Musicians about their songwriting process in quarantine
COVID-19 put a lot of pressure on all of us and especially on the soft artistic souls of the industry. Symptoms are the same: creative misery accompanying a desire to roll into the blanket as befits a dead body. We asked musicians to share their personal stories on how they go through their songwriting process during quarantine and give you some wise advise. We know what you feel, that’s why we prepared this material and hope that it will push you to keep on rocking at home and not staying hopelessly broke.
Dima Midborn, RU
“My personal formula – enjoy whatever you love doing. I love playing bass guitar and writing songs. The word “play” is very important in this context. I try to perceive the whole experience as a game. And because of this I worked out a habit to play the bass and write songs at the same time. I started from 20 minutes per day. And then increased it to 2-3 hours on the average.
It is very hard to think about earning money with music at this time, but not everything is so hopeless! You can let everybody know that you are free, record stuff at home, share your experience with the others, etc. Try different methods of creative thinking would it be ‘six hats’ or free writing, your goal is to earn money on quarantine!
Do you have your family at home? You will have to overcome your congenital shyness and learn to perform in front of them. No other way. It’s your new reality. Share on your social media how you spend your time, organise a home photoshoot with your phone. Show people your life, they are interested! Don’t despair, just focus on yourself and find inspiration in changes. This is true: the world will never be the same again and only those who survive will adjust to changes quickly”.
Support Dima Midborn at his Patreon page.
Super Besse, BE
“Before Maxim moved to Berlin we wrote music and practiced as any other band – at the rehearsals. Our last album we wrote remotely and when all the songs were ready I travelled to Berlin and we rehearsed and recorded in the studio. Honestly, it was a peculiar experience to play the songs that were already recorded but we never played them in real life:) The Coronavirus situation has affected our plans as much as everybody’s in the industry: all of our new album release gigs got cancelled. We were deeply devastated – all the travel costs of the upcoming tour were zeroed. We compensated whatever we could but not everything. All the spring and summer gigs that we planned got cancelled too.
The hardest thing right now is to come up with some good content for the socials if you’re home 24/7 and not much is going on with your band. But even in these circumstances we found a way to release a new video: I recorded some footage on my phone, Maxim did the same with his, we edited it super fast and released the video in just one week. By the way, we released the same sort of DIY videos even before quarantine. In times like now it is important to try to look around your space closely and even with a minimum of equipment it is possible to create some cool content, sometimes it’s enough to turn a picture upside down”.
Support Super Besse by purchasing new vinyl at Bandcamp
Jackie Moontan, LX
“Usually I’d be sitting in the studio with Charles and work on the songs with him. The lockdown forced us to work together, separated. It takes a bit more time, but we manage. We’ll send ideas and directions back and forth via e-mail. The hardest part is not being able to take cigarette breaks together. I’m a social smoker. The main thing is to create, not to discriminate. Don’t be a fascist dictator with your own ideas and imprison them before they even have a chance to blossom. Write, see where it takes you. It’s like throwing spaghetti on a wall, some stick, other just flop to the ground.
Be kind, be patient. In time you will see results. Fear of missing out is a monster with thirty eyes and big sharp teeth, don’t let it scare you. Focus on what you want to create. Nobody wants to see you eat a bowl of cereal. It’s about truth of expression. If your job is to create content, then by all means, create some content, anything really. If your job is creation of expression, express yourself truthfully, it will give you more satisfaction than posting something just for the sake of it”.
“As all of the members of KAMP! are based in different cities so we got used to working online and rehearsing when we happen to get together. For us the hardest thing right now is to stick to our visions. It’s easy to just go wild with your ideas and thoughts as you’re alone, overthink stuff or create a false image of some projects. And when it comes to consulting it with your team it seems like everyone sees it differently. So actually talking is the hardest part and letting your ideas grow with your team not just in your head.
Try to keep in mind that it’s pandemic, and it’s ok to be anxious and it’s ok to be less productive. If you saved money for the darkest hour then just use it cause the darkest hour is here. This is liberating and can boost your creativity. Also it’s good to write music without expectations and tensions. You don’t need to write your next single, just these 8 bars of pure fun”.
Sasha Boole, UA
“Quarantine started a week before the beginning of my album release tour and gigs at the biggest rock festivals. I left the city and now turning myself from a full-time musician into an amateur-farmer and working hard on my physical shape. I joined a charity project, teaching people writing songs, to play banjo and harmonica. The money I get for the lessons go to the Ukrainian hospitals to help them fight coronavirus. Quarantine is a great opportunity to work on playing skills, try new instruments and improve your songwriting. I went through all my old drafts and demos and you know, – I made a couple of great songs out of them.
Life being on tour is much more intense but, you can also find tons of material you can share with your followers. Trust me, people who love your music are interested in things that make you as an artist. Tell them stories behind your songs, show the songwriting process or the books you like. For some who don’t play music – it’s pure magic. Simply communicate with fans. I increased my social media results for up to 25% from the moment pandemic has begun”.
Support Sasha Boole at his Patreon page.