This is such a blindingly obvious thing for songwriters to do that it’s almost not worth writing about…
…except that I’ve spoken to too many writers who don’t do this, that I figure it needs recounting:
Here’s a scenario, tell me if it sounds familiar:
You come up with an exceptionally awesome new idea for a song. Perhaps it’s a riff, a chord sequence, a chorus; whatever.
The point is, it sounds awesome to you and you can’t stop playing it over and over again with a big grin on your face.
Have you been there?
Then you get distracted. Perhaps the phone goes, your partner comes and asks you about the washing up or somehow, inexplicably, you find yourself on Facebook.
Either way, you allow yourself to go and do something else, safe in the knowledge that you’ll never, ever, forget such an awesome song part – you couldn’t, it’s just too good, right?
And then you come back to play it again…
Except you can’t.
You can’t remember it.
You kind of have an idea of how it should go.
But you’re not sure if it’s quite the same.
The groove and timing don’t feel right.
Perhaps it wasn’t the exact same melody as last time.
And you get that sinking feeling as you realise; you’ve just forgotten an awesome idea.
Ever happened to you?
If you’re like pretty much every other writer out there, it’s happened at some point or other.
So today’s post is a little plea:
Please record every idea you have, immediately
Not later. Not after you’ve made it better. After you’ve nailed it. After you’ve had a cup of tea or sent a Tweet.
Capture the nuances, the feeling, the vibe, the groove.
Capture the pure creativity of it, before you censor it with re-writes, improvements or let it get clouded by distractions.
Always record all your ideas straight away.
I can’t stress it enough!
Don’t worry about reaching for a microphone, or going to your DAW; grab your phone and use a voice recorder app.
If you don’t have one, get one.
If your phone can’t download a voice recorder app, get a new phone! (and join us in this millennium it’s fun!)
Then, once you’ve recorded the original idea on your phone, then you can improve on it, and keep recording new versions.
It’s likely you’re idea will morph and change as you play around with it.
But sometimes it’s really useful to have the original idea to refer back to, once you finish “improving” the idea; there might be some of the original magic that you missed.
If you don’t have it recorded, you’ll never remember it quite right.
It’s such an obvious idea that I almost didn’t write this post.
But then I’ve spoken to too many musicians and songwriters who aren’t recording everything that I thought it was worth taking you all on a trip up Mount Obvious.
So, yeah, record your ideas, constantly, as you write them.
Get it all down.
Get it all there for future reference.
You’ll be surprised how often you’ll find gems that you’d completely forgotten about.
And who knows where they’ll take you?