Brooklyn singer songwriter and instrumentalist, Don Paris Schlotman, answers my songwriter questionnaire:
Outside of music, what or who has the greatest influence on your songwriting?
Reading books has probably been the largest influence, followed by movies or just things overheard from friends/strangers.
How do you name a song?
It just comes to me. Sometimes the title is just the obvious refrain, sometimes it’s a chance to explain the lyrics or set up the idea outside of the actual lyrics.
Generally, what are your lyrics about?
Weird shit like computers, monsters, ghosts, pirates, rockets, and hot lady cops. Inside the metaphor of that weird shit, they’re usually about heartbreak and other common human conditions and things like food, dancing, and opportunities to use puns.
Where do your songs come from?
It’s always different, but most of my songs begin life as a short line, phrase, or melody that gets stuck in my head while doing otherwise mundane tasks. By the time it gets to my guitar or bass, it’s usually quite different, something I am not sure I like or not.
What is the best analogy for the songwriting process, and, briefly, why? (My answer is a wrestling match, if that clears up the question.)
Dancing with the devil in the full moonlight. No wait. The zoo - everything is wrapped up in pretty cages and enclosures and people aren’t generally allowed inside. If they do get inside, they sometimes get eaten or mauled.
What is your songwriting pet peeve? (Or, what do you most frequently get annoyed with in other people’s songs?)
I don’t think I have any. I get annoyed by stupid lyrics I guess (see: “lonely is the night, when you find yourself alone”), but am pretty open minded about most things, sometimes even including stupid lyrics.
Are there any songwriting rules you impose on yourself? If so, what are they?
Only to keep moving, like a shark so I don’t drown.
Don Paris Schlotman’s latest solo record is Mother Transit Authority. Don is also a writer, performer (and record cover painter) for The Sky Captains of Industry, who just recently put out their debut record, entitled Rocket City. Listen to it here.
(Photo: Roy Lewis)
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