Published May 22, 2020

#5 LYRICS + Do I have anything to say?

I want to talk a bit about my lyrics and the subjects of my music.

When it comes to my lyricism, it started out basically being stories. I was writing in English before I actually knew English to emulate my favourite musicians. And it would always have this story form in it: “this happened and then this happened”. The songs I wrote as a teenager were always quite romantic, I would have named characters in my lyrics ripped straight out of a John Hughes movie, falling in love and running away and whatever. They were also full of cultural references cause I’m a nerd. My best teenage song was called BLADE RUNNERS. Here is an excerpt from the lyrics:

“Kayla’s crying on her bed
She makes me promise we’ll be runner like I said
Our hearts are fading, growing cold
But we won’t stay here to watch that unfold
We’ll take your father’s car and drive
Through the night to feel alive
That might last us for a while
We’ll buy an old guitar and play
Start a band and run away
That might do for a few days.”

I mean, that’s pretty damn cringy but I remember being so proud of these lyrics and finally reaching that “cinematic” feeling that I was always going for. I was like 16 when I wrote that btw.

I think I mostly chose to write like this because I was indeed watching a ton of movies, but not much else happened to me during my teen years. I didn’t have a girlfriend so I didn’t experience romance or heartbreak, I was kind of depressed but more in an “empty” way than a sad way, and I would mostly just hang around watching movies and playing video games.

So when I hit my 20s life kind of started for real and I actually had a lot of bullshit happen to me. And I started to feel the need to write more authentically. That was also a long process, I couldn’t quite shake the storytelling elements and was still inventing characters to transfer my emotions onto. And emotions were always a bit too upfront and on the nose: “I’m sad” “I’m angry” “I’m restless” whatever.

I consider myself a pretty idealistic, social justice oriented person and also struggled to find a way to include that in my lyrics. I could never find a way to get it quite right – mostly because a lot of the things I’m passionate about didn’t feel like “my fights” in the first place. I was shy to speak about them both in my lyrics and real life because I’m a super privileged white straight cis male and haven’t actually experienced most of the injustices that I feel strongly about.

When I was 22, something bad happened to someone close to me and I also started opening my eyes to a lot of the sexual violence and rape culture that is casually going on everywhere. I had a period where i was really, really angry. Like that’s almost the only emotion I remember feeling for a while. I just wanted to destroy sexism and toxic masculinity and started noticing how much people close to me, even my best friends, were engaging in that kind of behaviour and how much I had allowed myself to let things slide and even engage in it myself. This stuff started to pop up a lot in my lyrics, but in a very unpolished way. I was literally going up on stage and saying “fuck you” to specific people in my lyrics. Which is kind of punk but also super immature.

These days I’m pretty happy with the way I write lyrics. I think they have a nice blend of being poetic and straightforward. I hit a nice middle ground between telling stories and speaking out on my actual feelings and struggles with things like depression, narcissism and insomnia. I like to write from different view points, sometimes I’m myself, sometimes I’m in character, sometimes I’m a good guy and sometimes I’m a piece of shit. There’s a lot of different aspects to my life and personality and I want them all to get represented in my music, also the ugly parts.