I am creating and documenting a songwriting process for six ideas that I want to produce into an EP, or some other musical project that incorporates the songs I will make.
I have been developing these ideas for the past four years, with very limited musical knowledge but a huge network of musicians, composers, and producers who have been willing to collaborate with me. The theme of this music project will be to explore "amalgamations" and "paradoxes" through sound, genre, and perspective. My goal is to compose a basic framework to the melodic ideas and paint a soundscape that will help me find the right producer to work with to finish the project in 2019.
Perhaps another outcome of sharing my process would be to crowdfund financial support to pursue this project within a predetermined timeline. In order to launch that campaign, it is important that I am transparent about how the funding is used. My intention is to hire collaborators (instrumentalists, producers, and engineers) who can produce and share results within the project timeframe. The larger purpose of following this method is to support DIY music culture and empower people to explore, learn, and produce their own ideas within a
"creative sharing economy."
The tools I will be using will accommodate my frenetic lifestyle in New York City, as a community organizer, digital media graduate student, and social entrepreneurship consultant. The biggest obstacle I have identified is not having access to properly equipped studio space or extended periods of time to focus without interruption. I am working on problem solving around this through time-management practices, meditation practices, and simplifying my tools and process. For this phase of the project, I will use the "Korg Gadget" app on my iPad to compose the core parts of the song. Although, I have been working on learning how to use Ableton Live 9, for the past few years, I will arrange the parts using Garageband for two reasons. The first is that I have Garageband on my laptop, iPhone and iPad, whereas I have Ableton only on my desktop in Harlem. This means I can establish more continuity in working on my songs on Garageband, as I travel around the city for work. The other reason is that I have found that the majority of my collaborators do not use Ableton. Perhaps my process will involve Ableton at some later point (specifically around recording and mixing my vocals on my own to achieve the sound I am envisioning...or en"hearing").
Every two weeks I will share my "song skeleton" along with my process. The process will generally follow this methodology:
1. Determine the general "feel" for the song by creating an inspiration playlist.
2. Identify the chords of the song. Improve familiarity with chord progressions in different genres or specific songs
3. Write the "scenes" for each part of the song using the Korg Gadget app. Export the "loops" to Dropbox and organize project files for digital sharing with potential collaborators.
4. Arrange the scenes in Garageband (or Ableton)
5. Record the basic vocal idea.
6. Time permitting, add critical sound embellishments to clarify the sense of 'amalgamation' or 'paradox' in the song and help communicate this to prospective producers/engineers. This might include working with live musicians such as Cellists or Guitarists.
7. Export tracks to Dropbox and hard drive for sharing with collaborators.
8. Refine lyrics and develop creative vocal harmonies that can be recorded for the final project.