A little nugget of wisdom from Paul McCartney on recording those unfinished songs

1 Like

More…

Would like to hear some of his cassettes

I figure McCartney never got bogged down too much with the ‘seriousness of it all’, that the ‘muse’ must always be maintained over the ‘morose’. I remember my old mate, a showbiz pro for over 40 years saying “always put a smile into it” no matter what mood the music is meant to be.

fwiw having said that, Strawberry fields was apparently a very slow cooked number.

Yeah started out as a folk song…
LSD obsessed folk song
All the folk getting obsessed with lsd and writing folk songs about it

He said in one of those videos that what drove their songwriting was that many acts were playing the same cover songs, so they had to find something that the other acts didn’t know. Sounds like it came out of practicality more than anything else, given that he also said that they looked at playing music early on as being a pretty cool job.

So, the tl;dw is to not record snippets and to get a John Lennon.

<heads to lab>

I think there is a lot of merit to developing the skill (and having the drive) to finishing a song quickly in one go. Of course there are different ways to go about it, but I have read many accounts of notable songwriters putting together songs fast while inspiration is still very much alive from the novelty of the thing.

I’m probably the world’s worst at having unfinished pieces of music and songs.

Incoming insomnia rant:

I spend far too much time on mixes from scratch even though I’ve already got good enough templates and should run with those.

Recently I lost a lot of time from a pc crash which wiped authorisations. I’ve had a gutful of authorised stuff, now it’s only S-gear I go to that bother for. Having lost my main go to bass vst I picked up a free one that’s got loads of articulation, vol layers and round robins but I spent over a day having to tune up hundreds of samples that were up to 12 cents out of tune, sounds good now.

So I’ve had to fly it in to finish projects that were 97% done, the drums and other insts on such projects I’ve had to either surgically ‘graft’ from the same track or try to color match with other insts, it’s a tall order.

Recommended is to render as wave any authorisation required vst tracks as you go along, in a way that allows construction of tracks without the use of the vst if need be.


For the actual writing I kind of do what McCartney was describing, find a quiet place and nut it out in an hour or three session, in my case I always use an unplugged electric gtr for this and whisper quiet vocals, there’s something about the unimpressive but clear sound of an unplugged electric that speaks a lot of truth imo

Inadvertent happenings can be great. The accidents. A couple of years ago the sound device I was using died, so while I was thinking of whether to repair or buy something new I started just playing daily, no recording. My playing got a shit ton better. Still couldn’t sing for shit. I have a couple of recording devices, but I have stopped using them.

On the way to work one day, the radio in my truck died. I turned on my phone (low volume of course) and suddenly I could hear myself singing over the music, instead of behind it. I stuck to doing that, and my singing started getting much better. I learned how to sing in a few styles that I like and can hold a tune without any music.

Shit happens. And sometimes it’s for the better. But there is something about simplicity, directness, and limitations. Or, there can be a lot of baggage and misdirection and distraction around the thing that you’re trying to do. I find it true for myself anyway.