Tonight I've been playing the keyboard in my flat. This is where a lot of the Temposhark song ideas come from... when I write alone this is how I do it - really simple, me and a piano. I prefer real pianos but this keyboard is perfect for my London flat as it's not as noisy, I can just put on headphones and disappear... I love it.
Some songs from my last album, like Not That Big, Winter's Coming and It's Better To Have Loved, were written in the middle of the night on this keyboard... at 4am when I'd wake up from my sleep and suddenly need to write! This time round, I've written LOADS of song sketches, verses and choruses, and then taken these to Sean's studio and we've co-written completed songs out of those initial sketches.
It's proved a really fun way to work, but I also really love writing directly over Sean's backing tracks, where he creates a music track - drums, synths or other sounds - which I will then sing over, it's instant, whatever comes into my head. It's good to have different starting points for songs, as these different methods provide different kinds of songs, keeping it interesting.
I get inspired by so many different things. There's never one set way that I'll write a song. Sometimes it's something someone will have said to me, that can give me a song title or a strong lyric... at other times, I'll read a book or be reading about an artist I love, and a phrase will spark off a whole thought process.
A keyboard, earlier.Othertimes I sit in my lounge, play the piano, and a whole song appears out of nowhere... usually sparked off by an extreme emotional feeling - like if I'm furious with someone it'll all pour out into the song... or if I'm feeling super loved-up, it's the same thing...
I used to stress a lot if I was finding it hard to write a new song, if I felt like a creative block had hit, but I've learnt over the years (I've been writing songs since I was 13) that you just have to relax, and not to beat yourself up too much! The moment I chill out is always when something really great happens...
Sean and I both keep a lyric book too - where we'll jot down lyric ideas, as and when they come to us. As a songwriter, well for us anyway, this is something that becomes part of your everyday life. If I forget to take my book out with me, I usually end up making notes (or even singing into the recorder/answer phone) on my mobile phone - last week I got to grips with the Note Pad on my new iPhone, just in time before I forgot an idea!
I think it's important to write songs as much as I can... I like being productive... and in fact I'm at my most happy when being creative. I may not even realise that it's happening, but if I go for a few weeks without writing, I get into a bad mood! So it's something I need, something I can't live without.
Bottles by Julie Verhoeven.
These awesome bottles were made by my dear friend, the artist and illustrator Julie Verhoeven, and sit right next to my piano and often provide inspiration as they remind me of Julie's world... she's magical and inspiring. I love her! I took these off a table she had decorated at Maureen Paley Gallery's dinner last year at Claridges - it was a very posh night, and when I was leaving I asked Maureen if it was OK to take some souveniers, and she said YES!! :)
As I know I'm not going to get much time off until late December, I decided to go into central London this afternoon and walked around for a good 5 hours! I was exhausted by the end of it as I was speed walking, which is a bad habit of mine that my friends will all confirm - I tend to annoy most people walking with me! I'm like 'People I'm walking!' and off I go... ;)
I went to the INCREDIBLE National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, filled with Saturday tourists, I really enjoyed the Love exhibition currently showing. It has one of Tracey's embroidered works in it, and a wicked work by Grayson Perry, a small ceramic sculpture of a rabbit. The whole show was great, and the best bit is it's free to get in, so if you live in London, visit it before Sunday 5th Oct when it close (next Sunday).
I then walked through a sunny Green Park, by Buckingham Palace... I'd never actually walked there before and enjoyed seeing the ponds, really pretty. I arrived after about 40 mins at Tate Britain and saw the new Francis Bacon exhibition. GO SEE IT! Really fascinating. The only thing that annoyed me was that all the paintings were in big frames, behind glass, and I would've enjoyed it much more if they'd been out of the frames... but what a LEGEND!
Funnily enough, Metronomy (who remixed our Temposhark song Not That Big), was doing a live gig at Tate Britain while I was there today, so that was cool too! It reminded me of when we did our own live gig there a while back, nice memories! I'll try and set something up for when our next album comes out, as I love playing in unusual venues!
Anyways, after window shopping for a while, and walking LOTS more, I popped into White Cube and the Royal Academy in Green Park, then I came home and started writing...
Right well that's enough for now, I'll be back at Sean's tomorrow so speak then...