Thursday, April 10, 2008

Jason Collett - Papercut Hearts and Songwriting

Jason Collett, Canadian singer/songwriter and perennial Broken Social Scene member, can be found in the Song of the Week feature of by Chris Parker.

The featured song (available as a free download) is "Papercut Hearts" from his recent "Here's To Being Here" release. There's some interesting insight on the production of musical recordings, The Rolling Stones and conducting interviews over cell phones - which you should definitely read - I've included just a couple of quotes:
You said you wrote "Papercut Hearts" fairly quickly, in like 20 minutes. Is that unusual?

I think the best songs are the ones that come quickly and relatively intact because you don't have any time to second-guess anything. And that's where the trouble begins, when you start to think about what you're doing or intellectualize it in any way. I would say the whole process of songwriting is a real mystery to me. I do subscribe to the Townes Van Zandt view of songwriting: He said it was as if the songs had all already been written, and that a good songwriter just happens to be present in the room when one floats by.

Do you have to deal with different expectations about your songwriting because of Broken Social Scene?

Mostly I don't care. Inspiration comes and I'm kind of beholden to it, whatever it's going to be. If it falls into some sort of mid '70s feel good groove, so be it. I often write in a very simple 2-3 chord structure just as a way of jostling out the inspiration. It's almost a childlike way of doing it, a nursery rhyme sort of melody, something that puts me into a rhythm that allows for the song itself to come out lyrically. And then I can take that and change the melody. The whole sort of craft thing comes later. But the crucial moment is just that moment of inspiration. I find that if you take the time to adjust the melodies and the structure and start thinking about how this all should be, you can often lose that moment, you know what I mean? It will slip through your hands.
I agree whole-heartedly... the "craft thing comes later" - get inspired and write first! Think later! And may the Muse be with you...

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