The soundtrack album of music from Slung Low’s Emergency Story Penguin, a play written by John Hunter and co-produced by Dep Arts, has been released.
For an insight into the process of writing songs – and specifically a breakaway pop hit sensation(!) – for Emergency Story Penguin and other Slung Low shows, click here.
So far, Emergency Story Penguin has played in Stockton, Manchester, Liverpool, Runcorn and Doncaster. It’ll be in London at The Albany towards the end of April.
Image © Sarah Zagni 2015
December, I took a break. A holiday! A blissful, four-week interlude to reflect on the old and prepare for the new.
I realised that for a 1-hour-long-show there was a lot of music to be written, and so I had to get on that writing pretty quickly. It was clear that the main song was the first order of business, the heart of the score, and an important starting point for themes.
“…a breakaway pop hit.” No pressure then.
However, we didn’t have any lyrics. Yet.
I’m no lyricist. When we have songs in Slung Low’s shows, I renounce all responsibility in the words; it’s up to the writer to get poetic! Since I’m living with the lovely writer (John Hunter) I’d been prodding him to sketch out some lyrics since he’d finished the script before Christmas… though it quickly became apparent, that, like me but in reverse, he was really averse to constructing the lyrics before having an idea of the melody first, understandably.
Chicken and egg situation. (Though we all know the egg came first, don’t we? Because dinosaurs, obvs.)
I bit the bullet and scribbled some lame-ass lyrics super quick then sat down at the piano to sketch out a few ideas for melodies. Then arranged it a wee bit better on the Mac and Dropboxed (which is totes a verb) it to John.
Lovely chap that he is, he sketched me out some excellent lyrics that fit with the syllable stress patterns of my ropey words, but the chorus didn’t fit with the music… between going from words to paper to computer I’d changed the melody and harmonic structure, and forgot to go back and update the lyric document.
But it all turned out for the best (phew! we really were on tenterhooks there) since, along with this, the lyrics and score for the chorus of this big-ass powerful all-systems-go song that I’d written was a bit too nice and friendly and sweet when it should have been bolshy, adventurous and thrilling. On a really basic level, to get that feeling of ‘powering up’, the notes of the melody really should rise, rather than falling. Unlike what I’d written. #FAIL.
John wrote a new chorus for us, immediately after discussing this, then sang to me a rough idea of the rhythm.
I slept on it.
In the morning, I arranged it. We had it. Our (inevitable) breakaway pop hit. Power to the Engines!
From an audience recording: