Tensions run high on Wednesday nights when Colorado Springs musicians Dax Gillette, Patrick McConnell and Dave Sweetin race the clock to create 10 new songs in 10 nights. Find out what happens when the clock starts ticking in Vol. 1 of The 4 Hour Song Project.
Bound by time, working purposely and sometimes furiously without the luxury of re-takes, the pace creates a discipline. Emotions boil over resulting in raw, energetic grooves, off- the-wall lyrics and bouncing instrumentals.
“It’s a sweatbox…I have a group of guys in China cranking out songs every 4 minutes” - Drake Diamond
INTERVIEW with project manager Drake Diamond and T4HSP co-creator Patrick McConnell.
Q: Bob Dylan said ‘there’s enough songs’ and ‘we don’t need any more’. What do you think about that?
PMc: What does Bob Dylan know?
Q: What is The 4 Hour Song Project?
PMc: It’s a useful and productive song writing exercise that uses a restrictive four hour format to create new music. All songs are created from scratch in one night with minimal post editing and polishing.
DD: Nothing motivates an artist like a deadline and a check. Am I wrong baby?
Q: What other projects have you managed Drake?
DD: I work on a lot of intellectual projects, you wouldn’t understand them.
PMc: Drake Diamond has a picture of himself with Elvis in his wallet. He showed me another picture of him leaning up against a Rolls Royce. Having Drake involved has given T4HSP a lot of credibility.
DD: I heard about what these guys were doing in the studio. So one night I went over and sat down on their couch and checked it out for myself. It was damn fine couch, real comfy. I knew right away I wanted to get involved. So I dropped everything I had going in my life and took the lead on the project. I’m taking Dax, Dave, Patrick and T4HSP to the next level.
PMc: And we let him sleep on our couch.
DD: Get back in your cage.
Q: Can you break down how T4HSP works?
PMc: At the beginning of each recording and performance session, we discuss a fresh song idea and the basic concept, genre and arrangements of the song. We shift gears when Drake Diamond gives us the signal that it’s time start working on our individual parts. Tensions start running higher when we start laying down tracks. There’s limited time, so when your number is called you really have to nail it in one or two takes. This can be frustrating if you’re used to seeking perfection with unlimited takes. It takes a lot of concentration and focus to find the clarity and serenity to perform under that kind of pressure.
DD: That’s when I start yelling through my bullhorn, “KEEP MOVING PEOPLE!” I force them to give everything they can into four hours - all their blood, sweat and tears.
PMc: It’s true, he does. It’s pretty annoying. In the final hour we arrange the tracks, record the vocals and do the final mix-down. Before we leave, we burn a cd and that’s the song. Then we move on to a new song the following week.
Q: Is it stressful creating against the clock?
PMc: I feel a little pressure on my way to the studio, but once I walk thru that door I feel very relaxed. I’m addicted to the way my brain fires in the kind of environment. Being bound by time is very freeing. I can just let go and relax – and listen to a lunatic telling me what time it is all night long.
DD: Everyone has a song inside them waiting to get out. They just need a few hours in a high pressure environment, working against the clock to ‘coax’ it out.
Q: What’s the mood in the studio at the beginning of the night compared to the mood at the end of the night?
DD: It’s mellow at the beginning of the night. No one has the shakes. At the end of the night, there is a big release and we can all finally relax. The middle part is where all the action is. I force them to capture their spirit in 1-2 takes and we move on to the next part of the song. I’ve pinned artist’s shoulders against walls to restrain them from becoming an unwelcome guest in a song, “Let it go…or I’ll lay you out on that couch!”
Q: How do you know when a new song is truly done?
DD: It’s the end of the night.
Q: Do you ever go back and revisit a song to add a little polish?
DD: No, we have a steadfast rule. That would defeat the whole…
PMc: Actually, we flimflammed a few.
DD: Wait, what? When?
PMc: When you were asleep on the couch.
Q. Now that you guys have hit it big and you have the cars, the girls and the couches, what’s next?
DD: T4HSP is catching on in a big way. Artists are using it to get out of their song writing slumps and jumpstart their creativity and increase their productivity. The next logical step is to take production overseas. I have a group of guys in China cranking out songs every 4 minutes.
Watch for Vol.2 of T4HSP ‘It’s Always Brightest before The Dusk’ coming soon.
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In: Other Entertainment
Tags: T4HSP, The 4 Hour Song Project, PMc, The Four Hour Song Project, Welder, Underwater, Lord Pufferfish, Bound By Time, Drake Diamond
Location: Colorado, United States (load item map)
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