View profile

The Creative Process, Explained

The Village Explainer
The Creative Process, Explained
By Dan McGarry • Issue #44 • View online
The Village Explainer is a semi-regular newsletter containing analysis and insight focusing on under-reported aspects of Pacific societies, politics and economics.

A little change of pace today. We’re going to break down how a song gets written.
If you’re looking for chin-stroking analysis of current socio-economic trends, maybe let this one go by. But if you’ve got a few MB to burn, why not follow a Creator through the act of Creation?
First comes the realisation: You gotta write a song. It’s like an itch that won’t go away. The page just sits there, staring back at you.
Then in the shower the words start to come. It ain’t much, but there’s definitely something there. So you sit down with a click track and rough out the chorus.
It’s… not quite what you imagined.
But it ain’t nothing. And you’ve got faith in your ability as a Creator to pull this shit off.
So okay, maybe a drum line, just to keep moving.
Ooooooookay. Hm.
No, hang on, just have faith. Let’s get a bass line roughed out and see what we’ve got.
See? See!? It’s… well… it’s not nothing. You know there’s something there. And you’re a Creator, so Create, dammit.
Just knock ‘em together, get a few verses written and figure out where the joints are. It’ll be righteous. You’ll see.
Alright, so it’s a bit generic. You know you gotta keep it relatable. And there’s miles to go yet. Don’t sweat it. Just Keep Creating.
Grab your Strat. Get a hook onto the thing and you’ll see. With a bit of straight ahead guitar, you know it’s gonna groove.
Well. That’s a bit… er… predictable. Maybe some piano instead? Yeah, you know, make it all sensitive and shit.
Oh. Oh god. No.
hang on
maybe a synth, tho
… hm.
Okay, clearly the problem here is that you’ve got the wrong perspective on it. Try to humanise it a bit. Make it particular. And stop making it about yourself.
See? There you go!
Now it’s starting to sound like an actual song. Just refine it a bit.
Lay down a few more instruments and track some vocals, and then we can get to mixing.
Dude. You are In The Zone. It’s got feel. It’s got space. It tells a story. Just needs a bit of polish. Make it Specific.
… hm
I see where you’re going with this.
It’s a bit… er… pretty. You know what I mean? Maybe a few less ribbons and bows? I mean, Art is the stuff you can’t cut isn’t it?
And remember, you gotta make it matter.
I mean: YES, you know? It’s… wow. It’s What It Is.
And is it ever… er… What It Is.
Now let’s just sand down a few of those edges. It doesn’t have to be all grit, right? And besides, this is Pop. Let’s keep it simple.
Maybe try a bit more compression?
maybe a teeeeensy bit less.
OK. I can see that. It’s got a feel. I mean, yeah man, why not?
OK. Uh, let’s try a few plugins. Polish it up a bit.
Or not.
I mean, it’s not a rule that we have to use them, or anything.
I definitely see where you’re going. I just, er…
I just want you to try making it a bit simpler. I mean all the best songs are really just a couple of instruments and a voice, right?
Let’s do that.
You bloody marvel, you.
Damn dude.
You. Wrote. A. Song.
I never doubted you for a second. You are The One.
I’d have to be your Mum to be any prouder.
Alright. I think… we are done.
Time to upload it and let the magic happen….
Now let’s find you on Spotify.
No, that’s okay. There’s a lot of talent in this world, but you still have more than your fair share of it.
Maybe you should write something else? You’re getting so good at this, your next one is gonna shake the world.
For sure.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Dan McGarry

The Village Explainer is a semi-regular newsletter containing analysis and insight focusing on under-reported aspects of Pacific societies, politics and economics.

In order to unsubscribe, click here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue
Dan McGarry - Port Vila, Vanuatu