From our 'writers' in action...

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Writing on the Fringe with Powderfinger

by Rhiannon Lloyd

Bendigo Library was the home of the Write on the Fringe Festival during this year’s Bendigo Writers Festival.

This year the Write on the Fringe held a range of free events for individuals of all ages and interest.
One of these sessions featured former Powderfinger member, now solo artist, Darren Middleton.

Darren and a number of music enthusiasts spent their Saturday morning discussing song writing, being in bands, learning new techniques and ideas for their music. 

As well as providing feedback on their own songs, the overriding theme of the session was song writing.
Through discussions, the main concerns of the aspiring songwriters were brought forward. This led to an important conversation about some of the key elements: chords, lyrics, melody and structure. While Darren believes that there is no ‘method to the madness of songs’, it is best to be in a moment of inspiration and use past experiences.   

Established through the groups’ conversation song writing needs to taken as a process that is about building connections, not just about the lyrics. While the vocal and the lyrics are the connection with the listener, the instrumental components are just as important. A major factor in the band environment is lyricists' thinking that once they have handed over their lyrics their involvement in that song is over. However, that is not the case: vocalists and lyricists for bands need be a part of the instrumental aspect of the writing process to ensure that everyone is being involved in music production and the desired results achieved.

The most interesting practice of the day was the idea of listening to songs backwards. Darren, who has used this method before, told session goers that he found new melodies and tunes through this practice. 

Overall, the techniques, ideas and concepts given throughout the session were both inspiring and helpful. The approach that Darren took to his workshop session allowed everyone attending to become actively involved.