Exivious 2.0

As most of you guys know, Exivious is back in business. Besides rehearsing our asses off right now, we also started the writing process for a new album. For this months blog I’d like give you guys some insight into our composition process and how we’ll approach the new album.

Our debut album was basically a collection of my best ideas from over 6 years. That’s a pretty common thing for debut albums from young bands. I had a clear vision of what I wanted the band to sound like and with a lot of experimentation, I ended up finding specific composing tools and tricks to actually realize this vision. An approach that made extensive use of trial and error.

This will be very different for the new Exivious album. The idea is to write a new album in a couple of months, which should be possible now that we have a basic sound to work with and a much better understanding of how the kind of music we make works. We’re starting from scratch which presents the opportunity to change our approach to composition. Holding on to the things we thought worked well and trying new things where there’s room for improvement. Because yeah, being the ruthless self critics we are, we think there are quite some areas for improvement.

Photo: Amanda G Hernandez

For our debut album I used to deliver fully composed and arranged songs to the rest of the band. Basically I would create a complete production with programmed drums, bass, synths, guitars, everything. Michel did the same for the 2 songs he wrote. Sure, the rest of the band had quite some freedom of coming up with their own parts (besides the improvisation which is completely free of course) but overall they were still based on my programmed ideas. For the new album we have a different approach in mind where the entire compositions are more of a band effort, or at least the arrangements. Michel and I will compose core ideas that we’ll base entire songs around. Sharing those ideas in an early stage with the rest of the band to really shape them into songs with the 4 of us. It’s a new approach for us and we’re really excited to dive into this process.

I have started the initial composing process, which basically consists out of writing chord progressions. Not much in the sense of traditional and functional harmony but more of a modal voice leading approach that gives me really specific chord voicings with an integrated melody. These harmonies and melodies will be the heart of the new songs. After this initial birthing process we’ll dive into arranging these chordal ideas into full songs. Giving them a basic structure, tempo, rhythmic interpretation and overall arrangement. I assume this is something Michel and I will do together this time around.

After this process is completed it’s time for one of my favorite parts of writing a new record: decoration. This is basically finding the final parts, riffs, melodies, everything that makes the songs the songs you’ll hear on the album. Again, except for the improvised parts which will obviously be improvised. What makes this process so much fun is how loose and creative it is. The pressure is off, the basic structures are there. Imagine coloring a black and white drawing.

Over the next couple of months I’d like to share the writing process of one new song with you guys. Making short videos showing you the progress we make. This should be fun to make and watch!

Thanks for reading,

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