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Writing with someone else


Stranglehold

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my band's lead singer and I (I'm the bass player) usually write all our songs together, and even when we don't we usually change a lot of parts in each others' songs. basically one of us will have written a small part of the song on our own (i.e. a rhythm guitar part or lyrics for a first verse), then collaborate and expand upon that part until we've written a whole song. she usually focusses more on the lyrics while I focus more on the arrangement. after that we bring the song to our drummer and he plays a bunch of drum beats until we find one that fits best.

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I collaborate with musician buddies, Lead Singer, Guitar, Drummer, me on Bass & sometimes sing the slower stuff. (this is a fairly recent endeavor).

 

Someone comes up with an idea, we mess with it, each add our parts

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Before I joined the military, I would write the structure- the verse, chorus, bridge, etc and just play that for everybody- by the time the verse and chorus would be over, everybody would be on their respective instrument and playing- after playing the whole thing through, the singer would have lyrics written.

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I've written several songs/bits with a guitarist in my current band. He's developed a love for alternate chord voicings and phrasing and has really worked a lot with that. We usually jam one night without the whole band every two or three weeks, and while he sits and works out a progression, I start improv'ing lyrics (possibly even fueled by a drink or two). After an hour or so, it solidifies into a verse/chorus type progression with a couple verses. We hit the record button and capture what we got so far. If it's something that sticks in our heads, we'll each work out a few more parts/lyrics on our own and the next practice we hit it again, see how it's coming along. If we like it, we take it to the band and everyone finds their parts, we make changes, suggestions, try to add some interesting breaks or something. At least that's the idea, doesn't always work.

 

Recently he's taken more of an interest in lyrics so I'll show him where I don't like something and he'll make suggestions. One thing we do sometimes, I won't show him the lyrics and just let him listen to the playback. You don't always hear things right and we've changed a line or two in the past to what he thought I said- it was really better.

 

In general, writing with someone else is of course a give and take. This way works well for us and we each take the lead in one aspect. I may suggest a chord and he may suggest a line, but we tend to stick to our main parts more. There's not a lot of competition- I think that helps everyone be more creative.

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My situation is pretty complicated. My best friend, who's the guitar player, has a ton of original songs (at this point, they're really only a bunch of riffs), but he's in another band, who me (the bass player) and the drummer (the guitar players cousin) are really good friends with. We have to decide who is gonna get what of his original stuff. Once we do that, we gotta write lyrics, which is gonna suck. He's not bad at writing lyrics, but I'm terrible at it, cause I'm only 16, and I barely have any practice at it. Plus I don't have any life experience, which doesn't leave me with much to write about.

 

Anyway, the other night, we were trying to write some lyrics together and didn't come up with much. I was wondering what kind of setting you guys have had success writing lyrics with other people in.

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Howdy. Have any of you guys ever writen with a partner? If so, how did you go about doing it? What worked best for you?

 

I just can't do it. You don't know how many people locally ask me to play in their bands or help write for them. I just can't do it any more. I don't like playing out and I don't like writing with other people. I prefer to sit myself in my own little sacred space and lose myself in my music. I know there are a lot of me's and my's in that post but that's the way it is.;)

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I love co-writing. The key is to never question the other veto. Get to the point where you're both comfortable with stream of conscious babble. When something sticks is obvious. When you like your idea and they don't... move on.

 

The more open and free you both are with throwing everything out there the better. Two minds in free form brain spew mode is fun. You laugh at the stupid stuff but when it sticks... whoa.

 

The talking back and forth on an idea that's working just spirals it up and refines it in record time. But you've both got to get past being shy. Spit it out and move on if it doesn't click with your partner.

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I just started co-writing recently and really enjoy it. While my partner is much stronger musically than I and doesn't write lyric (but will tell me in a sentence or two what a piece of her music is about for her) she has no problem telling me when she thinks I am wandering off the path and soon to be thrashing blindly through the woods.

I complete much less crappy writing this way.

Mainly though it simply seems better and healthier to work with another than alone and it is way more fun, because I can be all [serious serious] and she will be all [WTF (laughs)].

We are just getting started and I have no idea how it will go but I do think two heads are better than one and my writing has never been so precious that it needs to be tamperproof. :)

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I get really cautious in my band because I feel like I bring most of the material to the table and I don't want to step on my bandmates' toes...I ussually have a riff, or a composition, maybe some ideas on other instrumentation, and I generally just play them for the guys a let 'em go...I don't make suggestions unless we seem to get stuck on a part or if I personally feel something doesn't sound good...My other guitar player is the kind of guy who needs inspiration, he's a great player and writes some great parts, but he doesn't seem to initiate a song or a riff very often. We don't like to classify each other as lead or rythym player, but I definitly initiate the base of our riffs....

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I have written with a partner once lol. Didn't go too well.

 

I think it's best to get it straight with them that the music is all that matters, ultimately, and it doesn't matter who writes what, and everybody (in a band) should feel free to contribute ideas that they think will improve the song, no matter who started writing it first.

 

However, it's hard to get to that kind of security in a band situation, or with a partner even, what with ownership of the songs and all.

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