We all had our reasons to join the Big Music Project – for me it was the chance to gain some music production skills; for others it was to learn about song composition and event management.
Our group revealed itself to be rather diverse; we had rappers who had phones filled with rhymes, a mulch-instrumentalist rocker that had been scouted to be a session musician, and the leader of a punk band. Despite our niche musical interests our first task as a group involved a type of music performance more mainstream – the Glee song. Guided by project worker Simon from Square 1 Studios, our very own Mr Schue (not that I watch Glee or anything), we broke down Lauren Hill’s ‘That Thing’ in to a series of doo waps and watch outs. It took a bit of time to sync our own melodies together, but what we ended up with sounded surprisingly good. We even had a rap section, as luck would have it, one of our rappers knew the song.
For those opposed to all things Glee, fear not! The next challenge was to compose a song together from scratch. My collaboration complex was to be put to the test as the others had music taste in emo and classic rock which are far from my own. We tried to find some common ground though; throwing out ideas about on how we wanted our song to be.
I got the ball rolling playing a chord sequence and melody that I’d created a while ago on piano. I taught it the others who experimented around it with drums, bass and guitar. We had given our resident rapper the task of creating rhymes that our music would accompany. This proved difficult for her as our music lacked the strong beat and tempo and was too busy musically to fit her rhymes to. She was also uncomfortable being one of the only non-instrumental in the group and doubtful about whether she could make a valuable contribution to it; something we knew wasn’t true given her impressive voice and prolific lyric writing. We were all keen to involve her so we stripped the accompaniment down and sped things up. One of the group leaders encouraged her to channel these feeling of isolation in to the lyrics while the rest of us practiced playing cohesively as a group.
When running the song through all together, complete with her lyrics that were organic and poetic, it was amazing to have realised the sort of song we set out to create. I also realised how compromise can be a good thing in that it gave someone confidence and musically it created something fresh and unique with a song that mixed folk with a massive attack sound and Garage music beat.
BY SCOTT MCDOWELL