Out of interest – an older article out of the archives – with relevance to the “Sunset Ribbon Red” video which was recently added.
All songs start with an idea. The idea can take many forms – a melody, a guitar riff, lyrical content, etc. Occasionally even a title that one likes, as was the case with our song “Real live girl”. “Treading air”, however, started with a strum pattern. A Coldplay-inspired strum pattern, to be precise!
I had long admired Coldplay’s song “Yellow”, in particular the simple, steady strumming that ran throughout it. Funny how all the best songs seem to be the most simple ones. I remember sitting at home working out the chords for “Yellow” on my guitar one day, thinking that FlatStanley could use a song that had that nice gentle yet driving feel to it. So continuing the strum pattern I fiddled around with some other chords, when suddenly a melody popped into my head: “I’m not supposed to be in love with you …”
This is probably the most common form of idea that starts a song for me – a melody that I consider to be catchy enough to be a chorus. Often they come to me while driving. Then, so as not to forget them, I have to keep singing them loudly to myself until I get home so I can record them. This was very irritating, not to mention boring, in the days when I was living in Scarborough – a good 45 minutes from work! Later wisdom prevailed, and I acquired a walkman/dictaphone to solve this problem. The band refers to this little gem as our “mini recording studio”, on which quite a few entire songs have been written to and from home.