WHAT DOES MUSIC SMELL LIKE?
An insight into collaboration…
At the New Zealand Children’s Music Awards, musicians Levity Beet, Rainbow Rosalind and I found ourselves dancing in a circle singing Hava Nagila (“let us rejoice”). We had just discovered that we all have Jewish heritage (to greater or lesser degrees), and decided to collaborate on writing a new song.
A week after we arrived home, a rush of frenzied musical ideas flowed between Dunedin (Rainbow Roz), Takaka (Levity Beet) and Auckland (fleaBITE).
We were on a roll…via Messenger!
Roz: I had an epiphany today. We should write a klezmer song together!
Levity: Genius. I play in a folk trio and we do some klezmer
Robin: I haven’t played klezmer but I always go for offbeat music
Roz: Your songs sound very klezmer. It must be in your blood
Levity: Let’s have jaws harp and spoons
Robin: Why not just strings and voices
Roz: How about we write the song first and then decide on instrumentation?
Levity: Hey wild yeah!
We decide to start using the chords Am, Dm and E and all go away to twiddle, returning with fresh ideas.
Levity: Wow, it’s hard to hold down that Messenger mic icon with my nose and also play guitar
Robin: Maybe the song is about noses?
Roz: I just came up with something in the shower. Apparently you get your best ideas in the shower because the water clears your mind and makes room for inspiration
ROBIN SENDS A LYRIC IDEA: “You smell, he smells, I smell…with my nose”
Levity: Elephants, anteaters, proboscis monkeys all have great noses
ROZ SENDS A VOCAL/PIANO IDEA
Roz: That was my shower idea
Robin: So far the bits I like best are the chord progression ideas, possibly something to do with noses, and Roz’s chorus
Levity: What if we do a synesthesia thing where the smells have sounds and the sounds have smell? Or it could be a cooking show with a mad scientist and musician animals who have figured out a way to create music with smell?
Robin: How do we find direction and focus in long distance collaborating?
Levity: Take something someone else suggests, and develop it – no rush- then someone develops the development –something stands out to all of us, or not – give up stuff, find new stuff- it’s an experiment
LEVITY SENDS A SMOKEY BLUES IDEA
ROBIN SENDS A WITCHES BIRTHDAY IDEA
TWO EVENINGS LATER
Robin: Levity…just saw your idea about making music using aromas. How about we call the song ‘What Does Music Smell Like?’ and the first verse could be What Does Music Smell Like?, and the second verse could be What Does Music Taste Like?, and then What Does Music Look Like? I reckon it could be fun, and it’s quite an offbeat Jewish way of thinking
Levity: I like it! Gives scope for a lot of quirkiness and interesting images
ROBIN SENDS THE PROTOTYPE FOR THE NEW SONG WITH THE NEW VERSES AND ROZ’S CHORUS IDEA
Levity: Yaaaaah! Love it. Give me a few days and I’ll see if I can make a verse in that vibe
TWO MONTHS GO BY WITH NO COLLABORATIVE IDEAS FLOWING UP AND DOWN THE COUNTRY
Robin: Hello Levity and Roz. I’ve written the What Does Music Smell Like? song. Are you both still interested in being involved?
Levity is having a breather after a busy time performing and recording.
He’s keen to write a verse or two, and play bass and mandolin.
Roz is sick as a dog, in the middle of moving house, has no studio and there’s a new TV show in the pipeline. Bye Roz.
So Levity and I send files back and forth, playing with lyrics and musical ideas.
When he pops up to Auckland for a gig, I nab him and we spent a day at a park with my nephew Isaac taking photos. Over the next couple of months, Isaac and I compile the pics into a crazy home-made music video.
31 AUGUST 2020
We finally release our fab new collaborative song!
What Does Music Smell Like?