Episode #34 – The Secret To Writing Better (And More) Songs In The Studio

In this episode, Graham interviews Joe about his “crazy” method for writing songs for his latest album (to be released on April 7, 2015).

And in the Quick Tip, Graham shares a foolproof method for ensuring your plugins are actually making your mix sound better.

Links from the show:


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For more information about us:

Graham Cochrane – www.TheRecordingRevolution.com

Joe Gilder – www.HomeStudioCorner.com

29 thoughts on “Episode #34 – The Secret To Writing Better (And More) Songs In The Studio”

  1. REally enjoyable podcast, fascinating to hear these composition tools/inspiration generators. Looking at inspiration as something you GENERATE not just wait for. Also the idea of taking off the limiters like the usual self criticism, nit picking, perfectionism etc. that can stop the whole process. Great stuff. .

  2. That’s great, that’s right and most of all it moves you to being a better songwriter faster!

    I myself practiced a similar thing. I also used a trick I’d like to share. To get more freedom in expressing the ideas and not get stuck with the same images etc I did the next thing.

    First, before starting to write I came up with several imagined bands or artists, most of them far from the style I actually perform usually. Say, for a garage rock album those were 1) Bananasplitadventurehour, a funk rock act 2) Diesel Breakout, hair metal thing 3) Walking Shades, funeral doom and 4) The Rychags (politicized rap core)

    Then, when I felt exhausted with writing lyrics and stuff I simply switched the phantom band I’m writing for! Writing the track lists for the imagined albums of these “bands” in advance also helped.

    And in the end there were songs from all four, that made it to the garage rock album!

    That’s similar to that instrument switching stuff Joe talked about.

    Hope that helps someone! Thank you, Graham and Joe!

  3. Hey Graham and Joe,

    Great discussion. A recent book by Kevin Ashton, “How to fly a horse”, touches upon the myth of “creative genius” and how everyone is capable of creativity, not just a select few. I think your comments are in line with this thinking.


  4. This is a real pearl – the shell may not attract (may not ;-)> ) but there’s actually more than one pearl inside.
    That ‘doing’ is like exercising a muscle.
    The ‘perfection’ aspect.
    The ‘share’ – publish – post aspects
    To comment further would be to listen again and elaborate.
    If you’re artistic – musical (call it as you will) there’s a route to unfolding something of the potential here.

    You two have aired a fine friendly and jovially relaxed session here with vital info, insight into a process and something of an atittude of approach.
    Warm hug from a very unproductive ‘studio’

  5. Hilarious and exhilarating! Hilarious because this is exactly what I do, but I just thought that I write a lot of tracks because I need to have a Jackson-Pollock kind of experience – i.e. that I’m not in touch with my sub-conscious enough to dredge out the best ideas, and that by literally speed-writing them, I’m forcing myself to pull it out of the dark, dusty recesses. Also, I just always thought it was because I was so full of ideas and too impatient to capture them. (I tend to put about 3 song ideas into my phone per day, and I have on occasion put 2 melody/lyrical hooks into the phone back to back).

    And exhilarating because you guys are fantastic! Funny and full of love for life and wisdom! My favorite kind of people! Your beautiful – both of you. AND…I got a good reminder of the power of deadlines! (which have served me well in the past, but I have tendency to forget that).

    So, in maybe a month when I’m finished mastering, you’ll be listening to the 12 tracks that made it through 75 or so in the hopper!

    Thanks guys – this is a fantastic podcast! You guys are both so cool!

  6. ’50 shades of Joe’…turtles pervert;)

    Thanks for the material! When you say ‘some of you might have experienced this or that’ – i feel like ‘yep, that’s exactly me, stuck on the mixing or creative or any other process’. The ideas and tips that come afterwards are sooo simple however I find them priceless, true gold. That’s because they BUILD MY CONFIDENCE in what I try to do is right, or what I try to aviod is right (right=tested and proven). It lets me focus on whats important and forget the rest. True gold.


  7. Thanks guys!
    Lots of good creative juice there!
    I’ve always been prolific with songwriting, but I’ve never challenged myself with big specific goal parameters like you did Joe. I’ll have to try that out!

    Re: getting better with time and practice. It’s so true. Yet, on the other hand, when I’ve reviewed the songs I’ve written over the course of my life, some of my best songs were written in my teens (17 years old to be precise) before I had become accomplished in my instrument skill levels & my understanding the complexities of music deepened. When I was younger, there was an innocence in my approach and deeper passion for lyrics before music stole and predominated my attention. In recent years I’ve literally had to discipline myself to write songs using basic chords (instead of fancy ones), simple time signatures (instead of polyrhythmic opuses) to allow room for more poetic lyrical content and melodic vocal lines. Kind of like devolving the process somewhat.

    It’s all a constant process of getting to know ourselves through music by evolving then stripping it all bare again…
    Getting philosophical, but I think you can dig the vibe of my rant…

    Thanks again…

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this, and I am deeply thankful to both of you for creating such a helpful, inspiring and enjoyable podcast. Keep up the great work! And I look forward to the album release. Best of luck!

  9. Love your stuff guys, just one thing though. The pareto principal as it applies the 80/20, the 20% is actually the problem that needs to be fixed. Where as the 80% is being negatively effected by the 20%. With this being said an example for a 12 song album would be writing only 15 songs, which would equate to 12 songs, with only 3 songs being the 20% that is negatively effected. Just an engineering student right now and figured you’d like to know. Although it is still a great principal, I’ve learned a lot from you guys. Keep up the good work

    1. That’s one way to take 80/20, but it was originally explained by Pareto himself to describe the distribution of wealth in society. 20% of the people controlled 80% of the wealth. You can apply 80/20 in both positive and negative things, but it’s more helpful to find the small percentage that get the best results and work on those. If I had written only 15 songs, I would not have nearly as good of an album. 8 of the songs came from the last 27 I wrote!

  10. This is great inspiration at the moment. I just started writing songs last September and am currently doing a song a week challenge. Not too intense!! Also glad the podcast is back.Gets me through many a late shift in work!!

  11. This, gentlemen, by far is the best episode I have heard from you guys… (all the episodes are great but..)

  12. Loved this episode, thanks guys! Joe: would you use this method for all future albums? Also, do you still put writing time in every day even though the album is finished?

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