Voodoo Songwriting – An Exercise in Creativity in Songwriting

jon savage

I’ve been shooting a television show for the past few months about a spoof punk band – the project stars many interesting musical icons such as Daniel Bedingfleld and Fokofpolisiekar.

 

One of the interesting parts of the process was writing and producing all of the music for the imaginary characters and this imaginary band. Oddly, I found it much easier to get in to their heads and bash out dozens of songs, than it is to get in to my own head and write for some of my own projects.

 

However, I’ve noticed that this process has unlocked a wealth of new ideas for my own music.

 

With the spoof punk band, I can watch the episode that I’m working on, feel that we need to include a song in a particular part, and write that song in a matter of minutes or an hour.

 

I’ve found this a compelling and educational process and I highly recommend that if you are ever feeling a little low on songwriting inspiration, fabricate a character in a different era or genre and just write a few songs for that imaginary person. You could be a Buddy Holly character from the 50’s or music from a futuristic space-station radio, or how about a porno 80’s rock/metal band with big hair or a 70’s disco star. Be sure to give the character or band a name so that you can embody them while you are working.

 

Fokofpolieskar vs Stone Cold Jane Austen

Now I’m not saying you should dress up like them (although if you do, please send photos and I promise to post them), but you should really try to think like them. It’s just a fun exercise on the surface but there is a lot going on with you creatively and subconsciously.

 

I’ve spoken before about having specific parameters put on to your songwriting to enable you to write consistently, and this is an extension of that idea. Giving yourself a purpose to write (i.e. I’m an 80’s glam rock star), and giving yourself a specific box in which to complete a task – in this case to create a piece of music in another genre – are two powerful allies for any songwriter.

 

By spoofing a different genre you start unlocking some of your own songwriting creativity. And you also naturally begin to explore musical territory you might never do alone, by yourself, while writing an album.

 

It’s a powerful and strange piece of musical Voodoo, and an interesting experiment that I’d like to encourage anyone to try.

 

Please comment on the results in the comments box below! Would love to hear from you.

 

Until then, Happy Songwriting.

 

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One Response to “Voodoo Songwriting – An Exercise in Creativity in Songwriting”

  1. Rene C says:

    Hello Jon,

    It sounds to me that you discovered characterization, either by accident or curiositiy, but it is as complicated and interesting as plot is. Plot and characterization as story telling are an important (if not vital) part of writing a story. So yes you could write in many ways and I guess that’s the way some guys write songs for girls and they become a hit.

    Thanks for sharing your post.
    Rene C

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