Songwriting UK — Winter 2017

(Axel Boer) #1



“That’s funny. I think I started with the
most difficult thing, but then I’m also still
finding difficult things. Maybe I should
write a rebuttal to that theory.”
Mark Twain said, ‘eat a live frog first
thing in the morning and nothing worse
will happen to you the rest of the day.’”

There’s always a more difficult thing!
“Yeah, that’s the point!”

Do you find the time to write when
you’re on tour?
“I try to. I’ve been playing some new
songs on the US tour that I just got off and
then went directly into this one. So, I’m
gradually doing it but I’m also definitely
looking forward to sitting down and
getting reaquainted with the way that I
write music, which is not in a van, and
having time to let it marinate.”

What’s the process that you go
through with writing: do you have
a set way of going about things, or
do you do it in a different way each
“I think that it varies. I only just released
my first record this year. So I think
that with time, with growth, and with
changing, that there’s so much room for
growth that I can go through. So nothing is
a hard yes and nothing is a hard no.
“Right now I am writing very little
because I am always in a van and am
starting to get acclimated to writing in a
van, and the kind of music that you can
write in a van is very specific.
“So I think that it’s kind of an adjustment
period. I know for next year that I need to
have time off and I am a person that’s really
into nesting, and self care. I think that once
I start to feel shaky that it’s time for me to

sit down.”

How did you write Minneapolis?
“That’s actually the funniest story. I was
writing a lot of songs in my bedroom and
the songs on the record are ones that were
conceived in my bedroom late at night.
And that kind of didn’t start to show until
I started to rearrange them, until I added
drums and a cool bassline.
“Minneapolis is one of the few songs that
I didn’t write in my bedroom, I wrote it in
my practice studio with amps going and a
very defined tone. So those things didn’t
come after, like all the other songs.”

In what way did that influence the
sound of the song?
“I’m really particular about tone, and
volume, and effects, right down to my live
band. Like my live bassist, before she got
hired she had a very specific tone. And I
think that one of the perks that I have of
knowing all of the instrument, of having
played all of them, is that I know exactly
what I want. That’s another reason that
I hired musicians rather than being in a
band, because I just already know how I
want it to sound.
“So Minneapolis is the one song where,
there’s this incredibly skilled bass player
in New York and she played bass on this
track, and I don’t let anyone touch my
songs! But it just gravitated so much and
even the scary guitar line where it stops
and then counts to six.
“The setting just made it a different song.
Like I had access to a different room and I
could be really loud and experiment, and do
all of this stuff and Minneapolis came out.
“Usually in New York I don’t have access
to a room where I can be really loud and
wail on drums. So you write the song and

“I just did it in the

most stubborn way

that I could which

was teach yourself

everything and then

it’s yours!”

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