Obaro Ejimiwe aka Ghostpoet talks about his writing process on the album I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep and building songs from long improvisations in the studio. During the course of the chat, Obaro also reflects on his lack of affiliation with particular genres, the political nature of his words, and his relationship with social media.
In this episode, the tremendous Jeff Tweedy of Wilco provides a masterclass on creativity and songwriting as he discusses his outstanding new book How To Write One Song, and his excellent recent solo album Love Is The King. If you enjoy hearing the world's best break down practical and useful strategies that you can apply to your own work, look no further.
EELS frontman Mark Oliver Everett (aka 'E') drops in to talk about about the writing of the band's new album Earth To Dora and his creative process. During the chat, Mark highlights the power of resilience, how he collaborates with his bandmates, and his love for John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band.
The formidable Lucinda Williams chats with Simon and Brian about the writing of her latest album Good Souls Better Angels. Talking through her expansive catalogue, the veteran artist uncovers a range of themes that have informed her songwriting and her outlook on the music industries including politics, domestic abuse, depression, experiences with record labels and reviews on social media.
Songwriter, comedian and actor Tim Minchin talks about the writing of his debut studio album Apart Together. During this in-depth chat about the creative process, Tim also reveals how he approaches writing songs for musicals like Matilda and Groundhog Day, and why his comedy influences are The Beatles, The Kinks, and Queen.
Decorated singer-songwriter Gary Barlow joins Simon and Brian to chat about his new album Music Played By Humans, his ongoing passion for writing and recording, and his work with Take That. In this wide-ranging conversation, Frodsham's favourite son talks through his glittering catalogue of hits, explains what it was like waiting for cues from Ken Dodd, and reveals how he once got Prince talking about his favourite studio gear.
The great Midge Ure drops in to discuss the 40th anniversary reissue of Ultravox's seminal album Vienna. The legendary songwriter talks about his writing process throughout his extraordinary career from his work with Rich Kids, Visage and Phil Lynott, to the collaborative miracle that was Band Aid's 'Do They Know It's Christmas?'
For this episode, Simon and Brian are joined by singer-songwriter Andrew Roachford to chat about the writing of his new record Twice In A Lifetime. The veteran musician talks about working with Beverley Knight, why he likes singing in his living room, and what it was like to see Alan Partridge miming his classic hit 'Cuddly Toy'.
Singer-songwriter Katie Melua talks with Simon and Brian about the writing of her absorbing new record Album No. 8. During the conversation, Katie also reflects on her collaborations with the likes of Mike Batt, Guy Chambers, Don Black and Sam Dixon, and explains why she has been on a mission to research lyric writing.
Matt Berninger of The National joins us to talk about the writing of his excellent solo album Serpentine Prison. During the conversation, Matt describes his partnership with the album's producer Booker T. Jones, and explains why he's striving to resist cultures of fear, and structure his life around positive forms of creativity.
Singer-songwriter Dan Croll talks about his staggeringly good third album Grand Plan which covers his first year living as an artist in LA. Dan also remembers the time he had a one-on-one masterclass with Paul McCartney while studying at LIPA and takes a moment to reflect on the tragic loss of the band Her's, which he captures beautifully in his song 'Together'.
Taylor Goldsmith talks about his songwriting process across the impressive Dawes catalogue, collaborating with the likes of Elvis Costello on The New Basement Tapes project, and why it's important not to go into the studio with a hundred songs. Taylor also reflects on his work with talented friends like Brandon Flowers, Mike Viola, and his wife Mandy Moore.
To celebrate National Album Day, the great Billy Ocean discusses his new album One World, and his classic hits including 'Love Really Hurts Without You', 'Caribbean Queen', 'When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going' and 'Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car'. Billy also explains his approach to melody and vocal performance, and remembers his time collaborating with super-producer Mutt Lange.
World-renowned producer, songwriter and musician Paul Epworth speaks about his debut solo record, the expansive space concept album Voyager. Paul also talks in depth about his creative process, his studio The Church, and co-writing global hits with Adele such as 'Rolling in the Deep' and 'Skyfall'.
Vince Clarke and Andy Bell of Erasure talk about their excellent new album The Neon and how their songwriting process has evolved. In addition to discussing classic hits from their back catalogue like 'Blue Savannah', 'Sometimes' and 'A Little Respect', the pair explain how Andy prepares to find melodies on a track and how Vince makes best use of the analogue and digital domains.
With two recent Emmy nominations under his belt, the multi-talented Labrinth joins us to discuss his work on the critically-acclaimed HBO series Euphoria and his hits from the past decade. During the conversation, Lab talks about his approach to music theory and arranging, co-writing with artists like Sia, and his passion for retro synthesisers.
The legendary Burt Bacharach and his brilliant co-writer Daniel Tashian drop in for a conversation about their stunning new EP, Blue Umbrella, and life as songwriters in the middle of a pandemic. The pair explain how they've continued their collaboration remotely between Los Angeles and Nashville, and how they've drawn on Burt's vast experience as an arranger to bring the songs to life.
Grammy-winning hitmaker Nile Rodgers and legendary manager Merck Mercuriadis join Simon and Brian onstage at the Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall during the 2019 Meltdown festival. The pair share insights into the art and business of songwriting through their work together on the Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited, and Nile takes up his guitar to demonstrate how he wrote classic hits for artists like Sister Sledge, Diana Ross and David Bowie. Nile was also the guest for episode 123 of this podcast.
Songwriter and producer Dave Stewart drops in to discuss the new Stewart/Lindsey album Amitié, his many classic hits with Annie Lennox in Eurythmics, and his storied career in music. Dave also reflects on his collaborations with Aretha Franklin, Shakespeares Sister, and the importance of distraction in the writing process.
Singer-songwriter Rina Sawayama joins Simon and Brian for the first fully remote episode of the show in which she describes the collaborative songwriting process behind her stunning debut album SAWAYAMA, how she was influenced by the pop of the early 2000s, and the intensely personal process of writing about family.
Rapper, poet, novelist and playwright Kate Tempest talks about her creative process across a range of projects, detailing her approach to lyrics, prose, melody, structure and narrative. The double Mercury Music Prize nominee also reflects on her time working with legendary producer Rick Rubin, and her deep relationship with the city of London.
On the fourth anniversary of his passing, we?ve dug into the Sodajerker vault to find an unreleased bonus episode from a couple of years ago in which we sat down for an hour to talk about one of our all-time favourite artists - Prince! We couldn?t resist bookending it with a Prince-inspired jam we found along with the recording. Enjoy!
The great Huey Lewis discusses the writing of his new album Weather, which was recorded prior to the singer losing his hearing to Ménière's disease in 2018. In addition to telling the stories behind hits like 'The Heart of Rock and Roll', 'Bad Is Bad', 'Hip To Be Square' and 'Small World', Huey also details his collaborations with mentors like Nick Lowe and Mutt Lange, and his work on the songs 'Power Of Love' and 'Back In Time' from the classic movie Back To The Future.
The wonderful KT Tunstall joins us at The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire for a live conversation as part of the launch of the Songwriting Studies Research Network. During the chat, KT takes to the guitar and the piano to demonstrate her creative process on songs like 'Black Horse and the Cherry Tree', 'Suddenly I See' and recent work from albums like KIN and WAX. Note: KT was also the guest for episode 61 of this podcast.
Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey describes the creative process behind enduring songs like 'In The Name Of Love', 'Love On Your Side', 'If You Were Here' and 'Hold Me Now'. During the conversation, Tom also gives detailed insights into the songwriting behind his 2018 solo album Science Fiction, and explains why it's important to maintain the distinctive aspects of your sound.
Singer-songwriter Richard Marx talks about the writing of his new album Limitless and the creative process behind hits like 'Right Here Waiting' and 'Hazard'. During the conversation, Richard also reveals the musical bonds that connect his family and shares stories about his collaborations with artists like Keith Urban on 'Long Hot Summer' and the late, great Luther Vandross on the Grammy-winning 'Dance With My Father'.
Grammy-winning songwriter, producer and bassist Sam Dixon joins Simon and Brian at the legendary Rak Studios in London for a live conversation in front of an invited audience. During the episode, Sam discusses his work with artists like Adele, Sia, Christina Aguilera and Jack Savoretti and describes his strategies for bringing the best out of his collaborators. Special thanks to APRA AMCOS for inviting us.
ABC's Martin Fry describes the writing of his classic album The Lexicon Of Love including songs like 'The Look Of Love', 'Poison Arrow', 'Tears Are Not Enough' and 'All Of My Heart'. During the conversation, Martin also tells the story behind his beloved hit 'When Smokey Sings' and explains how he approached the daunting task of creating The Lexicon of Love II.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter and Monkee Michael Nesmith talks Sodajerker through the writing process behind songs like 'Papa Gene's Blues', 'Joanne', 'Different Drum', 'Rio' and 'Laugh Kills Lonesome'. In addition to discussing songs he wrote for The Monkees and his solo work, Nez reflects on his relationship with John Lennon, the importance of the arranger, and the influence of visual art on his writing.
In the final show of 2019, the singular Beck joins Simon and Brian in London to talk about his incredible new album Hyperspace. During the conversation, Beck describes his experiences collaborating with Pharrell, Greg Kurstin and Paul Epworth, the influence of his Grandfather, and what it was like to receive a Grammy from Prince.
Country superstar Keith Urban grabs a couple of his prized Fender guitars and talks Simon and Brian through the writing processes behind his many hit songs. During the conversation, Keith explains the importance of rhythm in his writing, collaborating with the likes of Julia Michaels and Richard Marx, and how he has been inspired creatively by his wife Nicole Kidman.
Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys of OMD sit down in London to discuss their career anthology box set Souvenir and the writing process behind their success. In explaining the chemistry of their creative partnership, Andy and Paul talk about writing sad songs with happy chords, striving to avoid lyrical cliches, and why they remain musical outsiders.
The excellent James Blunt joins Sodajerker in London to discuss his very personal new album Once Upon A Mind. During the conversation, James talks about collaborations with the likes of Linda Perry, Ryan Tedder and Ed Sheeran, shares the stories behind hits like 'You're Beautiful', and explains why it's always important to have a reason to write a song.
For this milestone 150th episode, legendary songwriter and producer Jeff Lynne (ELO, George Harrison, Traveling Wilburys, Tom Petty, The Beatles) sits down with Simon and Brian in London to discuss the writing of his new album From Out Of Nowhere. In his inimitable way, Jeff explains how he approaches chords, melody and lyrics to create the distinctive sounds we've loved across decades of classic albums.
Singer-songwriter Kim Richey joins the Sodajerker boys in Birmingham to chat about the writing of her most recent album, Edgeland. Kim also talks about how she takes inspiration from southern culture, connecting with former guests like Jason Isbell and Jamie Lawson, and the stories behind songs like 'Angels' Share', 'Leaving 49' and 'Chinese Boxes'.
Musical polymath Jacob Collier meets Simon and Brian in London halfway through the expansive four volume Djesse series to discuss his approach to songwriting and creativity. Jacob explains how he reconciles his vision for the project alongside the contributions of guests and how deadlines help to narrow down the infinite possibilities that musical ideas present to him.
Lightning Seeds frontman and celebrated songwriter Ian Broudie joins Sodajerker to mark the 25th anniversary of his classic album Jollification. In this in-depth conversation, Ian details his approach to songwriting and production, how Liverpool informs his musical creativity, and his experiences working with local acts like Echo and the Bunnymen, The Coral and The Zutons.
Simon and Brian visit singer-songwriter, pianist and broadcaster Jamie Cullum at home to discuss the writing of his dynamic new album Taller. Jamie reveals how focusing on lyrics first helped him to write more personal songs, why boredom can be the songwriter's most useful tool, and the challenges of remaining creative and confident in the modern world.
Louisa Roach of She Drew The Gun sits down with Simon and Brian at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool to discuss the writing of songs from her first two albums Memories of Another Future (2016) and Revolution of Mind (2018). Louisa talks about the importance of prose writing and spoken word in her work, her collaborative relationship with The Coral's James Skelly, and how the sci-fi genre has acted as an effective vehicle to mobilise her political views.
Kasabian's Serge Pizzorno joins Sodajerker in London to discuss the writing of his excellent debut solo album The SLP. In addition to talking about the creation of his new alter ego, and his work with the band, Serge explains how he captures ideas on the move, how he uses sounds to write in the studio, and why broken equipment works for him.
Mike 'McGear' McCartney sits down with Brian and Simon at his Heswall home to discuss songs from the recent reissue of his 1974 solo album McGear via Cherry Red Records. In this wide-ranging conversation, Mike also talks in depth about songs like 'Thank U Very Much' and 'Lily The Pink' with The Scaffold, 'Woman' from his 1972 solo debut, his work on McGough & McGear, The Beatles, and growing up in Liverpool.
Country noir superstar Gretchen Peters explains the process she embarks upon when creating the cinematic and socially conscious songs that have become her calling card. In our in-depth conversation, the Nashville stalwart describes the writing of recent albums like Blackbirds and Dancing With The Beast, her classic hits for the likes of Martina McBride, Bonnie Raitt and Trisha Yearwood, and her collaborative partnership with Bryan Adams.
In this mini bonus podcast episode, Simon and Brian chat about the experience of attending the 64th Ivor Novello Awards ceremony in London on 23rd May as guests of the Ivors Academy, the independent trade body for songwriters and composers in the UK. This year?s winners included The 1975, Wiley, Deep Purple, Natasha Khan, Jonny Greenwood, Mariah Carey, Richard Ashcroft, and former podcast guest Dido (who received the award for Outstanding Song Collection).
In this very special episode, the one and only Sting talks about approaching his classic hits from a fresh perspective on his new record, My Songs. With his guitar to hand, the singular artist sits down at home in London with Simon and Brian to reveal the creative processes behind one of pop's most extraordinary catalogues.
Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Rhiannon Giddens joins us to discuss her new record, There Is No Other, made in collaboration with Francesco Turrisi. During the course of this in-depth conversation, Rhiannon describes the spontaneous process fuelling their work together, the historical resonance attached to songs like 'Mama's Cryin' Long' and 'At The Purchaser's Option', and how telling these stories informs her mission as an artist.
Singer-songwriter Gaz Coombes discusses the writing of songs from his excellent solo albums, World's Strongest Man and Matador, as well as hits with his former band, Supergrass. During the conversation, Gaz explains how he develops ideas in the studio and how he has expanded his songwriting palette to include the art of 'soundwriting'.