could bounce ideas off of and see what happened.

I agreed to help and I'm so glad I did.  We discovered after three hours of writing and getting about 80% of the song finished, that we are good collaborators.  I was surprised that it went that quickly, and to tell the truth I think he was too.  He told me they don't normally come that quickly.  Once we discovered the main idea of the song, how the music felt to me, what I heard, and how he saw the characters in the song....well....the rest just seemed to come, like a mental tennis match.  I'd ask him questions about what this character feels, and he'd answer me, and we'd throw words around on a page that gave those feelings.  Checking the meter and flow, the literation.....the phrase 'How do we say this?" came up a lot.  As I looked around his home studio, full of keyboards, bass and guitars, stacks of blank cds, and all manner of high tech studio gadgets I'd never seen before (does it all on his computer), I couldn't help but smile.  I felt like a rock star.  We looked to some 80's icons for inspiration on words and images, and somewhere among all the thinking we found our repeater, two actually.  And changed them from a expected  pop repeater to a more progressive one, a more intelligent storyline, and the song gained a life.  It became more than a song, it became a mini story.  Connected to an earlier song by some well hidden lyrics, but ones we hope Sweat Boys fans will spot.  And maybe this idea off his, is why he wanted a writer of stories to collaborate.

I'm looking forward to seeing it live, and hearing it finished.  I think we might have finished it last night if we hadn't taken that last break to let it soak in, and if he hadn't started drinking wine.  While the grape makes me more free spirited it makes him sleepy.  As young as he is apparently he's getting old, by 9 or so he was ready to stop for the night.  I didn't mind.  I know you can't rush these things, and I know if he can't finish it without me he'll call.  But I'm betting he can now, unstuck and all.  You know I had a friend that said I was his muse, and maybe he was not too far off.  I like that idea, and I've embraced it in the past.  Maybe it would help me to embrace it again.  Maybe this is just what my self esteem and confidence level needed.  Maybe there will be future collaborations, and I can smile when I see them on youtube singing a song I helped write.  Something only the band, me and a few friends might know, well... and the liner notes.  I've demanded a "Thanks Jill" on the liner notes.  LOL
(here is a link to the Sweat Boys in the studio)

I'm off to Harry Potter again today, and then I hope to find someone to write with.  I feel very creative.

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