Key Lines is a new monthly feature that highlights independent songwriters and discusses songwriting craft.
Josh Roberts and the Hinges have been around since 2005. They are the type of band that reminds you why you fell in love with rock and roll. Roberts creates vivid compositions that are infused with just the right amount of guitar swagger. They recently completed a record with Ryan Monroe (Band of Horses) that will be out later in 2016.
SC: I love the list of places in this song: “Rome, London, Dresden, Jericho, Bagdad, Stalingrad Tokyo, Seoul” and later “Siberia and Burma, Afghanistan”. Was there any significance to these places in particular to the narrative of the song?
JR: The places in the song are places in which people have been both responsible for, and victims of, human evil. Come to think of it, I could have put pretty much any place in there and it would've technically worked. Those cities and countries in particular are historically notorious, though, and they sang well, so they get the nod! These days I usually sing "Birmingham" right after "Burma." Interior rhyme opportunity wasted on the record, you know.
beauty that people are capable of, too, which I believe outweighs the ugliness, so in the second verse I mention pickles (which my dad is the king of making), fiddles, "Like a Rolling Stone," etc. It's one of those songs that came together quickly, in one sitting, so I let it be what it was then, and didn't overthink it.
SC: How often do you write? Do you keep a songwriting schedule or do you wait to be inspired?
JR: I work in phases. 2 or 3 months of hardcore writing, followed by working with the band on what's been done, refining and arranging, throwing stuff out and adding new stuff, then nothing new for a while. Then comes a lot of touring and whatnot. They don't really happen at the same time. When I'm writing, I write hard, though. You can't wait, especially the older you get. You have to do the work, and that's how inspiration happens.SC: How does your songwriter community influence your writing?
JR: I feel very close to a lot of good songwriters, and it's so much fun to hear how everyone twists what is essentially a formula. Most folks deal in intro, verse, chorus, bridge, solo, out, right? Being around other songwriters is exciting, because nobody who's any good does it quite the same. Sometimes I play guitar for folks, and I love playing others' music from the inside. That's taught me a lot.
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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