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Songwriting Weekend: Creativity is a Priority

Retreatin Ain’t Cheatin

We escaped this weekend to write music. We needed space and time to JUST. PLAIN. WRITE. Back in the early days of Another Perfect Crime, before Jeanne and before David, we would write songs from teatime to pizza time all day on a Saturday. We were just learning how to write and it took a lot of hours. Because we are more experienced now and can complete one another’s musical sentences, we started believing we didn’t need those long stretches.

Except for the fact that we still need them. As our lives get busier, it becomes more important to claim time for writing.

So we headed out to Ike Kinswa State Park and set up shop in a primitive cabin decorated like Great Aunt Ethel’s Holiday Craft Shop. (“Everybody gets three cubbies!”) With mini practice amps (Jeanne’s was 6” tall!), flip chart paper, an H4N Handy Recorder, and journals, we set out to write songs.

We had neighbors. Some of them had gun racks. So Jeanne cranked up her amp and Teresa walked away from the cabin, using elaborate hand signals to tell Jeanne the appropriate volume. When the hunters woke us up at 6:00 in the morning with explosives and gunfire our guilt evaporated.

We wrote three new songs and completed a fourth one. Their titles: Red Attic, Flowers for Your Grave, Hobo Code and Telekinesis (working title). We write collaboratively. You may wonder, how the heck does that collaborative songwriting thing work? Here’s the formula:

How to write a song by APC

  1. Jam in the practice space on Monday nights.
  2. Always record jams.
  3. Store one million jams in band’s Dropbox.
  4. Patiently sit through laughter and conversation in order to hear song pieces.
  5. Choose good song pieces. (Make sure to use fast forward.)
  6. Decide which song pieces go with other song pieces.
  7. String the pieces together. Write the order on flip chart paper.
  8. Play the song. Record it.
  9. Listen to the new song.
  10. Rearrange song part order.
  11. Write lyrics.
  12. Celebrate.

We were missing one essential ingredient this weekend. Our beloved drummer, Rebecca, had to stay home and fix bugs in a medical app. Missing Rebecca was like missing the Theo Chocolate bars in Teresa’s homemade hot cocoa. We did our best. We wrote songs, listened to them on the H4N recorder and made videos of wild drummer gesticulations. Here’s a helpful video for Rebecca to use when writing her parts:

We were not always so serious. We also ate banana pancakes, hiked through trails of gigantic maple leaves, skipped rocks, and invented a few inside jokes.

Bonus Track: Jeanne’s Outhouse Ritual

  1. Kick open the door and spray Febreeze
  2. Put bandana over face
  3. Run in
  4. Pee
  5. Run out
  6. Wipe hands on “KanDoo” wet wipes

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