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Home Entertainment Mike Batt on finding meaning in your songs – Songwriting Magazine

Mike Batt on finding meaning in your songs – Songwriting Magazine


Mike Batt

Mike Batt: “When you have an attention-grabbing title, you’re midway there… You can begin with the title after which work to the meaning.”

The person behind the music of The Wombles and Katie Melua shares his ideas for digging deeper with your songwriting

WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

“Once you write a track that you really want individuals to have an interest in, it’s a good suggestion to know what a track goes to be about. It’d sound like an apparent factor to say, however not everybody does know. I obtained into this when somebody requested me what I believe is extra necessary, tune or lyrics. I all the time say lyrics as a result of they’re what the meaning of the track is. That, to me, is the essence of the track. That’s to not say that music doesn’t contribute to the temper and the content material, it’s simply the lyric establishes what it’s about.”

FIND A GREAT TITLE

“What I say to individuals who I’m advising: you probably have an attention-grabbing title, you’re midway there. I’ll usually say, ‘Write down 20 nice titles.’ Simply fill a chunk of paper with titles that sound intriguing. I as soon as went via the dictionary writing each attention-grabbing and vibrant phrase I seen. I’d write them down in alphabetical order, by hand, and hold it as a part of my lyric-writing package. After I was caught, I’d go searching, discover somewhat phrase, put it with one thing else, and that will kickstart an thought.

“For instance, once I was in China with Katie Melua we did a present collectively and the subsequent day we have been being handled to a visit round Beijing and the tour information mentioned, ‘There are 9 million bicycles in Beijing,’ as a pure truth. I checked out Katie and mentioned, ‘Now there’s a track title!’ and he or she mentioned, ‘You’ve obtained to be joking!’ In fact, I used to be half-joking, however I usually might be in the center of one thing and say that.

“So there I used to be with that track title scribbled on a little bit of paper and once I obtained residence I believed, ‘I’m going to write down track.’ Now, you’d count on it to finish up as a comedy track – it’s not probably the most romantic-sounding assertion – however I didn’t wish to write a comedy track. So I sat down on the piano and thought, ‘What does it imply?’ It’s a chunk of trivia, and trivia is the alternative of one thing that’s necessary. So what’s crucial factor you possibly can ever say to somebody? ‘I’ll love you til I die.’ Subsequently, I had…

There are 9 million bicycles in Beijing,
That’s a truth, it’s a factor we are able to’t deny,
Like the truth that I’ll love you til I die.

“So there you’ve obtained a development, which is to juxtapose one thing that’s utterly unimportant with one thing that’s desperately necessary. You begin off with the ridiculous and go to the chic.”

BUT IF YOU HAVEN’T GOT A TITLE…

“You might need one thing you wish to specific to somebody and also you don’t know the way to try this till you abruptly give you an thought. I believe it’s a nasty thought to sit down down and assume, ‘Let’s write a success,’ as a result of everybody unconsciously already thinks that and typically it finally ends up actually mechanical. I believe it’s necessary to consider saying it in a method that different individuals haven’t considered saying it, or in a method that you just haven’t usually heard it mentioned. Numerous songwriting is about making an attempt to say one thing that individuals hear on the radio or Spotify or no matter and go, ‘Oh my God, I really feel that too!’ or ‘I’d by no means considered it fairly like that.’

“So you can begin with the title after which work to the meaning. I’m intrigued by that title, I’m finding it attention-grabbing, lyrically, however what does it imply? Or ‘My girlfriend has simply left me, and I wish to write that down. Oh my God, what occurs if I meet her in the grocery store!? Okay, I’ll write a track about that, what shall I name it?”

TELL TALES

“Fairly often I write songs from expertise, however typically I’ll make up a plot of a fictitious film and fake that some director has requested me to write down a track for it. I wrote a track known as Warsaw a few woman who was behind the Iron Curtain and couldn’t get out, and he couldn’t get it, and that was the place my premise got here from. I then projected myself into the characters’ psyche and wrote it from the viewpoint of this man who had a girlfriend who he may by no means go to. So it turns into a narrative track, however it doesn’t imply you don’t really feel it from your coronary heart since you mission your self into the psyche of the individuals in the track.”

JUST DO IT

“Usually I’d say don’t write for the sake of writing, however typically do write for the sake of it. Get a clean piece of paper and, even in the event you’ve obtained no actual motive to write down, simply write as a result of it retains your writing blood going round your mind, and that vacant piece of paper is usually a problem that’s very exhilarating. Even in the event you by no means use the track, you’ve spent an excellent hour or two honing your abilities and having fun with your self doing it.”

MAKE A MOVE

“Typically once I haven’t had a lyric, I discover sitting on a airplane or prepare, that ahead movement makes me take into consideration getting someplace and also you are inclined to wish to assist that ahead movement, mentally, as nicely. It’s kind of stimulating.”

GO IT ALONE…

“Personally, I want to write down on my very own as a result of I’m not compromising my concepts and I’m not having to be well mannered to somebody on a regular basis about whether or not I like their concepts or not – equally, they’re not having to be well mannered to me! I’d give you an concept that I’d usually assume, ‘Nah that’s not excellent,’ and so they say, ‘That’s nice.’ They could be proper, in which case you retain it, however they could be flawed. What in the event that they’re flawed and you retain it? Additionally, if I sit down [on my own] I’ll end it extra shortly than if I’ve obtained to maintain discussing it on a regular basis whereas I’m writing it. Or I’d give it to them and say, ‘You end it,’ for a similar causes – they don’t need to hold asking me what I believe!”

…OR GO TOGETHER

“The draw back to writing on your personal is it’s not as sociable. Even in the event you’re somebody that likes to be in ‘solitary confinement’ and in your personal little world, it’s typically good to sit down down with a trusted buddy/songwriter and write a track collectively. As a result of in the event you subscribe to at least one or different of these methodologies, it’s good to vary the move sometimes and do it the best way you don’t usually do it. So in the event you work on your personal, it’s typically good to work with different individuals and one thing will rub off from the best way they work as nicely.”

HAVE A GOOD CRY

“In the event you really feel such as you’re welling up barely when you’re writing, you recognize your viewers has obtained an excellent probability to welling up as nicely. It’s virtually just like the sign from a report, up via the arm and into the audio system, is similar as a microphone down via the arm from a chopping lathe, to creating the report – in different phrases, the feelings go each methods.”

IN A CAREER SPANNING MORE THAN 50 YEARS, MIKE BATT HAS HAD GREAT SUCCESS AS A SONGWRITER, PRODUCER, PERFORMER, CONDUCTOR AND COMPOSER. He’s bringing his substantial genius to French Home Celebration Carcassonne for a singular four-day residential songwriting course on 5-Eight August 2022. Discover out extra at frenchhouseparty.eu


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