Moby On How To Make A Song

Moby shared this video, in which he shares his thoughts on how to make a song.

The video captures his process for creating the song My Only Love from his new album All Visible Objects. He talks about his approach to creating string synth parts, vocoding and more, but the emphasis is on his songwriting process.

21 thoughts on “Moby On How To Make A Song

  1. I have a lot of time for Moby.

    God Moving Over The Face of the Waters
    is one of the finest strings piano pieces ever composed including classical composers.

  2. Surprised to see the behringer vocoder on the track. That’s all – I have no other editorializing I want to do here, I was just surprised 🙂

  3. The best piece of song writing advice ever given was by the songwriter Roger Radcliffe in the Disney animated film 101 Dalmatians:

    “Melody first dear, and then the lyrics.”

    When this is not done, you can usually tell. There are soooo many songs that have a singer trying to sing a mouth full of lyrics to music in which the singing melody wasn’t first taken into account. This often leads to non-interesting, non-melodic, often monotone sounding singing “melodies.”

    Of course, there are exceptions, but they are the exceptions. Always always always write a good sing line melody first and then write lyrics for the melody (cue the dissent).

    1. I dunno, Trevor Horn used to say lyrics first, then music, to allow the song to be taken somewhere by the lyrics that you wouldn’t have composed with just the instrument. What you’re describing sounds to me like jamming some lyrics to the melodies hoping they’ll work. Do you have any examples?

    2. Some songs have strong melodies, and weak lyrics (or vice versa) and they are still good, worthwhile songs. When songs have well-integrated lyrics & melodies, the shape of the lines is musical, and the effect is impressively conversational.

      It is clear that melody & lyrics influence each other. But to dictate which is ALWAYS the boss is a pretty stiff way of creating. Probably better to admit that the melody should give way to lyrics when necessary, and lyrics should give way to melody when necessary.

      The importance and wonderfulness of a good melody cannot be overstated. But that said, I have absolutely loved and been moved to tears by songs with good lyrics and no melody. And I’ve very much enjoyed songs with great melodies and forgettable lyrics (not sure if they ever move me to tears, though).

    1. @ragnhild

      Reaction to behaviour is so personal.

      Someone could take your our behaviour as lets say funny
      Someone else could take your our behaviour as weirrrrd.

      I tell you what’s creepy
      a 20something queen amidala dating young boy anakin 🙂

  4. Very generous of Moby to share in such a personal way. I like how he had no plan, but just kept making music bits until a song form appeared. He started with a melody, drum & bass, and then found lyrics with matching key and bpm, like a loop in a library. Everyone has their own creative process, yesno?

        1. As they say in the vulgate: “Sick burn dude”.

          I thought the whole point of the internet was to vaunt one’s ignorance.

          Just in case my point regarding Moby was too obscure: Sam Cooke, Bacharach & David, Goffin & King, Lennon & McCartney, Marvin Gaye, Hayes & Porter, Gamble & Huff, Smokey Robinson, Brian Wilson, Ulvaeus & Andersson, Becker & Fagen, these are just a few people who wrote songs.

          Moby, on the other hand, makes “tracks”: pabulum for feeble minds.

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