Songwriter Interview: Trent Gay
Posted by Mojocaster
It’s always neat when you’re a fan of a musician, and then you get to know them personally and you’re even more of a fan of theirs. No disappointment.
I’ve had some very interesting conversations with Trent over the past couple of years about music, musicians, songwriting, songs. One such conversation took place in the context of Trent’s music blog, – the Freezing Process. So it was only a matter of time before I’d ask Trent if he would agree to do this interview, and I was pumped when he accepted to play along.
Trent is a member of several bands, and just last year, one of them – Paranoid Social Club – hit the road and played a whole bunch of dates in a whole bunch of states around this great nation. One reason why I look forward to our conversations is because Trent is that music lover who doesn’t just focus on one genre of music. He’s a also a great Twitter follow, for those of you who are into that sort of thing, at @TrentTZA.
Without further ado, here’s the interview:
1. Please share whatever biographic details you feel comfortable sharing:
2. When it comes to songwriting, is this something you always did even before you were involved in gigging?
3. Do you write the lyrics first, then the music, the other way around, or is there no set formula?
4. Given a choice, would you rather write on your own or co-write?
5. As a songwriter, who is your main influence?
6. On “How Long”, which is my favorite song of yours, there’s an ache and an urging. May I ask if the song came from a personal experience? For that matter, is personal experience a main driver of your songwriting?
7. Do you believe in scheduled writing efforts – like every morning from 1000 to 1200hrs without fault – or do you prefer a more organic solution where you write whenever the fancy/inspiration strikes you?
8. How did Radio Silence come to be? [Listen to the song here]
9. Have you ever said or heard someone say something and thought to yourself “There’s a song in that”, and then wrote the song? If yes, which song is that?
10. I have seen you wield a guitar fearlessly on stage many times; do you use other instruments to write songs?
11. Is there a song that came together in less than 30 minutes from original idea to finished product?
12. When you write a song, what makes you think “Yup, that one will be on the CD” as opposed to “I like you, I’m happy I wrote you, but you won’t end up on the CD”?
13. When you write a song, if you write it with just an acoustic guitar, how much of the final arrangement as a full band enters into the equation?
None. I write on acoustic guitar and the full band arrangement doesn’t enter my mind other than a general vibe, if that. Then I bring it to people I trust and am open to whatever they feel, even if it’s a direction I hadn’t considered. In many cases those surprises from other people are some of my favorite parts of the process. That’s when a song becomes something more than what it was when I wrote it, through a creative contribution from someone else.
14. Which songwriter out there do you think doesn’t receive enough accolade for his/her work?
15. Do you ever use tricks to “prime the pump” when the inspiration well has run dry? If so, what are they?
16. Do you have any advice for beginner songwriters?
17. If I told you can have three things of your choice to go write a song… what would those three things be?
18. When do you know that the time to stop tinkering with a song has come?
19. Please finish the sentence: Songwriting is…
20. What should be know about the upcoming Arc of Sky CD?