Songwriting patchwork

There’s not just one way of writing songs and as time flies you discover new ways. For quite a while now I’ve been using my smart phone for capturing new ideas. Sometimes even a whole song with piano or guitar. Just so we can listen again later.

The latest is to import these clips directly into Cubase and (when needed cut them up to fit the beat were it decided afterwards). This way you get a draft to improve gradually. And you can work on the song wherever you are. Below is the draft vocals for the bridge on our new project.

Song – I See You Now

Our new song is finally finished and released (today!). We hope you’ll like it!

It’s a cosy and meditative song with Indian influences (mainly the drums), creative guitars, soft vocals and a rock inspired bridge (just because we couldn’t resist the urge… Especially when we came up with the melody, lyrics and the guitar for it).

As some of you will remember we wrote the song in front of the camera and you can watch the process on youtube:

I-See-You-Now_cover2wTitle: I See You Now
Genre: Pop/Rock
Lyrics: I See You Now
Available On:  Spotify, Rhapsody, iTunes, CdBaby
Released: 7/6 2014


The master of I See You Now

We decided to have the new song professionally mastered by Digitalfabriken. The master arrived a couple of days ago and we spent the evening listening and comparing.

Things we like about the master:

  • How the distance between vocals and guitar vanished
  • Well of course, the volume
  • For some reason we always manage to mix with too much base, that was nicely leveled out, but without loosing the drums or the base.

Julen står för dörren

Vi har i flera år pratat om att spela in några julsånger men liksom inte kommit till skott av olika anledningar. (Ja, förutom “Nu tändas tusen juleljus” med kattkörer… Men det var ju mest på ploj förstås).

Att istället sätta sig framför kameran och spela lite akustiskt kändes därför som ett roligt alternativ.

Då var det bara det där med att gräva fram några roliga sånger, vilket är lättare sagt än gjort. Många finns det förstås. Traditionella. Nya. Religiösa. På engelska och på svenska.

Jag tycker att det är jättesvårt att hitta meningsfulla texter. Om det inte är “det är jul. Jag saknar dig” så är det psalmlikt. Vi ville hitta något mer visaktigt utan att det blir för tungt och mörkt.

Jag hoppas att ni gillar våra val!

Och till slut kunde jag inte låta bli att läsa på lite om jul och folkskrock och plitade ihop en egen…

10 years ago City of Rain saw the light

City of Rain was like a handshake, where we started our musical journey, our cooperation and our hopes and dreams. The world seemed a bright place full of opportunities. Nothing too hard to accomplish, nothing too impossible to do – but when looking back I realize I had no idea what I really wanted to do. I was very young and had the impression I had to make my mark on the world. I thought I had to be different, to walk my own path and preferably a path never walked before, by anyone. I think this is a rather usual perspective for a twenty-year-old and it is a part of life.

I recently came across a quote (it was by all means about typography, but I think it should apply to many things):

Don’t try to be original, just try to be good.

Of course we tried to be good while doing “City of Rain” and all the other tracks on Waterlilies with the limited experience and resources we had. We visited a local studio to mix that first song and the sound engineer said: “Oh, it seems you know what you’re doing”. I’m still very proud of that accomplishment. We’ve come a long way since then and we’ve learnt tons!

Going back to the quote I think it’s so easy to set the objectives too high. Sometimes aiming for the tree tops makes more sense than going for the stars, because climbing up the tree is quite doable, while building a staircase to the stars is not something I can really see myself doing in reality and the risk is that intimidated I don’t do anything instead. And, not to forget, if you aim for the stars and “only” reach the tree tops you will be disappointed – I know I would – so aim for something that can actually give you the pleasure of reaching your objective.

“City of Rain” is something of a lyrical installation. I’d say a staging of an emotional state. So on one hand it is a quite sad and thoughtful song and on the other hand, to me, it is a song that came about in complete innocence where anything was possible – and just recording the song on our own kind of proved that. We were young adults just trying out our wings. This was 10 years ago, in 2003. I can hardly believe it’s been 10 years already, but there it is!

Naturally 10 years of our musical collaboration must be celebrated! Therefore we have some fun exiting projects coming up this year. It will be of both musical and visual character so keep your eyes on the site 🙂

Title: City of Rain
Lyrics: City of Rain

Genre: Pop
Release: spring 2003
Available On: iTunes

And here I give you “City of Rain” for a start:

A song writing Saturday afternoon

And so it happened that Nicko spent part of Friday evening and Saturday noon trying out a new melody on the guitar and I suddenly said: “I’m in a philosophical mood.” What better to do than to compose a new song in such cases? Some buns, a cup of tea and coffee later we were hard at it.

The guitar melody had a slightly sad or melancholic touch and we decided the song would be about cherish another person, not necessarily a love song, but a very caring and appreciating song. I thought about the greeting phrase in James Cameron’s Avatar “I see you” and we both felt that could be something. Like finally seeing another person and realizing how much you appreciate this person. The song became “I See You Now” and I’ve added the full lyrics to lyrisk.amdstudio.se

This is highly unusual though to find us side by side composing and writing lyrics together. One nice rare occasion for all to enjoy so to allow all of you to join us we decided to leave the camera on. Here is one clip from when we started out and one clip of the result so far. Of course it will take a while longer to actually produce a ready track, but that’s a different story altogether!

Song – Dreams

Title: Dreams
Lyrics: Dreams

Genre: Rock
Release: 19/12 2012
Available On: cdbaby, iTunes, Rhapsody, Spotify

It’s been a while since the last song was released but now it’s time for a new one. When I first started to write “Dreams” it all came to me natural and fast. Anneli thinks this is the best song I’ve written so far, but…

A good song needs good lyrics

So after a bit of mashing our favourite lines together, here it is!

What’s new from the technological point of view regarding this song is that we’ve made a few tests with live streaming of the mixing process. In the future we might do some scheduled events.

#1 – Pieces of Darkness Are Pieces of Gold

Title: Pieces of Darkness Are Pieces of Gold
Lyrics: Pieces of Darkness
Genre: Ambient pop/rock
Release: 8/1 2012
Buy: CDbaby, iTunes, eMusic

My songs usually belong to a sad category – not pressing, not tearful – just a thoughtful sadness. I suppose I like sad. “It’s happy for deep people.” (Sally Sparrow from Doctor Who, third season, the Blink episode). Don’t know about deep necessarily, but it’s happy for thoughtful people.
Sometimes (or quite often, actually) I envy people who can make happy music. The kind of music that makes you want to throw your cloth and shoes and dance through your flat stark naked. Anyway, I don’t make music like that.

It’s like sad music speaks to me. I just know how it’s going to be before I do it (pouting base, melancholic piano, weeping angel choirs – life doesn’t get better than that…) I know what it feels like. So, I guess I’ll never make happy music, unless it’s sad music pretending to be happy or happy music pretending to be sad which doesn’t really make it happy in the first place…

Then came “Pieces of Darkness” which nails it down completely. No thought or song has ever come out clearer, for me anyway. “Pieces of Darkness are Pieces of Gold” or as the Doctor Who team puts it “It’s happy for deep people”. But my “Pieces of Darkness” evolved long before I heard that phrase (I just couldn’t help smiling when I heard their version). It’s one of those songs I’ve played 150 times or more before facing the studio. And it’s one of those times it sort of grew and exceeded my expectations.

Pictures from Grövelsjön where we recorded the dripping water.

I took a brake from the song for a couple of years and it’s not until now that Nicko and I finally added his vocals, the electric guitar and some “real” drums. The “old” drums are quite fun if you care to examine them. In the background is the dripping from the ceiling in a Lapp cot from Dalarna (Grövelsjön to be exact, don’t have the coordinates though, downer if you expected that kind of exactness). On top of the dripping I’ve recorded a bracelet, finger cymbals, claves, a triangle and some vocal s and sh sounds. A whole new audience appeared – turns out my cats love the drums (I secretly suspect the s and sh sounds). They come running as soon as I play it. I also went to see a girlfriend and her cats seemed almost as interested. I must from now on keep in mind to satisfy my cat audience too – who would have thought it?

Låt #10 – When I Wish I Wish

Då var ännu en låt klar. Det är märkligt med en del låtar. Ibland komponerar man och sedan gruvar man sig i närmare ett år innan man kommer så långt som att spela in dem. Den här gången gick det allt som allt på tre veckor. Faktum är att jag varken hade satt melodin eller texten helt till verserna när vi började arrangera. “When I Wish I Wish” är nog det rockigaste jag har åstadkommit hittills och med alla körerna på refrängerna ger den mig en härlig känsla av storslagenhet och något lite äventyrligt episkt.

När jag krafsade ihop texten till refrängen satt jag och grubblade på vad jag skulle önska mig om jag nu fick en chans. Det finns oändliga exempel i både litteratur och film på mindre lyckade önskningar och konsekvenserna (Faust, Aladdin, Charmed…), så frågan är om man verkligen skulle önska något alls? Det är kanske bättre att göra något åt det själv? Jag hör till den där kategorin människor som har lite svårt att njuta av saker om jag inte har slitit för dem. Trots att själva tidsspannet för att komponera och spela in (för att inte tala om ångest inför inspelning) inte varade så länge så kommer här ändå ett resultat av det senaste slitet. Hoppas att du också hittar något härligt storslaget och äventyrligt episkt att associera den med!

Låtnamn: When I Wish I Wish
Text: When I Wish I Wish
Genre: Rock
Release: 10/12 2011
I butik: Cd Baby, iTunes