Bowie's Approach

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Bowie's Approach

Post by awjoe »

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Re: Bowie's Approach

Post by Arpangel »

awjoe wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 7:32 amhttps://youtu.be/cNbnef_eXBM

About a minute.

I’ve seen that, and I watch a lot of videos like this, they are all very well, but I feel the people making them, always top draw professionals, like Bowie, they aren’t really speaking to someone like me, they are speaking to "their" peer group, people on their level.
It’s a different mind set, that I can’t get my head around, they don’t already have the baggage that a musician like me may have, insecurities, doubts, they are already secure, in the knowledge that they can actually do the business, they already have a certain degree of success, that I don’t have, therefore I can’t really engage properly with these videos.
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Re: Bowie's Approach

Post by awjoe »

I understand and agree with everything he says in that minute. I don't have to be as good as him to understand and agree with what he says. 'Do what comes from inside. Take risks.' It's not a rarified atmosphere, it's just good sense.
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Re: Bowie's Approach

Post by OneWorld »

awjoe wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 7:32 amhttps://youtu.be/cNbnef_eXBM

About a minute.

Erm.....what's he saying that's different from what most of us know already anyway?
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Re: Bowie's Approach

Post by OneWorld »

OneWorld wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 1:32 pm
awjoe wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 7:32 amhttps://youtu.be/cNbnef_eXBM

About a minute.

Erm.....what's he saying that's different from what most of us know already anyway?

Just been listening to an interview with Paul McCartney and has been asked about recording these days, with all the technology so freely available, computers etc. Sir Paul says whilst there are great advantages he says you end up with 100's of fragments, but you never get to finishing anything, and even when you return to one of these fragments with the intention of completing the tune, you don't seem able to capture the initial enthusiasm for it.

He went on to say that back in the day, you didn't have the technology and so you had to finish the song, that day.' He gave an example of a recording session whereby you had sort of knocked a tune together, but it wasn't quite there, they, (the Beatles and no doubt other musicians back in the day) were informed the producer was booked to arrive in say 2 hours time and so they had to finish the song. They didn't perceive this as pressure, but simply working to a timetable, turn up, get the job done and then go out to play.

Sir Paul was asked another question about their particular brand of music and he said, "We didn't have the technology there is these days, we couldn't write music and so we had to write memorable tunes, otherwise by the following day they would have forgotten the tune, so they wrote memorable catchy tunes"

If only it were that easy! The interview, which is with Jarvis Cocker, is at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gxdrjRqcZQ

I always find these sorts of interviews, a musician talking about music, very revealing and most enjoyable because a lot of what they say we (I think I speak for others) we can directly relate to. EG "What is the blo*dy chord he's playing" etc

Most encouraging was when asked "How do you write a successful song?" and he said "I just noodle about on the guitar, and whatever the tune, I stick with it, sometimes the second verse/chorus excels, comes out better than the first verse, then you see potential and work at it"

Doesn't always work for me though, it (the song) often gets worse as it goes along :-)
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Re: Bowie's Approach

Post by awjoe »

OneWorld wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 1:32 pm
awjoe wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 7:32 amhttps://youtu.be/cNbnef_eXBM

About a minute.

Erm.....what's he saying that's different from what most of us know already anyway?

I don't know what most of us know already, but when I consider the vast amount of forgettably derivative stuff I hear, then the only conclusion I can draw is that most people who write music don't know what Bowie's talking about, or maybe it's that they know it but they don't care because they're lazy or getting applause for what they're doing already.

I suppose I did know it before I heard him say it, although it's only recently that the second thing he said has really landed in me - maybe I'm a bit like a believer in church - I've heard the message before, but I enjoy a refresh once in a awhile.
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Re: Bowie's Approach

Post by Folderol »

OneWorld wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 2:36 pm If only it were that easy! The interview, which is with Jarvis Cocker, is at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gxdrjRqcZQ

I always find these sorts of interviews, a musician talking about music, very revealing and most enjoyable because a lot of what they say we (I think I speak for others) we can directly relate to. EG "What is the blo*dy chord he's playing" etc

Most encouraging was when asked "How do you write a successful song?" and he said "I just noodle about on the guitar, and whatever the tune, I stick with it, sometimes the second verse/chorus excels, comes out better than the first verse, then you see potential and work at it"

Doesn't always work for me though, it (the song) often gets worse as it goes along :-)

Thanks for this. Thoroughly enjoyed it :thumbup:
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Re: Bowie's Approach

Post by Drew Stephenson »

I think there's a big difference between those who write for themselves (whether they're big as Bowie or small as me) and those who write professionally to order.
Have a look at the writing credits for the top 40 singles and you'll see huge numbers of tracks that have lots of writing credits, sometimes into double figures. Or maybe there's a name in there that actually represents a group of writers.
There's a lot of manufactured music out there (whether that's a good thing or not is a separate discussion) and when you're in manufacturing you have have templates and construction patterns and parts re-use and all these other labour- and time-saving devices.
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Re: Bowie's Approach

Post by Folderol »

I think there was a very good point quite early in the interview.
"If you can't remember a song, how do you expect the listener to?"
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Re: Bowie's Approach

Post by OneWorld »

Folderol wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 5:11 pm I think there was a very good point quite early in the interview.
"If you can't remember a song, how do you expect the listener to?"

Yes, that is the maxim I have always used. Thing is, I have concluded one of two things -

1. I have a very bad memory or

2. I don't write anything memorable,

either way, it isn't looking good.

And furthermore, come to think about it, I heard an interview with Ed Sheeran and what he thought contributed to his song writing success and he said, "Back in the day, I committed to writing one song a day, and concluded, given the profligate approach, it's possible I would one day write a good song" he said the main thing was, getting into the habit of getting something actually finished, similar thing as Dolly Parton once said "I have written something like 2000 tunes, just one of them made me a millionaire and I can't even sing it (the song from the Bodyguard) a few others did well too, the other 2000 odd, well I was working up to a good one" LOL
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Re: Bowie's Approach

Post by awjoe »

blinddrew wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 4:43 pmThere's a lot of manufactured music out there (whether that's a good thing or not is a separate discussion)...

It's not a good thing (even though it makes me look good by comparison). There. That's that discussion sorted!

blinddrew wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 4:43 pm...and when you're in manufacturing you have have templates and construction patterns and parts re-use and all these other labour- and time-saving devices.

IOW, the opposite of what Bowie's talking about. 'Don't play to the gallery.'
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Re: Bowie's Approach

Post by Drew Stephenson »

awjoe wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 9:35 pm
blinddrew wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 4:43 pm...and when you're in manufacturing you have have templates and construction patterns and parts re-use and all these other labour- and time-saving devices.

IOW, the opposite of what Bowie's talking about. 'Don't play to the gallery.'

Exactly. Unless you're a professional song-writer who's paid by the session and has to churn stuff out that will be immediately digestible and instantly en vogue.
In which case you don't bite the hand that feeds/pays you and you produce whatever you're required to do.
The difference, I guess, between being a craftsman and an artist.
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