How I write a song...
Hi! It's Charluxx.
Today, I gave myself a challenge.
I decided to write a song in a few minutes... see what I could come up with.
Typically, I either wake up with a song—melody and/or lyrics—or it just comes to me randomly during the day.
Sometimes it comes to me as lyrics, oftentimes it comes as melody, half the time it is both.
So, today I came up with a song in literally 15 minutes. I started singing and within a few seconds I had the melody, it had evolved and then settled.
I seem to be that attuned these days. In all fairness, I do spend a few hours every day writing, playing, recording, mixing, and editing songs. So that has to be kept in mind.
Once I have a melody, I used a free App on my iPhone called BPM. That’s shorthand for Beats Per Minutes. It is simple and efficient. I just tap the screen to the beat as I sing my melody and it tells me the speed of the song.
Next, I go to Logic Pro, my DAW of choice. That’s a Digital Audio Workstation. Think of it as a recording studio in the computer. With this software—that is always on!—I start a new song by using a template that has 6 tracks, 1 each for drum, bass, guitar, keyboard, voice, and a “click track.” A click track is basically a metronome that keeps the beat.
I start by imputing the BPM that I got, then I start singing to the click track so that I’m on the beat. Not to brag at all here, but I’m naturally spot on, even without said click track. I just use it because it’s a beat and a beat is always groovy.
Once my voice with the melody and lyrics is on—as was the case today—I listen to it, and I start hearing a drum pattern, if it wasn't already in my head. As an aside, when I don’t have the lyrics, I just sing made up phrases (often happy accident happen and it becomes actual lyrics!)
So, I play the drum part (most of the time with an actual sampled drum kit, sometimes with an electronic drum kit) using my keyboard, it has an integrated drum pad. I use an AKAI MPK mini mkII keyboard (best keyboard ever!) You can read about my gear here.
Once the drum beat is down—it took 3 or 4 minutes today!—I listen again and I come up with a bassline in the proper key. I use a free companion App by Apple called Music Memos—is is absolutely brilliant—that tells me what key I’m in. I do have perfect pitch, but it does help! I pick up my bass and play the groove that I came up with in my head. Today I did it in one take. Sometimes it can take a dozen take to get it perfectly... same with the singing and guitar playing.
Then, I plug my guitar and again using the proper key—or a complimentary key—I experiment and find an interesting melody or a cool strum pattern. I then record that.
There it is.
Fifteen minutes later, I had my song. Verse and chorus. Full disclosure, I did not record the bridge... but I do have it in my head.
Next comes the editing. Playing with different “virtual” pedal boards that distort and shape the sound of the guitar and the bass to get “just the right sound.” After that comes the applying of different effects to give the voice more presence, to add depth to the instruments, to shape the song and bring it to what I hear inside. That takes the bulk of the time, for me about three to four days.
That's how I create songs.
I love the process. I’m always refining it, to make it more efficient, but mostly to allow for spontaneity and playfulness.
Music is my way life. I think musically. I write musically. I move musically.
Hope you enjoyed this little insight into my musical mind.
By the way, I will reveal today’s song in a few weeks. I can’t wait, it is simply stunning! I would do it sooner, but I’m putting the finishing touches on my album... that comes out on my birthday, August 21st, wink wink ;-)
Stay tune for way more!
Keep on grooving my friends.
Peace and Love,