Track This: Patrick James
Most of the time I get inspired to write my own music from listening to another artist or watching a movie. Sometimes it’s just a well crafted song, other times it’s a certain sound in a recording that pricks my ears and makes me go on a long winded search to find how they got that noise ultimately to then try and recreate it in my own music. Nearly 100% of the time I am thinking about a film clip when I write a song and imaging how the lyrics and the visuals would play off each other. It somehow helps the story and my imagination form the wording and the journey of the music. Here are a handful of songs that I’ve recently been inspired by:
Lauv – There’s No Way: This song instantly spoke to me because it’s a male/female duet of a real life couple. I love the lyrics simplicity basically saying that because of our history there is no way that we aren’t drawn to each other. I thought that it was a unique way of saying what has already been said thousands of times before in other songs. It feels unique, and the backstory only makes it more powerful.
Rosie Carney (feat. Lisa Hannigan): This is just a great song. Not revolutionary in recording or game changing sonically speaking but simply puts me in a mood. I start to reflect and being in a reflective state always makes me want to create.
the 1975 ‘it’s not living if it’s not with you’: This entire record is pretty forward thinking when it comes to the production. The way this song opens up into such an anthemic feel good chorus when really he is talking about a drug addiction is so appealing to me. The lyrics are heavy handed but people will be dancing. There is something in the way the recording feels so chordal but at the same time has mostly riffs and noises filling out the empty sonic areas. There is never an obvious movement in the song when I listen and that’s what has greatly inspired me to create and try and work into my own songs and recordings. It’s almost a more mathematical and systematic approach to recording in which only certain frequencies play off each other creating a huge spatial sound.
No Rome ‘Narcissist’: For me this song has such an understated and refreshing pop drop. I can’t not move my head and groove. I think from a creative point of view the way the beat and bass work off each other has opened up an entire vibe for me. Instead of sitting in my bedroom strumming my guitar I’m mostly starting from a computer and then returning to add real instruments and working back and forth systematically in that way. Most of all I love how this song feels in my headphones and I got pretty obsessed with this for that reason. It’s a challenge but a lot of fun trying to take inspiration from a song like this that is essentially so far removed from my own released music.
Joan ‘I loved you first’: I love this song for the melody. It’s simple and effective that I feel like this song could work in many forms. Stripped back piano, acoustic and vocal etc the aim as a songwriter is to always make something that is tangible. This just came up on my Spotify one day and I remember thinking it sounded almost country in the chorus but had pop production, it’s a nice mix.
Kasey Musgraves ‘happy and sad’: Probably my favoriteTrack This: Patrick James record of last year. When I put this song on I feel like she is explaining and exact emotion that we’ve all felt at times but has never been put this way before. It’s nostalgic, it’s honest and the idea is unique. As a songwriter I’m jealous I didn’t come up with that concept because it’s such an everyday occurrence of humanity to feel great about something but then instantly start thinking of a negative.