MUZEHUB WEEKLY FEATURE: BILL LAURANCE
The Snarky Puppy special 'Rhythm and Booty' vibe is back on MuzeHub with Snarky's member/pianist/keyboardist - Bill Laurance. Bill talks about music, his life as a composer, producer, his journeys as a Snarky Puppy member and also about his latest works and the industry. Enjoy the exclusive audio interview below!
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(Interview taken by 'HoleHeart' - a group of interviewers who doesn't reveal themselves)
Question 1: How are you Bill? How are things happening now? Are you writing new stuff? Anything coming up?
Question 2: Wanted to discuss your writing process. What I've noticed is that you have got a particular style in your chord progressions and in the melody, the way they play alongside the chords. It's more like you have the melody line accompanying the chords than the opposite. What is your format? Do you come up with the chords or the melody first? I mean, would you be able to explain the whole process in general?
Question 3: Let's talk about the idea Prosody for a moment, like Aristotle says: "every element in the piece of art is acting together in unity to serve the purpose or the 'why' of the song." Berklee College of Music's songwriting professor Pat Pattison talks about it as well in songwriting and how it can help you express so well through your art. Well, how do you keep up with it when you are writing? Is it a conscious thing? How much important do you think it is? Do you have the title of the song in your head or the destination of the song in your mind before you begin with the song or you generally name it after you write it?
Question 4: There is a very common expression, ' one man's music, another man's noise' and I don't know why I find it very clichéd, you know. It's more like even if you write bad music, if I don't like it, that particular statement can justify it! I find it really ridiculous. What would you say on that? I believe that after a certain level, it all comes down to quality. It can be subjective but it's not bad - you know? I mean I might not listen to a pop act but rather, come down and listen to Snarky Puppy instead. But that's my taste. However, that won't mean that the pop act is necessarily bad or noise. But don't you think this particular notion is quite misinterpreted? What's your say on that, since a lot of aspiring composers/ producers seem to misunderstand that particular statement?
Question 5: During writing, there are times when it just comes to you. Some composers tend to record it just the way it comes and some tend to edit it. But the thing is during the editing, maybe getting carried away becomes very obvious. Do you feel that too? How do you maintain that limit to that editing part? How do you keep yourself away from that deliberate tendency to edit your inspiration? Whom do you believe more? The higher authority or yourself?
Question 6: Who does the orchestration for what you write? Who does the rhythm section, the arrangements, etc.? Is it always you or you like to have ideas from others too? Which process expresses you the most?
Question 7: Top or Best 3 albums according you, that changed the way you thought about your music.
Question 8: We have been asking this a lot to other artists we are interviewing too. What's the issue in the music business right now? Obviously there are inequalities in terms of money among the labels, the streaming services and the artists. What is the reason for this chaos? or rather, the sense of chaos? Someone clearly, isn't doing their job! The artists complain about money - The labels hardly do things for the welfare, or at least that's what we understand after studies and reports. There are great labels like GroundUp Music but still being an independent label it's not generally easy for sponsoring an artist from the very beginning - the development and the writing process and then taking it till the post production, marketing, growing their career, etc. On the other hand, the major labels are very much capable of doing that but again, there are frequent complaints of them not compensating the artists properly, like it has been, always. Which kind of mentality do you think is actually creating this kind of problems? Why isn't there a proper and more importantly, a fair system for the artists to have opportunities in order to build their career and really having the opportunity to be big, like 'major label big'? Do you think ambitions in artists changed too? Will an artist still have the courage to think that he/she can be as big as Led Zeppelin or Frank Sinatra today?
Question 9: Does minor always have to be sad and major always happy? We have heard sad songs in major scales and vice versa. As a composer, how can you trick the mind of your audience using prosody and yet, express sadness or happiness or different forms of emotions in the valence scale? We don't mind you playing a little bit on your piano and explaining some instances like those though.
Question 10: Let's talk about Snarky Puppy. Tell us a bit about the journey. How were the days in the beginning and which moment was the first break? According to you, when did you realize that it's all coming true now?
Question 11: In the song 'Curtains' by Snarky Puppy, you have an out of the world Piano solo in the middle. To me, it's one of the best solos I have ever heard in my life. Can you share the moment? How did you come up with that solo? Also, there is a very common progression of VI min - V Maj - IV Maj and then repeating. and yet it didn't sound 'commercial' or 'generic' at all. It's so amazingly played, the little part with a bit of modulation after that, Ahh! so damn beautiful and catchy that it almost acts like a hook to the ears. You keep wanting it more. So, how did you come up with that whole solo? How did you prepare for that mind-set wise?
Question 12: Finally, any tip for the aspiring musicians? Composers especially? I feel mind-set is the ultimate thing and how can one maintain a sane mind-set, what not to think while composing? What can be the most important tip for composition?