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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Developing New Material

This has been a year of tremendous growth for Run Boy Run. The most fun part of this has been developing new material. As we prepare to go into the studio to record our first full-length album, we have spent a good bit of time on new material.

Let me take you through the process of developing a new song for Run Boy Run. The very first thing we need is the source material. We like to perform traditional, cover, and original material. The sources for cover material are pretty obvious. Traditional material is a bit more fun to find. The best way to get traditional material is to learn it from playing with others. Matt seems to always have another tune from a jam every time we get together. Other than jams, we get ideas from recordings we listen to – Spotify is a great tool here. Of course, thanks to the amazing work of Alan Lomax, we have access to awesome things like this video:

While traditional and cover material is great, my favorite thing to work on with the band is original material. We are blessed to have every member of the band writing new material and sharing it with the rest of us. Now, each of us has our own very distinct approach to songwriting, so I can’t speak to that much. The most interesting part happens when we bring it to the band.

When we bring any new song to the band – traditional, original, or cover – we start by sharing it with the rest of the group. Sometimes we share it in person, and sometimes we send around a quick and dirty recording of the song. We play through the new song together a couple of times to get familiar with the general progression, stopping to make sure we all have the changes and melody correct along the way. During this time, we do some individual experimentation. Once we’ve all gotten comfortable with the tune, we start to tear it apart and put it back together.

We try to abide by the above motto when we’re arranging. Every song gets some crazy ideas thrown at it; some are thrown away, some are kept in a more subtle fashion, and some are made even crazier. I find it fascinating to think back on some of our songs the way we play them when we first get them. At some point in all the experiments, we hit a moment where things just click. I think you can tell when we are about done because we all want to play it again, just because we like it so much.

There is one factor in all of our work putting together the tunes we play that I feel is more important than any other: trust. We trust each other, and we do what we can to make sure we honor that trust in one another. This trust allows us to take risks, to listen critically, and to speak freely. Because we trust each other, we can play with freedom, and produce something we can all be proud of. A creation is always precious to the creator, so being able to put your creation into the hands of people you trust is a magnificent thing.

1 comment:

  1. I have never seen this put more convincingly or more eloquently. I suspect that this is the credo of most successful and enduring Bands!
    "There is one factor in all of our work putting together the tunes we play that I feel is more important than any other: trust. We trust each other, and we do what we can to make sure we honor that trust in one another. This trust allows us to take risks, to listen critically, and to speak freely. Because we trust each other, we can play with freedom, and produce something we can all be proud of. A creation is always precious to the creator, so being able to put your creation into the hands of people you trust is a magnificent thing."

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