Rock Mafia is the Model of the Future
This final blog for the 2015 SAC Challenge is supposed to reflect on what we learned in the past 6 weeks.
I learned three major things – (a) that the Rock Mafia model is the model of the future and (b) I (we) need good production (c) co-writing via email can work.
I visited my first TAXI Road Rally in L.A. last November. Tim and Antonina were interviewed live on stage by Michael Laskow. They described their writing process – a house with 8 writers in separate studios. When they feel that they’ve “got one”, they pull ALL 8 writers onto the same song.
An 8-way co-write.
I just shook my head and thought “only in L.A.” could they do something as dumb as that.
Mass producing cheap songs, hit radio plonk.
Then, in week 1, Matt Dusk asked us to write modern hits for him. The first song he mentioned was “The Big Bang” by Rock Mafia.
I sat back and listened to all of the songs he mentioned, then I did a detailed analysis of The Big Bang (here: https://guitarvydas.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/analysis-the-big-bang/ ).
By the time I finished my analysis, I wrote “I’m beginning to get why 8 co-writers might be better than 2”.
I could see a number of influences neatly sewn together into a finished product.
My disgust for N-way co-writes dissolved. In week 2, I participated in a 3-way write. Week 4 was 3-way and 2-way. Week 5 brought a 4-way co-write and week 6 got it up to a 5-way.
I found that I could concentrate on what I liked / what I was good at, when I had the confidence that the other aspects of the song would be handled by my competent co-writers.
This way, the splits are less, but the work is less, the song comes together quickly and has a higher quality result.
Then comes the production angle.
The pros screening our work forwarded well-produced songs more frequently than not.
This signifies the change in the song industry – the industry no longer develops songs. They expect the writers/artists/producers to bring them a fully finished product.
Oh, wait! That’s the Rock Mafia model.
The Rock Mafia creates all aspects of a song (incl. I guess, the video).
You need at least one of everybody on the team.
Writing via email – we used MP3’s, soundcloud, stems (each track as a separate audio file) for working on the music and we used email for lyric work. Skype was used only once in the past 6 weeks (on the teams I was on). This allowed us to work independently on our various schedules. It all seemed to work out fine.
That’s what I learned and that’s how I hope to move forward this coming year.
Thanks SAC, thanks Debra, thanks James, thanks to all the Challenge-posers, thanks to all the participants who took time to further my education in the forum.
1. Your Name
Paul Tarvydas, aka guitarvydas
2. What was the hardest challenge or hardest part of the challenge for you and why?
Production and not enough time – it would have been nice to have two weekends for each Challenge.
3. What did you enjoy most about participating in this experience?
Being completely freed from having to create a complete song by myself.
4. What is something significant that you learned from taking on this challenge?
I’ve already written, above, about the Rock Mafia model, production and email co-writes.
5. Would you do this type of challenge again? Why or why not?
I look forward to this every year, to remove the ache of February. This pitch-based set of challenges was quite enlightening and I would enjoy repeating it.
6. Your link to your Matt Dusk submission.
Our week 1 pitch to Matt Dusk is “Carnival” on Mikalyn’s blog https://soundcloud.com/mhay67 (to be updated later this evening).
The week 6 song is here https://soundcloud.com/mhay67/different-kind-of-christmas .
Is it a Christmas song or is it a Taylor Swift song? Or both?