Every band approaches songwriting in a unique way. Some create songs from scratch by improvising and building a foundation, while others have a primary songwriter who introduces new ideas to the band. For Madame Psychosis, this process falls somewhere in between. With the album release party just around the corner, we figured it would be cool to explain the creative process behind Madame Psychosis and how the songs on the album came together.
“So far it’s been Bret coming in with his guitar melodies and then we all work with that. I’ll come up with a fill that seems to work with his melody and then the rest of us do our thing…and it’s been working,” says Jaina, the band’s drummer, who has been playing with Bret since before the band was born.
The band agrees that this process has been successful thus far, having written and recorded a dozen complete songs in the span of just a few months. Though some of the progressions and song ideas are several years old, Bret, the band’s guitarist and principal songwriter, believes songs really come to life when the entire band contributes.
“My absolute favourite thing is seeing how it changes from a progression on guitar to an actual song, and seeing how everybody adds their parts and everything comes together as a whole to make it something that’s just better than it was,” he says, adding that the most satisfying feeling is playing the song together for the very first time.
This iterative process has also resulted in many benefits for each of the band members, especially for lyricist, singer and front woman Michelle.
“What I like about it is that it takes me out of the element of what I was doing solo, in the sense that I don’t have to write the music. All I have to do is come up with the lyrics…and just go with the feel of the song,” she says. “I also like that I can do that at home and just sit with what you guys have come up with and hash it out and go from there.”
This concept of having a song sit is a strategy that the entire band finds is working well.
“We often leave a new idea for a couple of weeks, or even months in some cases, to help the song develop while we prepare for gigs or recording sessions,” says Gio, the band’s bass player. “There’s a creative process that occurs subconsciously when we aren’t constantly playing a new song. We give ideas time to breathe, and give ourselves a chance to build on a song based on what we still like when a certain amount of time has gone by and we return to a song.”
While this process may be a little abstract, perhaps no one simplifies it better than Madame Psychosis’ dynamic guitar player, Rene.
“Bret brings a lot of riffs or more realized song ideas, Jaina’s great at arranging it or giving her input into how different pieces should be structured and how it should ultimately flow. And then you [Gio] and I we kind of find our spots to fill up the space and add melody to the rhythm,” he says.
And what about singer Michelle?
“Michelle just does her Michelle thing with the lyrics and it always comes together,” says Rene. “She sounds like hot butter melting on a revved-up Harley engine.”
Photo credit: @marcingoodboy