Songwriting in Traffic
By Ed Gershon Singer/Songwriter for Chicago’s Butterfly In Traffic
As a songwriter, it’s always fascinating for me to learn about how a musician creates their music. What are their secrets? It’s really just a spiritual ordeal that is beyond me. Since I’m not formally educated in music, I don’t sit down and write theoretically. I rely heavily on repetition- which means recording constantly to archive ideas and complete songs.
In general, about 90% of the time, my songwriting process starts with me sitting down with a groove, a melody, and my acoustic. It’s also through jamming and exploring that the process begins. Sometimes I’m really lucky where I knock out the song right away, but most of the time- months are invested. I’ve found recently that a smart phone, specifically iPhone, is the perfect tool for the beginning of the songwriting process. The phone is able to handle vocals and an acoustic quite well when I don’t have the time to multitrack. A loop station is another great option, if you don’t have access to a home studio. Once the process is moving, the lyrics begin to develop for me. When the final song structure takes place I’ll multitrack the song, so I can share it with the band for feedback.
I’ll also throw the new material on my iPod to listen to it critically, and make adjustments if necessary. The band will come in and start adding their personal take on it, transitions may be added at that time. It’s at that point, that I really see the potential of the song. The best part is sharing it with the fans and seeing what happens the first night it hits the stage. I hope my experiences are helpful along this amazing journey that is music.
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