posted on September 7, 2009 at 4:58 am






i gotta method
i always hadda method
right from the first time
i wrote my first poem for
the lyneham high school magazine
between the lynes 1970

everyone said to me oh you should write a poem for the mag
ok
i sat down
and i wrote the first line
it came to me unbidden
in its complete form
(despite impossibility infinity has been reached)
i didnt know what it meant
but i knew it was the beginning
the mag came out
everyone LOVED my poem
they all saw different things in it
they all saw my sinister half meanings n ambiguities
that i had accidentally n randomly thrown in there

i knew i was on to some thing
onto something
and then when i got my 4 track machine in 1977
it all become obvious
there is a method to raw creativity
there is an in
as i said
everybody got their own in
my in
was
to perceive the creative process
as
just that
a process
a process to be duly followed
into which
you throw
influences
mistakes
random flux
info n disinformation
memory
dream
hi jacked fact n nicked fiction
religion
collective subconscious
technique
lack of technique
but
nonetheless
the process is a process
it is not a miracle
it may be a series of tiny leaps of faith
but it is not one huge miracle (usually!)
so if youre a poet
let it begin with a blank page or screen
if youre a musician with your record button ready to go
as a painter you have your board or paper prepared
it doesnt matter
as a film maker you have all the disparate bits
and then you START
thats right
how obvious kilbey
you start
you start with something
and you stick at it
you start with something small
and you trust in the process
that the line will grow into a poem
the first click will turn into a song
etc
and then you manipulate it
use all your tricks
explore technology
stretch the system to its limit
do whats comfortable
talk about what you know
or what you dont know
i dont know
its easy
like picking foxes from a tree
its gotta look n sound easy
dont frown over it its fun boy
my method wrote song after song for me
i work with people but they cant really use it themselves
they aint got the tiny leaps of faith
like a true artist i can quickly identify n manipulate
elements within the process
like a cake isnt just the ingredients
its the cooking
you gotta experiment with the process
itll always yield something
you can start anywhere
a vague idea n your away
copy something to start with
then bury it in the background when the time comes
just start
just believe
just be yourself
dont talk yourself out of it
dont hesitate all the bloody time
dont question fate or good luck if they come yer way
tune in to your inner marc bolan
he worked miracles with simple techniques
and juxtaposition of themes
the song i wrote yesterday was very marc bolan
at its root
its ok to allude to him but not too much
go as close as you can
but dont directly imitate
i always felt rocknroll was the right medium
to express my biblical aspirations
to recreate the feeling of some ancient city
rome….very rocknroll
nineveh too
lemuria is more chill out ambient
england is forever in the summer of love in my mind
america is brutal like iggy
and its soft like the beach boys
and its wiry like bob dylan
and its smooth like the byrds
and australia is the triffs n the go bes
and the twilight zone is the church
because our songs are sposed to be mostly spooky
or strangely sad
or strangely sad/strangely triumphant
and i created me own tiny little genre
and now cats sit around n try n write songs like me
and they rarely can or do
hardly anyone can even do a good cover version of old utmw
because i dont know
it seems obvious to me to leave that song alone
voice in another room : take your own advice!
anyway
you start with your tiny thing
n you build n build
like you build a house
like you build a plastic model
like you build a bridge
i can write a song from any chords
the chords dont matter
forget your fancy chords
forget your fancy words
get simple
master simple
master short
master brevity
master getting out n still leaving em wanting more
listen / look for the possibility in the minutest things
examine everything you come across
suffer the slings n arrows of criticism
i print most of the good n bad comments
to show you it aint all rosy
of course my carping critics have become obsessed with me
they cant stop reading/watching
and they have become addicted to their negative gearing
i throw up an ingenious little song
they throw up more tedious bile
it is a phenomenon for sure
and it should be considered
when some
‘friend” tells ya what you do is iffy
so have some confidence n take heart
open up your garage band
and know theres a song in there waiting for you
start off unambitious
my song yesterday had a one note bass line
but did you think about that?
leave space or get dense
vary the two
get real dense if you wanna
make up the words
thats right make em up
the way i make em up
you just…make em up
you just say…fuck it…i’m gonna make some words up
5 minutes later you should have yer myrrh or yer block
or yer whatever
it dont take long
singalong
some words’ll come out ..you’ll see
thats what grant did
he just opened up his mouth n sang
n whatever he sang was usually it
and let it contain enough ambiguity
so someone else can get inside it n grok it
or make it totally impenetrable
make it a wall or a sieve
make it a screen or a salvo
manipulate the tiny elements a bit more
new technology allows for this like never before
dont listen to people who
say you cant do anything good on what you got
if you cant get a decent tune outta garage band
go n give up
or
refamiliarize yourself with the method
the method always delivers
as long s you follow the process
start with something
continue with something
give it some heart
give it some history
give it some mystery
keep it simple
keep it sweet
thats it
instant sk on a styx
i do it the same as i always did
my method with its process
i dunno if i can explain it anymore than that
id have to give demonstrations to show you
and still
the leaps of faith would remain invisible
i work on hints n hunches
songs hang in the air as fragile as smoke
someones ill timed words can dispel them
good god
i been writing songs since i was 15
thats nearly 4o years soon
still the process rules
still i believe
now i’m fast so fast
too fast for you
i instantly hear n see n know
but you gotta stick at it
stick stick stick
guess what?
i still love it
i love writing songs
i love the immediacy of garage band n the net
i love that i write n record n video it in a few hours
its up
n very kind people have subscribed overnight
in the old days that may have been a 2 year process
i never been much into hi fi or lo fi
however it comes out
i’ll make it sound good somehow
thank you to all my listeners
thank you even to the pests who haunt these pages
with their tedious tripe
your hatred surely borders on love
and yet
youre still here…why? we ask…why?
because…is it…
i am everything at once
ha ha
its funny
how i can be so much
and
so little
so rich so poor
so old yet…younger than most of you kids in deed n thought
and i knock out more good stuff
i am tireless n moving into the future
breaking the rules about getting soft
my stuff is cool
i know its cool
because i am an arbiter of cool
and yesterdays song
by my own standards was cool
cool as hell
and all because of my method
now
for your secret mantra to unlock all creativity
you’ll have to stay tuned
and all will be revealed
or
maybe not…..

36 Responses to “method man versus cool hand rant”

  1. avatar
    andmoreagain | 7 September 2009 at 8:16 am #

    Wish id had this info when I wuz 15. goood column today. Great cartoon like pics too…

  2. avatar
    if it's that easy | 7 September 2009 at 9:21 am #

    …why was Magician Among The Spirits shit, then?

  3. avatar
    barry the anon.s' mom | 7 September 2009 at 10:38 am #

    Kilbey if u don't collaborate with my boy Barry I'll make sure that he records a one-note new wave cover instead and when it flops dismally, like his lil weener when I sucky him, I'll make sure he hounds u on ur blog many years later. He's 49 and still lives with me but that's mah boy!
    Just so that u know!

  4. avatar
    princey | 7 September 2009 at 10:49 am #

    Thanx again and again for showing us the way sk:)

  5. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 7 September 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    i could follow your instructions, buddy, but i'd still end up with something that wasn't a tenth as good as what you (seemingly) effortlessly produce…..so i think i'll leave it to the experts….

    love always….

    commenter at 8.38….???!!!???

  6. avatar
    Freddie | 7 September 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    Wow! I like the pictures, very rock-n-roll artsy cool and sexy 🙂
    And believe me, most of of do best to stay out of the Garage Band.
    It’d yield something for sure, something noxious and we’d all send a copy to you. 😀

  7. avatar
    cazziem | 7 September 2009 at 2:00 pm #

    You make it sound so easy; and for me it's a recipe rather than a process. You even say yourself that “like a cake isnt just the ingredients
    its the cooking".

    This is what makes you a master of various arts; it’s your natural ability to vary the quantities of the ingredients, which inevitably leads to a whole range of creativity that caters to everyone’s taste buds at some point. Personally, I devour every beat and every syllable and still hunger for more!

  8. avatar
    RA | 7 September 2009 at 2:28 pm #

    if you could do it all over again, you'd do it all over who?

  9. avatar
    Anonymous | 7 September 2009 at 4:15 pm #

    Is this how you wrote Busdriver & Maybe These Boys?

  10. avatar
    veleska1970 | 7 September 2009 at 4:21 pm #

    thanks for this. i go through spells where my creative muse is working overtime, and this is very inspiring. you're right~~you have to have a method, and i think everyone's method is as individual as they are.

    love the pix!!

    lotza love….

  11. avatar
    bc | 7 September 2009 at 6:52 pm #

    i'm grateful for the time being, and for sharing your massive wisdom sk. i've found my music master!

  12. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 7 September 2009 at 8:25 pm #

    The Church's best music is in the twilight zone. It's equally surreal and ethereal. That's why it's the real deal.

  13. avatar
    davem | 7 September 2009 at 8:43 pm #

    What an amazing blog.
    Kilbey=genius.
    For me no artist unlocks the doors like you do.
    Strangely the more open, transparent and honest you are, the more shrouded and mystical it becomes.

  14. avatar
    Nick | 7 September 2009 at 8:53 pm #

    thanks again for an exceptional blog. I liked the mention of GarageBand, ahhh how it is used here. (and loved !) Nicked Fiction

  15. avatar
    Ellen | 7 September 2009 at 9:46 pm #

    Today's blog rings true and you say it with eloquence, too. I really like these photos – surreal and sexy.

  16. avatar
    Melquiades | 7 September 2009 at 10:30 pm #

    I love you Steve Kilbey. Just listening to P=A and Film is playing. Utterly exquisite lovely haunted beautiful.

    Your devoted Follower, Brian

  17. avatar
    Jason | 7 September 2009 at 11:31 pm #

    Ha ha! Was feeling a bit stuck and was just listening to Painkiller when I thought I'd look at the blog (it's been a while), and voila! Serendipity! My questions answered!

  18. avatar
    Anonymous | 8 September 2009 at 3:25 am #

    Magician is not shit. Why would such a no talent hack write these words? Because he is is transfixed by the splendor of comedown? Is he is wide eyed at the sounds of romany caravan? You have welcomed them all in, yet some refuse to go.

    There will always be knuckleheads! These people do not matter.

    Love the songs and the music blogs!

    -Jay

  19. avatar
    Mary | 8 September 2009 at 4:45 am #

    oh i love Film Mel, its very different, i dont know whats really about, but its one of my fave, its so relaxing to hear!!

  20. avatar
    Anonymous | 8 September 2009 at 5:17 am #

    The photos are sad.

  21. avatar
    steve kilbey | 8 September 2009 at 5:32 am #

    aw…i didnae wanna make you sad….

  22. avatar
    RA | 8 September 2009 at 6:31 am #

    he he… beam me up Scottie..

  23. avatar
    Steve who? | 8 September 2009 at 7:13 am #

    Have I stumbled upon some sycophantic grape peeling forum or is there more to it?

  24. avatar
    Anonymous | 8 September 2009 at 7:23 am #

    Going back to Magician Among The Spirits, I'll quote something said by someone called Teo Vil:

    "The reviews below of MATS are the best possible example of how fans can ruin their bands' credibility."

    And it's true. MATS is one of the best albums ever and one of the greatest leaps forward The Church have ever made. I had to purchase the two editions of this disc to enjoy both visions of this masterpiece.

  25. avatar
    Anonymous | 8 September 2009 at 7:43 am #

    Loved the read. Thanks for explaining the creative process of song writing, you definitely excel in it. Oh to be talented.
    The photos look like a sk comic book. Mean that in a good way. Can't keep up with this modern technology, you're getting very clever, didn't know a camera/computer could do so much.
    Did the Church knock back an Arias offer and they had to ask Robbie Williams to come over?
    Heard The Unguarded Moment on MMM today and the dj loves the band, said he grew up in the 80's to Church music and what great songs they have produced. Wanted to yell at the radio have you heard their latest music, it should be played now too. Hope he was aware the band is still going strong and getting better n better.

    Peace & love
    Therese

  26. avatar
    Melquiades | 8 September 2009 at 7:55 am #

    your words resonate like the sea's whispering moan

  27. avatar
    Anonymous | 8 September 2009 at 9:25 am #

    Yes, they are a bit sad, sad as in pathetic , I think the anon at 3.17 was trying to say.

    I got a bit embarassed looking at them, but others seem to think they're fun. All evens out in the end.

    The song sounds like it was done in garage band.
    PV

  28. avatar
    steve kilbey | 8 September 2009 at 10:05 am #

    oh why dont you bugger off then….?

  29. avatar
    melissa | 8 September 2009 at 10:21 am #

    i love the photo's, they look awesome.

    thanks SK for an inspiring read .. again!

    xx

  30. avatar
    Anonymous | 8 September 2009 at 10:31 am #

    But Steve himself said that Magician was crap – "we jam and the songs you get are those that go on the album and sometimes it just doesn't happen".
    Me, I agree with the Killer!

  31. avatar
    eek | 8 September 2009 at 10:57 am #

    I always get a kick out of the pics. Some of these remind me of Space Saviour live (when I look at them, I can practically hear the song — woohoo!). That's ALWAYS a good thing. 🙂

    "because i am an arbiter of cool"

    Good! It's about fucking time someone with taste got the job!

  32. avatar
    Anonymous | 8 September 2009 at 11:49 am #

    I don't bugger off cause I like 95% of yr stuff, very rarely I'll comment in the negative.
    It would be a bit strange to love everything you did.
    I think 95% is a good number, sorry if I've offended.
    PV

  33. avatar
    Anonymous | 8 September 2009 at 3:31 pm #

    PV, you must learn: yes-man, fanboy validation is the ONLY thing that's allowed here!

  34. avatar
    mint | 8 September 2009 at 4:40 pm #

    Anonymous said: "But Steve himself said that Magician was crap – "we jam and the songs you get are those that go on the album and sometimes it just doesn't happen".

    If that quote is true… then believe me, Steve. It really happened. Houdini did wonderful tricks, but you and the guys make timeless magic.

  35. avatar
    Christopher | 12 September 2009 at 4:53 am #

    I love the images. One thing I really enjoy about your blog and of course your lyrics is the stream of consciousness that seems to be going on. I guess when you are in the moment, they just pour out of you. Keep up the good work.

  36. avatar
    Midnight Toker | 21 September 2009 at 6:51 pm #

    "…and the twilight zone is the church because our songs are sposed to be mostly spooky or strangely sad or strangely sad/strangely triumphant…", I love that phrase all the way! Well said.

    Steve, I love this site "The Time Being" and all your work within without it. It surely is nice with this "so called" internet thingy, or to receive "Instant Gratification", for both you and us fans alike 🙂 It's a WIN WIN sit-you-a-tion!

    This site is very interesting in the fact, we're always curious on what, when, where, and how you have created your latest masterpiece…I am, and we are truly Grateful for this, Steve.

    Isn't it funny how the web has shaped our lives in so many ways since its inception!? It's a revolution for sure, or revelation?

    Keep on Rockin' In The Free World!


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