A typical Phazy song is usually developed by the band in full rehearsal. This works well for us, and allows each band member – drums, bass, guitar, vocals – to develop and contribute to the songwriting in a “live” setting. However, it is not really an ideal environment for this. Full volume rehearsals can be fatiguing; it’s difficult to speak and be heard and, last but not least, it is not so easy to work on subtle elements of a melody, riff, or song arrangement.
In such an environment there’s also a temptation (or even self-imposed pressure) to play for the sake of it, to enjoy the power of a rock band at full tilt, the exhilaration of cranking up the amp, and having a blast. It’s fun and, after all, having fun is what it’s all about! But it doesn’t necessarily get the best out of a new musical idea.
Less can be more
That’s why, from time to time, we like to mix up these rehearsals with low volume, no drum kit songwriting sessions, where we can refine a song’s arrangement, work on individual parts, and fine-tune the melody. It’s also a much easier environment for working on things like backing vocals. Using only amplified guitar and bass at bedroom volume levels, all the Phazys attend these sessions so that we all participate in and contribute to the song’s development and structure.
We find that this approach is very productive and can result in a more polished and rounded song arrangement.
Are you writing music in a rock band context? If so, I’d love to read your comments on how you maximise your productivity and creativity.