Something that interests me is the writing process for fellow musicians. I’m especially fascinated by how vocalists form their ideas into a finished song. Because it interests me, I thought it might be cool for me to sort of layout my process for writing lyrics in Perfect People—my newest hardcore project. Over the course of, well, however long it takes, I’m going to outline and explain how I write songs. I hope people reading this find it insightful, but I might also be pretending I’m more important than I actually am. All jokes aside, I hope you enjoy my writing process.
Above is an image from one of my notebooks. When I begin writing a song, I have to warm up my brain a bit. Otherwise, I’m likely to write something awful that I am totally unhappy with. So a bit of a brainstorming is required before I can actually write any actual lyrics.
I usually begin writing what I’m feeling at the time. I have a lot of thoughts in my head, so this can be somewhat chaotic; a lot of times, I begin with one sentiment and end with another, totally opposite thought, but that’s okay. It’s all part of writing. What’s important, though, is that I’ve taken some time to organize and record my thoughts and feelings before the moment has passed. My lyrics can be inspired by anything and at any time. Sometimes, I’ll have a random thought cross my mind, and I’ll think it will make a good subject for a song, so I type it into the notes on my cell phone. Other times, I’ll just start completely cold and begin writing with no clear idea or theme in mind. This particular time, the song was inspired by something that has been bothering me lately—a simple belief that many people with whom I interact all seem to share that I don’t.
Because this phase is simple free writing and brainstorming, everything is cluttered, but I also have the freedom to say literally whatever I want. From this point, I can take out phrases, lines, sentences, and other devices such as alliteration, similes and metaphors, etc. that I’d like to use in the finished lyrics. Sometimes, the final song is only related to this phase in theme, and other times it’s merely a more organized and structured form of what I’ve written in the beginning paragraph(s).
Next entry, I’ll (hopefully) show you how what you see above starts to shape itself into a finished set of Perfect People lyrics.
(In case you can’t read it, I’m including the text from the notebook in quotes below. This will help to see how it all morphs from random, fleeting ideas into structured, rhythmic lyrics.)
“There’s no such thing as destiny, no such this as forever. I really wish you could hear how oblivious and stupid you sound when you claim that the simple, mundane occurrences that comprise your life are, ‘meant to be.’ The sad truth is, we’re all accidents—the unplanned birth from a broken cosmic condom, the bastards who slipped through the universe’s cracks. We’re the orphaned kids given away by our Father, forgotten and left to either die in the orphanage or be pawned off on someone who pities us. I’ve been waiting to be adopted my whole life. But no more waiting around for me.”