First Draft have asked me to write a blog explaining the faintly ludicrous project I have set myself this year. The project is called ’52’.
It was right at the death of 2013 (a year that by all accounts couldn’t die soon enough) that I embarked upon the idea of writing a new song every week for 2014.
Partly because I was worried that having three albums written would make me lazy or ‘backed up’ and partly based on a Burt Bacharach interview I once read where he stated he writes a song every day, that it doesn’t matter if people hear it or not but he writes just to write; to keep in shape (apologies for the semi-colon, KV).
I approached another songwriter (who shall remain nameless) about embarking on this. We would shoot topics to write about back and forth on alternating weeks. The challenge runs Wednesday to Wednesday by which time a demo (at the very least) of the song has to be in the other person’s inbox. The track is then polished and recorded to be uploaded the following Monday for public consumption. 12 weeks came and 12 weeks went and I was not a little surprised to find that I had 12 songs written.
These first 12 employed just vocal and guitar (and one on Omnichord). Some of the topics topics we gave each other were “Looking back at the past and realising you were wearing rose coloured glasses”, “Meg Shelton, The Witch Of Woodplumpton”, “An argument” and “Someone who sells something”.
12 weeks in I decided that in order to keep things interesting I would start taking suggestions for song topics from people on Facebook and Twitter. Some of these were grand concepts (“Mistakes”), some more prosaic (“The mundanity of work”) and some downright daft (“Wanting warm Ribena because you have lost your voice but not being able to find any so microwaving Hall’s Soothers in a mug”).
By this stage I was introducing various other ideas. I was collaborating with other artists and putting more instruments on. It was resulting in things I’d never attempted before… dance remixes and R’n’B/pop songs for example.
One such collaboration was written specifically for a First Draft night with FirstnameFrank. As ever we had the week to write a song about, at Frank’s suggestion, “the tale of two places”… and by Monday we had the song ‘Dance The Chorlston!’ ready to perform for First Draft. It was its first public airing and was filmed by Faro Productions on the night.
In many ways, the ’52’ project almost seems to fit hand in glove with the First Draft nights. The nature of the immediacy of the writing and recording resulting in a quick turnaround for the ’52’ songs and the performance of the nights suit each other well.
It’s been a life swallowing affair but has resulted in songs that I am pleased with. I have still yet to turn in a song that I am unhappy with though every week I feel like this might be the week that I fail.
This week’s song is about “catching the wrong train” and will be up on my Bandcamp site on Monday night. If you would like to suggest something for me to write about you can tweet at me: @LomaxRichard #p52.