Just a few weeks ago I was scheduled for a songwriting session with my producer and songwriting collaborator, Khari Dandy. We were unable to meet up in the studio to write together and decided to try and share ideas in the comfort of our home studios through a virtual space, in our case Skype. Once we managed to get everything set up and running the ideas started to flow and we both began playing, looping, chopping sounds and sharing ideas. The interesting thing about writing in a virtual space is that you can each be in your own space with your own gear and equipment, exactly the way you like it at your fingertips. At the same time you also hear and see what the other person is doing in their space and are able to offer feedback in real-time. This wasn’t something I had thought of earlier but proved to be very enlightening and a mutually beneficial experience. It allowed both Khari and I to create a different kind of workflow, we were both able to create at the same time, only stopping to comment or listen to a critique.
I personally love collaborating to write songs and sometimes find it limiting when I’m in somebody else’s space or somewhere without access to the gear that I like to write and record with at home. It can be physically and mentally uncomfortable to be in someone else’s studio. In this sense virtual songwriting can be seen as advantage, being at your creative best when you feel the most comfortable. It also potentially allows you to work in real-time with a collaborator far away or in another part of the world. We both found the experience to be very productive and it lasted for hours while we sent parts and ideas back and forth, the outcome of which contributed to some solid songs. Virtual writing could very well be a viable option for connections made right here on Indaba music and help flush out song or remix ideas while also taking it that one step further, both contributors being able to create together in real time. It’s much more interactive working together and giving feedback verbally and instantly as opposed to sending finished tracks back on forth and having to wait for the reply. It is also fun to watch and take notes on how the person on the other side works and creates within their own environment when in their element. The experience had a profound effect on the way I view the future of songwriting and producing.
Next time you are unable meet in person for session consider meeting in a virtual space. You may just be on the verge of writing your next big hit.