Megan Slankard | Interview |
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TT- Thanks for taking the time to speak to us! I understand you’ve been playing and writing for some time now – your first CD was produced when you were 18 right, how was that experience for you??
MS- Hey Terence! Well, thanks for having me. Much appreciated! Yes, I’ve been playing and writing since I was about 10 years old. I started recording for fun when I was 16, using Digital Performer on my dad’s Mac. Fun stuff, but I wasn’t very good at it at first, that’s for sure. At one point, in the middle of a night of recording carried away, the computer just turned off, “bling.”
Just like that, everything was gone, every session, every song. It had all evaporated into the ether. Of course my parents were awakened by my cries of dismay, pounding on their door, 4:00 am, and dad came out and fixed everything.
It was a great learning experience; and I learned as I went along. By the time I decided it was going to be an album, I had figured most of the program out. I bought a decent large diaphram CAD mic from someone who got it from someone else from eBay, and away I went. It’s definitely not perfect, but I’m still proud of myself for figuring it out!
TT- And now you’re in a studio?
MS- Yes, now my band is in the studio working on our new full length record. We recorded all of the basics live at Hyde Street, Studio A in San Francisco and are continuing to do overdubs and vocals in a cool little metal workshop in Oakland, CA. We’re near completion and plan to release after the holidays in the New Year.
TT- Could you let us in on your writing style and habits? Do they start as melodies or as chords first??
LC- I usually try to allow myself a few hours a day to just sit down and try to be creative. After all, this is a big part of my job, and if I boiled it all down, the first thing that matters to my career. First thing, because without the songs, what can I do? Since I am a morning person, the first thing I do when I wake up is work on all of the business stuff that I’ve let build up the day before. Make myself a good cup of tea and get to work.
I try to work a few hours before noon when I like to stop and pick up my guitar. I don’t try to force out songs if they’re not happening, but had a good bit of advice from a musical mentor who said, “Don’t deny them.” The worst thing I could do is get distracted because I think the idea is “stupid” and stop a “bad” song from turning into a potentially great song. Still, it’s easy to get frustrated, distracted, or even bored if the ideas don’t come at all.
My muse tends to be a flighty little fellow, always dashing about, hiding under everyday dilemmas and distractions. So, as Derek Sivers (of CD Baby fame) said once at a seminar, “You have to meet inspiration half way.” I go and inspire myself. I read, or write freely without form, just whatever pops into my head. Sometimes I draw or take a walk…
When I am feeling inspired to sit down and write, I go at it. Pencil and paper, or lap top. I usually record speedy scratch ideas and melodies onto my ipod with the extremely handy Belkin Tunetalk and when I’m on the road, sometimes into my cell phone voice mail. Words and music seem to come together. I may start with a “catchy phrase” or a little guitar lick, but they end up relying a lot on each other to build a solid structure to the songs.
When lyrics or melody come separately, I have a much harder time matching up the other. Perhaps this is one of the reasons the Beatles had so much success: two songwriters (incredible songwriters, might I add,) who could help each other out and build on ideas.
TT- So do you have a set timing you tend to write to?
LC- I don’t really stick to any particular time signature. Whatever comes out I guess. 4/4 usually. 3/4, 6/8, 5/4, and 7/8 also make appearances every once in a while. I love to play around and keep itinteresting while I write.
TT- This is a guitar blog so I’m going to have you what your set up is…
LC- I have a simple set up: two acoustic guitars, Taylor 614ce with factory Fishman pickup, and a Guild D55 with a new and very delicious LR Baggs M1 and iMix combo. Boss tuner, G7th capos, and Martin Strings. I usually like to sing into a Shure Beta 87A.
Megan Slankard http://www.meganslankard.com/
©2008 Terence Tan.
Pictures courtesy of Megan Slankard 2008 respectively.
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