“A Writer At Pitchfork Critically Said I’d Collaborate For A Bag Of Doritos”: David Byrne On Writing Songs With St. Vincent, Fatboy Slim, Brian Eno, And Others


You get one guess which Pitchfork writer. Fascinating post on DB’s journal/blog on songwriting alchemy, how much everyone hates writing words, his own personal workspace (“Serial numbers and security codes for software are pinned to the wall, along with a Tammy Wynette poster”), and so forth. Evidently that tune he sang with St. Vincent back in January is one of eight (!) they’ve been working on; he also discusses his imminent Imelda Marcos/Fatboy Slim project Here Lies Love, and reaches back to confirm the suspicion that he was often (at first, at least) just making shit up back in his Talking Heads days:

Although writing words to fit an existing vocal melody and meter is what anyone who writes in rhyme does naturally and intuitively, I was encouraged to make the process more explicit when Talking Heads made Remain in Light. I found that, remarkably, solving the puzzle of making words and phrases fit often resulted in words that did in fact have an emotional and sometimes even narrative thread. It may begin as gibberish, but often, if one wants, a “story,” in the broadest sense, emerges. Emergent storytelling, one might say.

This all gets pretty philosophical, as is Dave’s wont (“Is writing ever NOT collaboration? Doesn’t one collaborate with oneself, in a sense?”), but if you get overwhelmed just concentrate on the photos of his writing room. Doritos not pictured, for some reason.

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