Long story: Studying BTEC Music – the time came when we were given the composition assignment. I had a couple of options – instrumental (basically writing music for a Toy Story scene), a Fantasia (based on an existing popular melody), or a write a song for a group, with the starting point of “letters”. Initially, I started working on both the instrumental and pop-song ideas – with a whole bunch of melodies and chord progressions to work from. But, as I was handed the opportunity, I prepared myself to wander into world of singer-songwriter. I figured it would be a little easier to stay focussed. And it was.
After I had worked out the main chord sequences, I sat down with a metronome and started recording. The biggest challenge I faced was recording in the school environment, which meant my guitar had to compete with noisy classrooms… And this is why it took me about a month to record the whole thing. I did take after take, re-recording if I wasn’t happy with my own playing, only to be disturbed by the class in the next room.
The whole composition after about the 2 minute mark is based around an improv on the chord sequence, done in one continuous take. Next up was the acoustic guitar melody and harmony, then vocals, then drums…eventually trailing off into the experimental once I added the effects-drenched electric guitar track… my parents preferred the song without this. Because I’m really stupid, I wrote the lyrics AFTER the music, and with whatever sprung to my mind – getting as close to the Letters theme as I could, although I changed the direction, a little..(poetic license…ish). It’s worth pointing this out, because the vocals are what I consider the weakest aspect of the song.
Overall, the song was one giant mash of influences and ideas – sprawling wwaaay beyond the expected duration of 3 mins.
I wanted to get as close to a studio recording as possible with sound quality, but deliberately left in little glitches, hums and knocks to make the recording sound as warm and close as possible (I also recorded everything with the one microphone for the same reason, with the exception of the electric guitar track).
To hear the track, click here!