We had the honor of interviewing Al Krause about his methods and habits of songwriting. Here is that interview.
BTS: What was the reason you started writing songs?
Al: To express some inner feelings after a few traumatic life cycle events.
BTS: What was the name and subject of your first song?
Al: That was a long time ago and a wrote a lot thoughts and ideas and songs and poems, and some were completed at that time and some have been revisited and finished up some years later and some are still in process. At this point, the name of the song or specific subject I can’t recall, but most likely it was about the losses we experience in life… the death of a family member… a broken relationship….
BTS: What is the subject of your most current song?
Al: Self reflection… inner looks at myself, my problems, my issues, my demons… myself.
BTS: Where do you derive inspiration from? i.e., art, music, movies, life, etc.
Al: My inspiration comes from nearly any aspect of daily life and it can come at literally any moment in time. Generally a word or short phrase comes to mind either on a totally random basis and seemingly having no connection to anything at all, or other times it’s from a very visual image, an incredible sunset on the western horizon, the image of a woman’s beautiful face framed softly by her hair, a smile, a sweater clinging to the beauty of a woman’s body, a little black dress… and another whole series of songs inspired by the concept of an accidental, misfigured, vigilante superhero…
BTS: Who were your musical influences in the beginning of your songwriting?
BTS: Who are your musical influences now?
Al: I don’t think there are any current musicians or songwriters who I would consider to be an influence on my writing styles.
BTS: Do you have a method of writing, place, vibe, setting, instrument you prefer to write on? And why?
Al: I have no specific method or process for writing. It’s really a fairly random process. When that thought or phrase or image strikes, I start writing, and generally the base lyrics are done in a fairly short period of time (sometimes within 20 or 30 minutes). Then over the next few days, the song is fine tuned, words are tweaked, melodies are modified and the song is finished. I’ve tried writing with a piano and with a guitar, however my personal musical inabilities make that part of song writing more than challenging…
BTS: What elements do you think contribute to making a great song?
Al: Emotion, connection to the audience, great lyrics and generally a drum and bass beat that you can feel from inside.
BTS: How do you push past writer’s block?
Al: Put it down, let it rest, come back another day.
BTS: What would be your advice to any beginning songwriter trying to make their way and trying to express themselves musically?
Al: Be emotionally expressive, but that doesn’t mean that every song needs to be a love song or a song of lost love. Expand your lexicon through reading. Expand your experiences by trying new things, and when you can, try everything… well, at least everything legal.
Writing is an incredible method of self-expression and whether it be complete songs, lyrics only or all instrumental the important part is that you write for yourself and that you find personal satisfaction in your own creations. It’s great to have other influences and inspirations, but finding your own style and staying true to yourself makes all the effort that much more worthwhile. Have a great day.