chords

Dave, Patrick, Phil, Vanessa, and Bruce

Patrick Ballantyne – master songwriter

Popular guest co-host and guest on Song Talk Radio, Patrick Ballantyne dropped by the studio to share two of his well-crafted songs. “Where Things Used to Be” is great example of the skillful combination of melody, structure, and lyrics to evoke a strong feeling of longing in the listener. Listen to the bridge in particular and the completely surprising chord on the word “dreams”. Patrick’s song “Plans” starts with a great line, “In California there are dates in the trees…” and connects to “dates on my calendar”. The message of a man who sees that he must change is both poignant and honest. As we discussed the tunes, we talked about:

  • “Hit-a-month” project
  • Having a manager
  • How tasty an E flat chord can be in the key of G
  • The use of “pause” in songwriting
  • Co-writing and collaboration
  • Ticket sales and merchandise (how to make money in music)
  • Kickstarter, Go Fund Me, FACTOR
  • Lifting a song through chord progressions
  • Natural or loads of experience?
  • Rhymezone.com for alternative rhymes

Listen to the show here

Neel, Sarah, Charlotte, Vanessa, Phil, and Patrick,

Commanding pop songwriting with the Command Sisters

Young pop sensations the Command Sisters (Charlotte and Sarah) joined us to talk about writing as a sibling duo and working with producers. Patrick Ballantyne filled in for Bruce.

We also talked about:

  • how to write a 2-chord song
  • the musical Book of Mormon
  • whether to repeat lyrics in each chorus
  • the challenge of writing direct lyrics vs. abstract lyrics
  • when editing, do you change the lyrics or the melody?

Download the lyrics for the songs, Back To You and Low Profile.

Listen to the show

Watch the live performances

Connect with the Command Sisters

Command Sisters website

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

youTube

Joel, Phil, Carmen, Emily, and Bruce

Doin’ that Blues Thang with Emily Mac

Emily Mac is a singer-songwriter and a regular at our Songwriter’s Roundtable Meetup. She joined us with piano player Joel to perform and talk about two of her songs, Back to the Rhythm and When It’s Gone. Special guest host Carmen Toth filled in for Neel. We talked about:

  • how learning to play an instrument helps to ground your accapella writing
  • why it’s good to be the stupidest person in the room (when collaborating)
  • how songwriting is like working a muscle
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Muscle Shoals
  • Carmen’s (best ever) explanation for millennial whoops in pop songs: “You have to write lyrics that a drunk person can sing”
  • opportunuties for changes through lyrics, arrangements, and musical centres
  • why you should hold back if you’re a strong singer

Listen to the whole show:

Connect with Emily:

Website

Instagram

Twitter

youTube

Facebook

Neel, Bruce, Vanessa, Braeden, and Phil

Why work with a producer? with Braeden Mitchell

Braeden Mitchell returned to Song Talk Radio for his third visit and contributed to a very lively and informative discussion of songwriting and recording. He shared two songs with us,  Glory Days and Everyday Girl, both from his upcoming EP release. We talked about:

  • moving from a pop-rock sound to a folk-country style
  • a producer’s influence on approach, arrangements, structure, and more
  • why perform songs in a club to “test-drive” them before recording
  • how co-writing helps create a better song
  • working with Oh Susanna
  • how to meet other song writers (at shows just say, “hello, I loved your song”)
  • Braeden’s upcoming EP release show at the Dakota Tavern
  • Murphy’s Law’s of Songwriting

Listen to the complete show

Follow along with the lyric sheets

Glory Days

Everyday Girl

Watch the performance videos

Connect with Braeden

Website

Twitter

Facebook

youTube

Instagram

Soundcloud

Neel, Bruce, Jeremy, Vanessa, Phil, and Etain

Writing blue-eyed soul with Jeremy Voltz

Crazy talented Jeremy Voltz joined us with his Stevie Wonder inspired, but totally original songs, In the Clear and Wrong With Me.

We talked about:

Listen to the show

Download the lyrics

In the Clear

Wrong with Me

Watch the live performances

Connect with Jeremy

Artist website:
http://jeremyvoltz.com

Twitter:
http://twitter.com/jervoltz

Facebook:
http://facebook.com/jeremyvoltzmusic

YouTube:
http://youtube.com/user/yardapeJV

SoundCloud / MySpace:
http://soundcloud.com/jeremy-voltz

Neel, Etain, Vanessa, Phil, Patrick, Alon and Ivan posing

Electronic music creation with Audio Insurgency

Toronto-based virtuoso electronic music duo Audio Insurgency joined us for a second time to talk about their latest projects, including an album of inventive video game music covers.

Audio Insurgency is made up of Alon Rodovinsky and Ivan Popov. The guys previously appeared on Song Talk Radio in early 2016.

Patrick Ballantyne filled in for Bruce for this show. Thanks Patrick!

We talked about:

  • song writing vs. music creation
  • orchestral-like arrangements
  • how you know when your song is done (hint: song structure is the key)
  • the roles between Alon as composer and Ivan as producer and sound engineer
  • using a melody note outside the chord to open up a section of the song
  • ways to come up with your title for an instrumental piece
  • whether or not to change your tonal center in a dance song
  • The 440Hz vs 432Hz tuning debate

Listen to the show:

 

The ambient sounds of Louis Moon

Moody, original and unexpected are three words that describe the song writing of Louis Moon.

He started his musical life when he took piano lessons at age seven. Three years ago, influenced by Korean Hip Hop artists, he began to create his own beats. More recently he added lyrics and his own voice to the mix. On this program you’ll hear two Louis Moon songs; “With You” and “Morrissey Love”. We talked about:

Follow the lyrics here:

With You by Louis Moon

Morrissey Love by Louis Moon

Listen to the program here:

Phil, Bruce, Ashley, Vanessa, and Neel

Writing for others with Ashley Braga

Toronto and Mississauga-based singer-songwriter Ashley Braga joined us for two live performances and insights into her unique approach to songwriting. While most songwriters turn largely inwards to write, Ashley provides a service writing songs for other people, based on their relationships and emotions. Often the songs are for engagements, weddings, or funerals.

Other stuff we talked about:

  • writing from melodies and a central idea
  • the Ontario Conservatory of Music
  • Ashley’s childhood family experience in realizing how songs can move people
  • shifting from piano to guitar
  • how long is too long to write a song
  • how to use a cliche and get away with it
  • the tension between happy songs and gloomy songs
  • non-verbal communication as inspiration for songs about others
Phil's birthday with cake
It was also Phil’s birthday!

Listen to the whole show:

Download the lyrics for Believe and The Other Side.

Watch the live performances:

1972 revisited with Kirk Felix and friends

Kirk Felix arrived at our little studio with a whole band; bass, violin (fiddle), and cajon. As we did our sound check the Song Talk crew all savoured the gentle, soothing and heart-warming sounds of a folk ensemble. Patrick Ballantyne sat in for Neel Modi who was on assignment. In addition to two very authentic folk songs (Dusty Roads and Whispering Peace), we talked about:

Find more Kirk Felix:

www.Facebook.com/kirk.felix.73

https://www.youtube.com/user/Jensguard1968

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/KirkFelix

Read the lyrics here:

Whispering-Peace

Dusty-Roads

Listen to the whole program:

Watch the performance video:

Bruce, Blair, Paul, Vanessa, Etain, and Neel

From funk to funky pop with Paul Vos

Born in England, raised in The Netherlands, Paul Vos shared two of his songs with us at Song Talk Radio.

The first was “Lost Along the Way” a song about finding love when you least expect it. Listen for the awesome 80’s background vocals on the chorus! The second tune, “Heaven in My Hands” had us all dancing to its funky beat and tasty guitar licks. It also sparked a lively discussion on the merits and possible pitfalls of repetition in a song. Over the course of the program we also talked about:

  • writing songs with only a bass line or a beat
  • How some lyrics sound like something else when they’re heard (like “re-find it”)
  • How long should a pre-chorus be?
  • How a song can benefit from a bridge, a breakdown, or an instrumental interlude
  • Whether a singer’s vocal style should change dramatically during a song

Blair Packham filled in for Phil for this show. Thanks Blair!

Listen to the whole show

Download Paul’s song lyrics

Connect with Paul