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April 6th, 2016

Nick on Songwriting

There is nothing closer to the core of my being than songwriting.  It is my belief that art allows a person to reach into the deepest recesses of their consciousness and explore the things that spoken language doesn't allow us to express.  My art form is song craft.  While there is something deeply satisfying and uplifting about sharing my songs with people in live performance, I am truly in my element when I am in the studio attempting to create a sonic landscape and story out of nothing.

I don't believe that there can or should be a formula to writing songs.  Every song has a different process, as does every little thing about the song.  Sometimes a piece of a song like a melody or a sound will randomly pop into my head, and I do my best to recreate it in reality.  Other times, I sit down and try to fish around with a guitar, piano, sample loop, or synth program to find a melody and thematic vision that accompany each other nicely.

The dichotomy that exists in my head about songwriting is the ethereal and the cerebral.  The ethereal is side is for the ideas that come seemingly out of nowhere.  Usually right as I'm laying down to go to sleep, I can hear new ideas swimming around my head.  If I'm not too tired I will go over to the computer to start a new demo and try to recreate what I was hearing, but if I am too tired I will just grab my phone and record the melody with a couple notes so I can do my best to flesh it out the next day.  The cerebral side of songwriting comes into play when I need to "flesh it out" the next day.  After the initial inspiration hits, and the core of what I had heard is already recorded, I need to use the sensibilities that I have learned through years of writing and listening to music to take the song where it needs to go, logically and emotionally.

After I have a solid base of something, or I have hit a brick wall creatively, I'll begin to collaborate with my band mates.. And they do the same with their projects.  It may be a bit of an unorthodox way to work but it seems to have worked so far.  Recently we have been talking about being more collaborative in the earlier stages which is something I am excited to try, since it's very new to me.  I don't think there is ever a right or wrong way that a song can come to be, the end always justifies the means when it comes to songwriting.  The process of writing one song could be completely different than the process of the next, and that's not only okay, but it seems healthy to me.

Just about every time I write a good song, and don't write another one for a couple weeks, I feel like I won't ever be able to write one again.. But soon after that feeling, another one tends to come fairly soon after.  I feel lucky that I haven't had longer stretches of time that I was incapable of writing in, because it is quite depressing, but writer's block is an unavoidable nuisance in everyone's career, at one point or another.  Now that we have signed this recording deal and we have been meeting with people that I never truly believed we would meet, it's all very overwhelming; but the greatest feeling of all is to know that the band's process of songwriting is what was able to get us into the room, and it feels so validating.

I have no idea what comes next but I'm sure it will be nothing short of a whirlwind.

Nick Louis

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