I’ve always loved music – tons and tons of stuff but my heart is deeply embedded in 80’s synthpop. “Faggy English pop” as my friends called it but whatever you wanted to brand it, it was fun, poppy, at turns melodramatic, gorgeous and danceable. For instance, I love the Pet Shop Boys. And I still do. But my only experience with a piano was playing “Fur D’elise” as a child and winning some award for it. Back then, and to this day, I could play by ear (which absolutely kills your head) (I’ll be here all week; please remember to tip your waitress), but found it very difficult to read music and so subsequently decided I was much better off just listening to it.
Last summer, I dated a girl who loved to sing and compose music. One day while she was over, I pulled out my massive organ – bad choice of words – a keyboard I had laying in the back of a closet, plugged it up to the Mac and turned on Garageband. Within seconds, she was writing a song and asked me if I wanted to contribute a melody. I came up with something that she termed “complex” – and I thought “Wow. Maybe – just maybe – I could write music!”.
The girl and I broke up but she’d left me something far more valuable; the desire to start writing music. I immediately wrote a new theme tune for both Goodnight Burbank and Abi’s Teen Diary, replacing the far more gorgeous ones that Ryan Shore had let me use, but by doing them myself meant I didn’t have to worry about the costly licensing, etc, if we sold the shows to TV as-is as interstitial segments. All I had to do was something serviceable, it’s not like I needed to write a #1 hit.
So once that was out of the way, I thought “it’s time to write a pop song.” And that track has not only become the first song (for the pilot episode) but a template for what I did with the rest of the songs. They’re short – about a minute and a half or so – have a couple of hooks to them, are quite poppy, and quite retro, given that they sound quite synthy and 1980-new-wave-poppy. I’ve been writing the music first and then adding lyrics later (to those who want to know which came first), and all the tracks hew to this short, poppy format with little in the way of regular song structure (that being verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, middle 8, chorus chorus chorus).
Writing songs has been the most fun I’ve ever had sitting upright. Since I’ve never done it before, I’ve no pre-conceptions stopping me and so it’s all quite cathartic. I can’t wait for you guys to hear it. If you don’t like synthy 80’s stuff then hopefully you’ll just dig on the lyrics, the gorgeous girl who’ll be doing a lot of the singing, or the 15-person dance troup known as “The Cabinettes”.