Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Art of Collaboration



To collaborate or not to collaborate, that is not a question easily answered.

Sydney, Australia 2nd June 2008 - Having been a musician and songwriter for, ahem...quite a few years, collaboration was not something that I was particularly familiar with, and not something I would have explored in the normal course of events. Having written tunes with band members in the past, I can still recall the bombastic and egotistical nature of some, when it came down to writing a few lines. Guess I may have been included in that group also.

And what was all the fuss about ? Generally about nothing. The long winded arguments as to wether a single word should be included, a phrase added or deleted, or wether the song was cool enough to proceed with. The thing about cool, is that there are quite a few meanings depending on the eyes of the viewer. When one set of eyes is permanently glazed over, another is as wide open like saucers, and another may have been as red as a fire engine, musical accomplishments take on a whole new meaning. Generally, meaning that anything which played back the next day actually made sense, it was accomplishment beyond belief. Sure, it sounded great at the time, but a few hours of sleep and a little sobriety shines a new light on the last piece of so called random musical brilliance.
Not gigging out anymore, I thought I'd give this collaboration thing a shot . Hey, what's there to loose. A little time and a few frustrations. All in all, it's been a 50/50 success, in that 2 songs have worked out well, and the other 2, well.....let's just say, sometimes it's better to call it a day and move on to other things. If there's anything to be learned, it's probably the following..............


*Song writing, like life, has it's frustrations. If you're not willing to compromise, then it's best to write alone

*Pick partners who are easy to work with. Difficult people don't possess any better musical attributes than those who are easy going.

*Set an agenda and stick to it. Like business, people appreciate work delivered in the agreed time frame

*Set a format which is easy to use and technically compatible to both parties

*Most of all, don't treat it too seriously, life is too short, and music is a luxury, not a necessity. Have fun along the journey.

So, I think I might give it a try again. The worst that can happen is that I might biff the odd beer at the monitor, and swear a lot to no one who is listening. And the best thing is, of course, that the eyes may be any colour, and in any state, as the delete button can always be pressed way before the latest piece of botched brilliance is thrust upon the unsuspecting ears of the co-writer.

Write on !

A free mp3 download of one of the more successfull collaborations, with Mr Colab himself, Mr Robert Pickens, is available by clicking the picture on the right. "Someone's Got a Better Hand" , a funky soul retro tune featuring the smokey vocals of Robert Pickens, is a song of realisation against a background of everyday life. Written over a period of about a month, it demonstrates that 2 halves are sometimes much greater than the whole.

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