Ben Trickey is a consummate DIY songwriter who blends roughworn poetry with unique arrangements. His latest record, Choke and Croon, is no exception and has been hailed for its inventiveness and craft. Last September we spoke to Ben and he shared a little about his album and the importance of silence. Below is an except from his interview:
“Silence is definitely something I consciously use in my music. I'm really interested in ideas of restraint and frailty. There's a certain power to it. I feel like the lyrics are touching on the same ground, so by literally poking sonic holes in the compositions you can make something that pushes and pulls with the mood. I think of silence as an instrument and everyone playing the band should respect and let that instrument have its parts too.”
Whitney Houston’s aerobatic at the emotional climax & key change of “I Will Always Love You”, or James Brown’s pauses in the second half of the chorus for “I Feel Good”, and “Good Lovin’” by The Young Rascals are exemplary of useful silence. And the list goes on: “Monkey Wrench” by The Foo Fighters, “Hello Goodbye” by The Beatles, “Rosalita” by Bruce Springsteen . . .
For today’s challenge write a song that uses silence to increase its tension. Maybe you will use it as a substitute for the 5th before your chorus. Or perhaps you’ll use it in your bridge. Maybe you need silence before a killer outro. Whatever you choose make sure you share it with us.
The Sound Connector is an online magazine for songwriters. We feature songwriting challenges, monthly interviews, and the opportunity to discover new songwriters. We are interested in all things related to the craft of songwriting.
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