Monday, April 13, 2009

It Comes In Waves

January and February were good months for song writing. I wrote about twenty songs during that time. At one point I wrote and recorded one song each day for a week, which is a lot for me since I am generally not a very prolific writer. I'm often paranoid about losing song ideas, and because of my paranoia I have yet to completely finish a writing journal. I get about halfway through one and then I have to store it somewhere safe for fear of losing it. I think my fear stems from the reality that my inspiration comes in waves. Sometimes my life is filled with songs, and then other times it is painfully empty and devoid of inspiration. During the empty times everything I write seems cliche and I tend to wonder if the good songs will ever come back. I tend to doubt my ability to write anything substantial. This is the ultimate ego-shrinker.

For The Classic Crime's first record, Albatross, we wrote fourteen songs and kept twelve. For our acoustic EP we wrote and kept seven songs. For our last full length, The Silver Cord, we wrote fifteen tracks and put all fifteen tracks on the record. For many bands and producers, the idea of showing up to record an album with such a limited amount of material is ludicrous, but thats just the way we do things.

When inspiration hit in January, I felt like we could do things differently. I was writing daily and coming up with some fresh and exciting ideas. I had visions of writing forty-plus songs, and then picking the best songs of that bunch to record for our next release. I rode the wave until it crashed, as it always does. 

Through March and April I think I've written a total of five songs, two of which are full on acoustic, and one of which I can't even get motivated to record a demo for. I find myself sitting in front of my MacBook, which is sitting in front of my Digi002 console, which is sitting between my studio monitors, and I'm surfing Craigslist or Facebook or Twitter doing God-knows-what-else-is-meaningless. All the audio hardware stays off, just like my brain.

With any luck this lull is just the "wave" sucking itself out back to sea to form another breaker. I was blessed with one albums-worth of material out of the last wave, all of which sounds very cohesive and different. If I could get four complete waves, all sounding somewhat different, I think we could have a very interesting record ahead of us.

I'm just standing on the beach, waiting for the next wave to break. 

Meanwhile I'll sift through a few songs that the other guys have come up with and see if we can't build a nice sand-castle out of them.


  1. hey i just wanted to say thanks for blogging. i love your music, and it is cool to read about the struggles and successes that come with making that music. your honesty is encouraging.

  2. Wow, 20 songs! I guess it does come in waves. Do any of the other guys help write songs or what?

  3. This post makes me very relieved.
    I'm so glad this happens to professionals, because it's exactly what happens to me as a teenage songwriter....

  4. frick yeah, we can't wait to hear more magic from ya'll.

  5. i can understand the frustration of when the silent wave crashes. maybe you just need to get out :) haha away from distractions. I find i am more at peace and in tune with what i need to say when i'm in the position to not say anything!

  6. I would say the same for this as I do for why pain and suffering can be good... if we were joyful and everything was bliss all the time, we wouldn't appreciate it because it's the norm. We can't know joy without knowing pain. So, if your inspiration didn't come in waves and you were inspired all the time, wouldn't you take it for granted and not appreciate it for what it is?

  7. But of course, when you do have those waves and moments of inspiration, it is really good that you take it all down. The best things come from when its completely natural and when it just 'comes' to you. I'd consider it as a blessing, being able to have creativity and inspiration in waves, can't have it all the time now can we? what benefit is there in that!

    Keep it real bud! cheers

  8. wow, this is so... [for a lack of a better word] incredibly inspiring. (see i get waves too, but my biggest one so far has been 5 songs in one month. lol.)

    so, as lena said, i'm glad this happens to professionals too... it gives hope :) october and november were good music-writing months for me... it gets frustrating, though, when the music gets so... spaced out, so thin, that you feel like it's never going to come back.

    i love that you say you've been BLESSED with an album-worth's material out of the last wave. because that's really how it is... just keep riding the wayes :D


  9. So just continue to stand on the beach, with the Son in your face and wait for the next wave! Meanwhile have fun making those sand-castles!