Rid of Me
The ideas for songs come to me every day. Every day I'm in writing mode. I can never switch my head off from collecting ideas, words, or images in my head. And I'm logging them, writing them down and keeping books and books, and books of different word ideas. So it's never something that I just tap into at certain times. It's just always going on. I mean, it's what I do.
I plan a long way ahead as well. I'm already thinking of the third and fourth albums and how I'll see things developing the way I like things to move. I've got quite a clear idea of how I see that happening in the future
It's important for me to map things out like that so that I have a direction which I can work towards in my head. I mean, I'm already working on songs for the third album. Specific song ideas are in quite developed form already as well as the mood of the whole album.
I think my writing changes a lot through our experience. Also, things that I've written say back in July towards the third album, I'll probably discard by the time I get to actually write the third album. But that's just as valid a thing as keeping every song to me. For every good song I write, I may write 3 bad ones. That's just the way. It's just as important to write those songs and finish them and learn from them, and then discard them. I get just as much satisfaction from that as writing a good song and keeping it. I probably learn more from the bad songs then I do from the good ones.
Well, I like the fact that people can place their own interpretations on the song. I don't set the songs up as to say this is how the song has to be interpreted and if you get it or do it any other way you've got it wrong. I think songs are there for people, to be used by people, in any way they want to use them.
It makes me happy to see the amount of different interpretations you can get from one song and one set of words. And, I never want to split the music and the words up. That's why I don't want to have lyric sheets. It's not a poem, it's not a piece of prose writing. It's a song and a song only works as a whole when you've got the music and you're hearing the words at the same time. I mean, the words change so completely in the way they're delivered, the way they're sung and in what's happening behind them musically that it can completely change the meaning of the word to mean the exact opposite of what it would be if it was just written on its own.
The songs change as they become older. As you play them a lot live they become something else. You have to detach yourself from them. You can't expect to have the same intensity you're feeling as when you first wrote it. Although that sometimes does come back I find. If one of those nights you always wait for happens- I'm really enjoying performing, the gig is going really well, everything fits into place and clicks; and because they so seldom happen, I can remember every single feeling I had when I'd written that song. That's the biggest high for me that you can get. It's better than anything. And that's happened to me about three times. But it's worth waiting for.
Yeah, there are high points on the album for me. Lyrically I'm more pleased with some songs than others. A song like "Ecstasy" is an example of a song I wrote in literally ten minutes and knew it was finished. Then there are other songs like "Legs", that I'm also very pleased with lyrically, which took four months to finish. How pleased I am with songs also depends on how pleased I was with the performance of them in the recording, and how they turned out. I was really surprised with the way some songs were just brought to life by the way we recorded them.
I learned so much from working on the cover "Highway 61" by Bob Dylan . Originally I was asked if I'd like to contribute the track to a Bob Dylan compilation album. I knew I couldn't refuse because my mother is such a huge Dylan fan. Once I'd told her I'd been offered this, there was no way I could say no. So, my mom and dad took care of deciding which song I should do. My father immediately knew I should do "Highway 61", so I spent ages listening to the song and lyrics. I learned an incredible amount about the structure of songs. It really increased my admiration for Bob Dylan. His writing skill is just incredible and although I don't know if I'll ever get there, it's something I aspire to. That's why I wanted to include the track on the album. He's just an incredible songwriter.
Doing a cover of that song was the beginning for me of looking at songwriting in a completely different way. I experimented with dynamics and extremes of both lyrics and music in a much greater way than I'd ever done before. My thinking has always been that if you're going to do a cover version, you've either got to do it twice as good as it's been done already or do it in a completely different way so that you can't compare the original with this new thing.
That's the way I wanted to approach "Highway 61". I thought, this has been done so well already, if I'm going to do it I've got to take it to a completely different extreme.
Yeah, my voice has changed completely. I listen to Dry now and it just doesn't sound like me at all. My voice got a lot deeper. And I think that's through heavy usage- more than smoking or drinking or anything. I think that it's just because I've used it a lot due to touring. I've also been singing a lot just to get my voice physically strong enough to last a whole tour. It's very tiring on the voice.
Before going on tour I'll spend three months singing for at least an hour every day just doing singing and breathing exercises. If you don't do that you end up with no voice after a week of touring. So, just through using my voice a lot it's developed a completely different quality which I'm pleased with. I much prefer it deeper. And it's getting deeper all the time. In fact, I'm interested in just how low you can make your voice.
I really feel I'm only just beginning to touch on the possibilities of using a voice as an instrument. A huge amount of things have been thrown open to me just recently through a lot of singing practice- how you can change the meaning of a word just by the way you sing it- and I find it fascinating. Definitely at the moment the voice is the most interesting instrument that I'm enjoying playing with, and I've only just begun to touch on using it. There's so much more I can do.
I approach writing songs exactly the same way I approach anything in my life- art college, making pieces of work there. I think I have to satisfy my own mind. I have to explore every possible avenue, every single route a song can take, as thoroughly as possible before my mind is satisfied that I don't want to take it that way, it's got to go in this direction. It's always a process of elimination. Then I use my "shit detector", as someone called it before. Someone said I have a good "shit detector". I eliminate the shit and hopefully you're just left with the best possible way this song, or this artwork, this photograph could be or look. Yes, definitely a "shit-eliminating" process has to go on.
I love being in America. This country's so huge to me. I still feel that I really don't understand it, but I love it anyway. It's so fascinating. I learn and absorb so much that it's doing me a whole lot of good.