Monday. So elated today!!! I wrote two new songs for Karen. They happened pretty much on the spot. The musicians came today and I had to make sure to have them play all the parts I had in mind. They’re so good that they immediately understand what I want. Anyway, it was just about writing a song. The structure is simple so the interesting part is to bring the textures and layers.
It’s always amusing to see how from a hint or an idea, a song becomes ‘real’ when it’s played.
It started with Larry, the drummer. He was there for the morning. We had four songs to record. I told him we would do the songs form scratch. No melody, no chord. I could only give him the structure of the songs and tap the rhythm patterns I wanted him to play. I sent Karen to do her warm ups and work on the new songs in the piano room. It would have been disorienting to hear just the drum parts.
Everything went so smoothly. With skilled and efficient musicians, all you have to worry about is shaping up your vision.
Kraig and Bob, the guitar and bass players joined in the afternoon. It took them no more than a minute to catch the spirit of the songs. I would play the piano and Wurlitzer along with them. Of the two new songs, one is a fast number currently called Beyond the Blur, has distinctive Brit-pop flavour to it, something between Bloc Party and New Order. I had no clue whether Karen would like it. I had to do it that way. There was this insistent hook I couldn’t get out of my mind. I thought it was too corny. When I played it to Kraig and Bob, they rejoiced as if they had heard the gospel. They (pretended) to practice it over and over to get it right, but I guess they just enjoyed playing it. "I think I want to replay this line one octave higher" he would say after one take. Then "I think this would sound even better if I played it with this different sound…"
Watching them, I didn’t see two mature men, but two passionate teenagers who were just the happiest to be making music together.
When Karen heard the new songs, she was beaming. I don’t know how well she’ll handle the Beyond the Blur song. But she loved it. I’m almost jealous I didn’t write that for myself!
I have asked Jon whether he’d be willing to work with me on my second album. The thought has been staying with me since my first time in Chicago. Now it’s obvious. We work really well together and share the same intuition about music. Above all, I can joke with him. I feel a strong mutual trust now, which is vital to me. It took some time. There was some resistance from his part when we first worked together, which was understandable. Suddenly there was this bloke from Paris who came and started brushing off all that had been done previously. Even if that was necessary, there was one thing he understood: to me music is not a question of ego. I may have an inner vision I want to translate in sounds; I may be demanding and very dry sometimes, but it’s always for the music.
Jon is really happy I asked him. Working with Steven, Larry, Kraig and Bob will be hoot! I don’t know how this can happen, but this is what I have in mind now, and by some magic or extraordinary coordination of circumstances, it will happen.
|Bob, the bass player|