Thursday, April 23, 2015

TAG YOU'RE "IT"...Writing songs over the internet!

With technology comes all kinds of possibilities for songwriters. Writing songs "long distance" is now much more of a reality than ever before and there are several ways to do that. Personally, nothing beats sitting in the same room and bouncing ideas off each other. Having the instruments there, the mojo, the coffee etc :) That is the best case scenario for me. But...that being said the internet has opened up a whole new world for songwriters. I have written several tunes over SKYPE with some extremely talented writers like Becky Buller, Tony Rackley, Dave Adkins, and more...and for all it's faults, works fairly well. It is the closest thing to being in the same room and writing.  I'd like to share another experience

My friend, and wonderful songwriter, Gary Ferguson, and I had tried to "write" for years. We talked about it many times...well we have now finished two songs. Gary and I decided to do more of "tag your 'it'" method. Using a combination of email and iphones/iPad scratch recordings we batted things back and forth over time. I was thinking that the "analog" version of this was a situation years ago in the early 70's when I was in the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. My roommate was a guy named Gary Ellis. He was a "chess master". He played chess with players all over the world via post cards. He would have several games going at once. The post cards had a chess board on with the pics of the pieces. Each day several post cards of games would arrive and on each game one single "move" was made. Gary would study the "board", make his move and mail the post card  back to the opponent on the next day. The game would continue this way until "checkmate"! This way he could play with 'great' players all over the world :) 

Mail chess seems pretty archaic now but the idea can be translated to what Gary and I did with our songs. I started the first volley with an "idea" and a few possible lines of a verse or chorus and then emailed it to Gary....he in turn added/changed etc his ideas and emailed it back to me. In the same vein I then sang a tentative melody into my iPad app (iRecorder...a great musical scratchpad btw) and email the mp4 to Gary. He then would tweak the melody and add more ideas. Back and forth like a tennis match each of us adding ideas along the way. We did talk over the cell phone on a couple occasions to clarify but really over a period of time we were able to finish, IMHO, two pretty stout songs :)

Sometimes the emails would go back and forth several times in a couple hours and sometimes we'd chew on things for a day or so...but the song kept moving forward just like my buddy's chess games through the mail. Anyway...this is just another option for writers to foster long distance writing relationships :) I know many folks that just don't care to write with SKYPE. If you don't like video conferencing maybe this might be the option for you :)

My advice is to try various ways to write long distance...give it a shot!!! The benefits of writing with some great writers far outweighs the "quirks" in any of the systems that you might use. So get with a songwriter and say "let's write....tag your 'it'!!"  

And remember:  write more....whine less!!!

Write on!


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