Monday, 29 March 2010

How it's created: Let Go

* Apology in advance if this is lengthy and hard to read, I did try*

First of all, a bit about the time this song was written:
Just before I wrote this song, there was a big change in Cyclamen - Cyclamen became a band by Duncan and Olly joining Cyclamen. I had been working on Cyclamen on my own for a year and half doing everything myself - composing, performing, mixing, mastering, artwork etc. So this was a big change.

...Well, I say it's a big change, but why?
It's because this introduces subjective opinions that are not mine. And more often than not this means conflict - unproductive one. I was in a band for 9 years, and for a year and half after the band splitting up, I did not feel I was ready for this again. If you have been in a band you probably know how it feels, it is a pain, and it often brings you down big way.

But it's not all bad - having more member means more quality control. I'd like to think my quality control is pretty anal for anything Cyclamen produces, but some things slip, or somethings just aren't on my check list. Having someone else to look at it helps to spot these bits you've missed out yourself and it tightens screws for any leakage of awesomeness.

Other thing it does is that it introduces pressure to impress your bandmates. All I had to do until this stage was to come up with something I am happy with - And this is a bit of problem. If you are not strict to yourself you can easily say "F**k it, I can't be bothered anymore" and release the product. If you have bandmates to show it, you have to make sure you have worked hard enough to know that it's a good work that others can't criticise or laugh at. (It always makes us feel less confident when we hear negative comments about our creative ideas, so our fear makes us not to show junk ideas to our bandmates)

So, going back to the song: Let Go was the very first song I wrote after new members joined. And I felt pressure not to disappoint them - especially Olly, because we both were guitarists, and expectation from Cyclamen was always going to be high.

So I thought I'd write something that is melodic and technical - That should appeal to most guitarists. Olly and I didn't know each other's music taste very well, so it was always nice to start with something fairly neutral.

Another thing I decided about this song was to use left hand hammering on the guitar riffs. For some reason I always hated hammering - I had no problem with right hand tapping, but left hand hammering always felt like cheating as you can pluck the string with pick on the right hand while you are at it.
But trying new technique always brings new ideas, and it certainly did this case. And I think it worked well.

When I write songs, I normally write bar by bar. I obviously need a starting point, but once I have this starting point, it's slow and painful process.
I would write a bar, then play the song from the beginning and keep repeating until some new idea that naturally flows comes up. You record this new idea, and play the song from the beginning again and repeat it until new idea strikes again.

You normally eventually complete a riff - That to me just means a good chunk of guitar parts that can possibly be repeated.

Repeat above process few times and you will end up with few riffs. And once you have few riffs you can start arranging these riffs to make a song.

I have habit of making the ending of songs as big as possible, and Let Go is very typical of this. I keep the beginning of the songs busy so that when it comes to much more open epic bits there is maximum contrast to it. It normally works at least to my ears : )

Lyrically this song was inspired by a girl I knew who had some problem in her childhood. And no matter how I tried to get her to move on from her past, she kept hanging on it, and blamed everything bad happening to her to this past - even with things that had nothing to do with the past, just because it was easy for her to blame on it.
I really wanted to make a change to her attitude and I tried very hard, but she never moved on. In fact in the end she blamed me as well on her past and decided to throw me away from her life all together.

She was very capable person and I saw a lot of potential and bright future if she tried - Only thing that was preventing her from that was herself. Everyone can get to the bright future, but only if they choose to want it. It's our life, and it's our choice. Past stays with you, but it doesn't mean you have to be held back by it forever.

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