Hierdie is die LitNet-argief (2006–2012)
Besoek die aktiewe LitNet-platform by www.litnet.co.za

This is the LitNet archive (2006–2012)
Visit the active LitNet platform at www.litnet.co.za


 
Sing ’it

Lyric writing-tips from the participating bands


2011-09-05

Here's some tips from the participating bands to sharpen up your lyric writing-skills.

Bittereinder | Dans Dans Lisa | iScream and the Chocolate Stix | Jax Panik | Niskerone & SFR | DJ Cleo | Karen Zoid | Dance You're on Fire

Bittereinder

Where do you begin writing a song/finding lyrics for a song? The chorus, the first line, the overall theme, etc?

Tricky question, but I’m pretty sure most songwriters will tell you that each song has its own story. Sometimes a melody arrives from nowhere, sometimes a lyric and a melody together, sometimes an instrument leads the way, sometimes just a few words. In Bittereinder’s case, every song on our first album was created in a different way between the three of us.

What does a typical song structure of yours look like – how many lines, where does the chorus fit in, etc?

If you have a typical song structure, you should stop writing songs. Honest advice that, and very useful. But (especially with Peach at the helm) every song structure is painstakingly calculated and continuously refined.

How do you know when a song’s lyrics are complete?

With rap it’s difficult, because you’re already writing a lot more lyrics than the average song from almost any other genre. Here’s a free one-liner to answer this question: When the train of thought reaches its destination.

What do potential songwriters need to keep in mind when writing a song for the competition?

Avoid clichés! Avoid clichés! Avoid clichés! And if you don’t avoid them, use them in a brilliant way. This might be very difficult, but if you can dream it, you can achieve it. And then I woke up, and it was all a dream.

What's the one topic you've always wanted to cover in a song?

I’ve been thinking about the concept of “mouth” for a while now, I think a song might take shape out of that pretty soon. It sounds dumb if I don’t expand on it a bit, but then again I don’t want anyone to steal the idea. Or maybe I do. I don’t think there’s one specific elusive topic that’s been lingering for too long, usually I take care of the lingerers relatively swiftly.

>>>Read some more answers by Bittereinder here.

Dans Dans Lisa

Where do you begin writing a song/finding lyrics for a song? The chorus, the first line, the overall theme, etc?

I usually start with the music. Every time I play music it tells me a story and then I start telling that story with the words, so it’s like the music is half of the story. But there are no recipes. You have to find what works best for you. Sometimes I have a few lyrics written down, then I find music that fits. But it’s all up to you.

What does a typical song structure of yours look like – how many lines, where does the chorus fit in, etc?

I’m very straightforward at times; I don't like to hang around a verse that long, because the chorus is usually the part that hooks people to your song. If you want a hit, get to the chorus!

The chorus is how you emphasise what you are saying in the verse. The chorus is the most important part for me. It’s what you can’t say, you sing.

How do you know when a song’s lyrics are complete?

A song is never done, it’s only abandoned. You have a feeling that you need to stop now, you have to let the music tell a part of the story too. The music is just as important as the lyrics.

What do potential songwriters need to keep in mind when writing a song for the competition?

Metaphors and deep poetic lyrics are cool and all, but should be well timed. The majority of people don't relate to deep metaphors. Write a story that everyone can relate to. Something out of the heart. Say it like it is and trust the music to do the rest.

What's the one topic you've always wanted to cover in a song?

My relationship with my dad.

>>>Read some more answers by Dans Dans Lisa here.

iScream and the Chocolate Stix

Where do you begin writing a song/finding lyrics for a song? The chorus, the first line, the overall theme, etc?

I normally pick up a tune while in the shower and it could start with a hook, a chorus, a bridge – so it really is a spontaneous choice.

100

What does a typical song structure of yours look like – how many lines, where does the chorus fit in, etc?

What the structures look like? Ok, 8, 12, even 14 bars of verse; first chorus 8 bars leading into bridge coming out of hook that hits back into the verse!!

How do you know when a song’s lyrics are complete?

You know when you know. A song is never really perfect – there’s always something new you can find, but time is money.

What do potential songwriters need to keep in mind when writing a song for the competition?

Let it flow, baby let it flow. Be like water. Come natural! If you’re going to sell ice to an Eskimo ... make sure its flavoured!

What's the one topic you've always wanted to cover in a song?

Look Mama, I made it.

>>>Read some more answers by iScream and the Chocolate Stix here.

Jax Panik

Where do you begin writing a song/finding lyrics for a song? The chorus, the first line, the overall theme, etc?

It depends. Mostly it starts out with a hook of some sort, either a melody or a lyrical hook, and we’d repeat that over and over and build on it with other ideas until it becomes a full song. Sometimes a chorus comes first, sometimes a chorus becomes a verse, sometimes we write three different choruses before we are happy. The song kind of takes you in the direction it wants to go – it gives you a vibe from the start.

100

What does a typical song structure of yours look like – how many lines, where does the chorus fit in, etc?

The typical verse, chorus, verse, chorus structure applies, but we try to keep things interesting by adding breakdowns, solos, long outros etc.

How do you know when a song’s lyrics are complete?

When you have exhausted every possible option, reconsidered every single sentence, made sure that every word is used in the right context, that the story is told in a way that makes sense, and that you are proud of what you are putting out there.

What do potential songwriters need to keep in mind when writing a song for the competition?

There has to be inherent rhythm to what you’ve written – that will help putting it to music. Keep it simple, don’t try to be too smart. Avoid clichés, and don’t plagiarise!

>>>Read some more answers by Jax Panik here.

Niskerone & SFR

Where do you begin writing a song/finding lyrics for a song? The chorus, the first line, the overall theme, etc?

We usually start off by constructing a simple drum loop to find a groove. Once the groove is found, we use it to create a bassline rhythm. Often the original drum pattern gets changed the further into the track we get. Once we've actually created a 32-bar loop we start adding melodies, which gives us our theme, and then we start basing lyrical content on that.

100

What does a typical song structure of yours look like – how many lines, where does the chorus fit in, etc?

We write dance music, so the way we structure everything is centred around how it will affect a dance floor. Usually we bring in the lyrical content through the intro and into the build-up of the track. Once the main section of the track drops we pull out all the lyrics out to focus more on the groove of the track and only later on bring back the vocal hook. Having said that, every track is different and sometimes a track with full vocals throughout the mix works well.

How do you know when a song’s lyrics are complete?

It's a difficult thing deciding when a track is finished. We often pass our tracks along to fellow artists and test them out on dance floors at our shows, and this gives us a feeling of whether the track is done or not.

What do potential songwriters need to keep in mind when writing a song for the competition?

When writing lyrics for a song, it's best if it's something that people can relate to and remember. At the same time, your lyrics need to be given a bit of depth and avoid being cheesy at all costs.

What's the one topic you've always wanted to cover in a song?

We don't really have one particular topic that we've always wanted to cover. We usually create a track first, and then base the lyrics on the vibe of the track. Based on how the track turns out we take into account what has happened recently in our lives and what mood we feel, and try include that into the track.

>>>Read some more answers by Niskerone & SFR here.

Karen Zoid

Where do you begin writing a song/finding lyrics for a song? The chorus, the first line, the overall theme, etc?

The great thing about songwriting is that you can start writing from any angle. A little one-liner or even a cool word can be enough to set you off. I surround myself with beautiful guitars and then I feel compelled to play them. I often search for a bass line on my piano and start writing songs from that point. I recently bought a baritone guitar – also a wonderful tool when it comes to writing songs.

100

What does a typical song structure of yours look like – how many lines, where does the chorus fit in, etc?

I purposely vary song key and structures in my work to create distinct differences between tracks on my albums. The ones that I use the most are: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus; or verse/climb/chorus/verse/climb/chorus/bridge/chorus or AABA.

How do you know when a song’s lyrics are complete?

When it stops sounding stupid.

What do potential songwriters need to keep in mind when writing a song for the competition?

Say what you mean and mean what you say. Bring the message across as clearly as possible without overselling by underestimating the listener. Don’t be too clever, just be smart.

What's the one topic you've always wanted to cover in a song?

Plastic shopping bags.

>>>Read some more answers by Karen Zoid here.

Dance You're on Fire

Where do you begin writing a song/finding lyrics for a song? The chorus, the first line, the overall theme, etc?

Generally a song will start with an idea – a riff or a chord structure for the intro – and we’ll build it from there. Sometimes I’ll write 90 percent of the structure and then bring it into practice, where we jam it out and add colour to the arrangement.

What does a typical song structure of yours look like – how many lines, where does the chorus fit in, etc?

The typical pop song consists of an intro, verse, chorus,  verse, chorus, middle eight and a final chorus. We usually stick to this formula for songs that we think have potential to be released as singles, but we also like to deviate from that a little for other tracks on the album.

How do you know when a song’s lyrics are complete?

You never know when they’re complete. Eventually you just have to settle for what you have on paper. I’m a fan of not overthinking lyrics.

What do potential songwriters need to keep in mind when writing a song for the competition?

Just to be completely and utterly honest – and look for the hook!

What's the one topic you've always wanted to cover in a song?

I wouldn’t say there’s one topic I would love to cover. I just write whatever comes up.

>>>Read some more answers by Dance You're on Fire here.