Category Archives: FAWM 2012

I’m skipping FAWM this year

Today is February 1:st. A year ago today I participated in the songwriting project FAWM (February Album Writing Month) in which I challanged myself to write 15 songs in one month. It was a really good experience and I learned a lot about goal-setting and the way inspiration works. You can still listen to a selection of the songs I wrote here on the website. Some of them will probably be on the next album. I will not participate this year as I have too much other stuff going on at the moment. However, my fellow musician Martin Johansson (Anikee) said he will do it and document everything with video recordings of every new song. Good luck Martin! He hasn’t started yet but you can follow his progress on his website: http://www.anikee.net/

FAWM update 2 – Thoughts on the songwriting process

Allright, so it’s 9 days left in February and I have so far recorded 5 songs. I had to shift focus from recording the songs I wrote as I realized I wouldn’t have time to do semi-finished versions of all the 14 songs. So the last couple of days I have instead focussed on writing. The first two weeks I was very determined to finish writing one song, then record it, then write another one and record it, and so on. Recording the songs is not mandatory for FAWM. It was something I decided to do for myself as I don’t want to end up with lots of new songs that I won’t record after this project is done. However, I have to release very early versions of my recordings from now on. Otherwise I won’t make it.

Songwriting is a mystery to me – as is creativity in general – and I have learned not to think about the process too much. Thinking just gets in the way. However, the FAWM project has made me realize a thing or two about how the creative flow works. I thought I was writing one song at the time as separate units but that’s not at all how it works for me. Instead everything flows together and several songs are being written simultaneously and one song leads me to the next.

For example, last night I started writing a very slow and melancholic piece of music. I sat with it for about 45 minutes and as I was working with the break I came across something that I felt I had to try in a bit more up-tempo. So I did and then went on writing another song instead based on that little melody that came through working on the first song. The second song was not at all similar, it was more of a jazzy bossa nova. Come to think of it – that is exactly what happened with ”I’m on my way” and ”The dying voice too”.

You know what? I’ll upload the clips from one of my early FAWM sessions and let you listen to the sketchy recordings I always make as I sit writing. You can actually hear ”The dying voice” being written as a break for ”I’m on my way” One thing leading to another – and nonsense becoming something. Here it is:

Oh, and for the record: I’m a great dad and I do not neglect my children just so I can sit alone and write songs. 🙂

When I write a song I just try to stay with what comes out spontaneously. Often the best melodies and the best lines are stuff that I just blurt out. The trick is to know what is good and catch it on tape as quickly as possible. A tape recorder is a must if you aspire to become a songwriter. Too many different ideas and versions are passing through you when you sit there playing and writing, it would be impossible to keep them all in my mind and remember them all. It has happended to me many times that I have forgotten what I have written just because I forgot to record it. In my opinion, that is one of the most frustrating things you can experience as a songwriter.
So tip number one to any songwriter: learn to know when you are onto something and record every little bit of the stuff that could become useful.

Well, this wasn’t really what I was supposed to be talking about in this post, but I guess the creative source of the universe wanted me to write this down for some reason. Now I won’t forget it. 🙂

Let’s also do a quick sum up the FAWM status on the 20th day with 9 days to go.
I have written 5 songs that are completely finished.
I have 6 more songs that are pretty much done.
Then I have a few more seeds for songs that I’m not sure about. But all in all you could say I have written 11 songs in 20 days. I’m on track!

Peace,
Carl-Otto

FAWM update 1 – I’m on my way

I have completed three songs in in the first week of ”February Album Writing Month”. That means I’m a bit behind the FAWM schedule. But hey, having written and recorded three new songs in 7 days is pretty amazing – at least for me. I’ve always considered mysef rather slow in the studio so for me this is somewhat of a revolution. At least I am on my way – which by the way is the title of the second song.

Today I uploaded the third song called ”The dying voice”. It’s softer and more more dramatic than the first two songs. I took my time recording this one as I felt I needed to get the mood right. Also, I tend to work harder on songs that I really like –  and for some reason this one is special to me.

Tomorrow I’m off to Stockholm for the weekend and I won’t be able to record anything until next week. I guess this means I will fall even further behind. But I already have three new songs in the making that just need some lyrics and arrangements. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up next week. Worst case scenario is that I have to record some of the songs with just guitar and voice and don’t put so much time and effort into arrangements and production. Writing the songs shouldn’t be a problem. Songs come easy to me.

Well, that’s it for now. I can’t sit here writing about writing songs, I have to get back to writing… and recording.

Peace,
Carl-Otto