The art of songwriting is an elusive one. But Star music writer Rachael Clegg speaks to another former Pulp member – songwriter Richard Hawley – to find out what the key to his craft is.
And according to Sheffield-based Hawley, it’s not something that should be over analysed.
“Song writing for me affects every single facet of my life,” said Hawley. “It should do if you’re going to do it properly.”
Hawley has been penning songs for so long that he’s unable to switch off his song writing radar.
“I can’t help it though now, your default position is as a permanent observer. Even with my own actions, in my mind there’s a wise judging owl that watches everything. And even when I’m by myself and am doing something foolish – which is often.”
But it has its pitfalls. And Hawley, like Jarvis, is aware of the impact being an artist has on family life.
“It’s very disruptive to family life but my wife is a total goddess in most things. And her tolerance of the unhinged nature of being a songwriter’s wife is heroic on a near-ancient classical epic level. I do try my best to be ‘normal’ but I actually struggle with whatever you’re supposed to be and do if you’re ‘normal.”
But Hawley wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I don’t want to be anything other than what I am, thankfully.” He says: “I’m just merely a songwriter strumming, humming and thrumming my little life away.”
And as for the song writing process, Hawley says: “I don’t have any systems or strict methods to writing.”
Rather, Hawley’s talent emerged out of a hobby that dated back to his school days. “Playing guitar was a means of staying out of trouble as a boy, robbing cars and setting them on fire etc. The guitar helped in skilfully avoiding the temptation there but it was also an accompaniment to a sense of nagging loneliness, which despite being in a long-term loving relationship and a fairly popular performer in my own way, has never fully left me. Those things fuel the fire so to speak.”
But the essence of song writing should never be dissected, according to Hawley.
“It’s best not to over analyse it. Never look the creative pixie directly in the eye as she might leave forever, and that would make me very sad.”