MKIO Songwriting Writer's Block 2

Composition and Writing

Right now, I’m helping to write lyrics with Tash to finish off the new Mankind Is Obsolete record. This album in particular has been one of the most challenging ones yet; it seems that for every step forward we make, we go two steps back because we’ll get caught on a part that just doesn’t seem to want to come out. Tonight is a great example; we’re working on the newest in progress songs, and we’re stuck on a chorus. We made (what I think) an awesome first verse, but the chorus is eluding both of us for some reason. And to top it off, Tash isn’t feeling so great about her role as a writer/singer because of it!

This seems to happen a lot; the best remedy that I’ve found is to just keep on showing up to the page on a regular basis, no matter if you manage to write an entire album worth of material in one sitting or just end up banging your head against the wall. It has been the only way that we’ve been able to get through the material on this album; that is, by writing every day no matter what. Though, in retrospect, I would be hypocritical to say that we have followed that rule – life has a way of filling up our schedules so much that some days we don’t even have the strength to have a writing session.

I started school for the fall semester; though I am only taking two classes it is more than enough. Between that and working non-stop on establishing myself as a complete, independent entity, it has only recently become more challenging to meet. But that’s just it – it’s all about stepping up to the challenge. This album has been a long time coming and we have no choice but to make sure we do it justice. I think that is part of the problem – the fact that we have set such a high bar for ourselves. We are truly so close to finishing, and I think psychologically, we’re almost looking for those points of failure, those self imposed limitations and inadequacies that can bring anyone down.

My goal now is to make sure that we make time no matter what to work on writing. And in the meantime, if anyone has any tips for dealing with writer’s block let me know.


2 comments on Working with writer’s block

  1. Reply

    Dave Rockower

    writers block… since its typically lyrics that pose the obstacle in writers block… or at least the battle between the two (lyrics and music) – i find its helpful – as I am doing right now – to use the lyrics/ midi function in my software, which will basically put your words and melody via midi up as if it were karaoke, so you can get a better sense of the lyrical impact against the song.

    another tip – time yourself… for example..set a timer to a half hour…and then get up for five mins… it feels better to know that you will be reminded in a half hour that youve been there for only a half hour, than it will feel to constantly look at a clock knowing you have to work in 5 hours.

    Paraphrase what you want the song to be about. Write it down, how you want to re-color the chorus, etc.


    your beast in the east

    • Reply

      Scott Landes

      That’s really interesting – I’ve never heard of that functionality before! What software do you use? I use Pro Tools 10 and have never seen that sort of functionality before. Thanks so much for the tips, and hope all is treating you well in NY these days.


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