White Angels

Episode #195: White Angels  (Song starts at 5:51)

On this episode we are looking at the 2nd song I wrote after I arrived in Melbourne in 1997. I’d already written 385 songs in New Zealand before this one. I came to Melbourne as it was a rite of passage, of sorts, for kiwi songwriters to jump the ditch.
I was here to set up camp, to be here for some time, to continue on – or perhaps more accurately start again – on my creative path. I needed to find some more band players, and I really wanted to get cracking again, here, in a new country.
Songwriting is something has pretty much always ticked along for me. In 1997 once I’d settled in to life in the city, I picked up a newspaper and there was a headline that really hit me between the eyes: 17 young people had overdosed in 3/4 hour in Melbourne’s cbd.
It struck me what an awful time that must have been for those involved – the young people themselves, their families, the ambulance drivers.
A scene unfolded in my minds eye and I didn’t shut it down. It became a movie. This in turn inspired the lyrics. Improvising music to words (or while watching images) is something that I find comes to easily to me. I think it’s because all the emotion is already there.
I’ve always had the ability to ‘roll a film’ in my mind. I think we all do, don’t we? (I draw cartoon animals. So if I think of say, a llama playing saxophone, there he is, moving around, eyes shut wailing away..hmm, maybe I shouldn’t mention that publicly.)
Anyway, as I read the newspaper article, a really strong feeling took hold of me and the words streamed off my pen.
When it came time for the music, a gospel sounding riff came through my finger tips on the piano keys. It set up the first verse and there I was: well underway, again, with another song.
Over the intervening years, I think I was perhaps a little bit hard on myself, in terms of whether I thought this song was good enough to release.
Us artists can be too tough on ourselves. Sometimes nothing we’ve produced ever seems good enough, which is strange, really.
Pieces of art & songs, are all like stepping stones along the way for the artist. I think: if the art or music is of a certain standard (it ‘passes the muster’), put it out there and move on.
That’s what I’ve been doing with this podcast – and my blog: 195 weeks of sharing what I’m up to, some of the how to. I’m looking to share and help people along the way. Encouraging people along a creative path is the idea.
Because it can’t help to be a healing path. You learn about yourself – like the line in white angels: ‘the past clears, the path clears and today is much less blurred.’
As I’ve recorded these episodes, I’ve realised even more just how powerful it is to write a song. A song brings back so many memories. It’s got be good for your brain to be used like that. The very same song is going to have different connotations, bring to mind different memories, for different people. That’s powerful.
The listener has an emotional response and again, this can also be a healing thing. So feels really, really good to be a songwriter.
It’s nice to be sharing some of my processes here on this podcast. In this case, I’ve rediscovered a sort of a gospel ballad. I’m so pleased I wrote it - and I’m pleased that I recorded the demo back in 2000. I have played this song in restaurants as a piano solo piece, but I’ve never sung it live.
I hope you enjoy another song and chat, here we go,
More here: Lyrics, links to music and art www.petepascoe.wordpress.com