52 Reasons: a Songwriting project

52 Reasons

An experiment in songwriting and avoiding real work

When I was in high school I used to write numerous songs a day. I’d write lyrics in class, chords in my bedroom. As I walked home from school I day-dreamed of concept albums, playing stadiums and my next teenage magnum opus. By the time I was 17 or 18 I had over twenty A4 lyric books brimming with full songs, rough ideas and song-less lyrics. The one thing that the majority of these songs had in common is that they were by and large rubbish. Lots of teenage angst, lots of songs about getting over ex-girlfriends (little thought given to the notion the singer might have been a pain in the ass to go out with) and of course lots of songs about the negative impact of western wars on the rest of the world (with minimal political research or knowledge on the conflicts in question.) 

It wasn’t until I formed TASKRZ (or The Taskers as it was) with my sister Sophie Bret Tasker (SBT) that I began to get really good at writing songs. Instead of three songs a day it became three a week, but at least one of those three was going to be half decent. Since our formation we have written seven albums, a handful of EPs and some one off singles and recordings. I’d say at the start of it I wrote 75% of the structure and lyrical content of those songs - that’s no discredit to SBT (it’s quite hard to write a heart breaking pop song on drums alone) - however, I couldn’t have gotten to that stage without her editorial support and fantastic sense for what makes a song work. I learnt a lot from her.  

In recent years SBT has written a lot more herself; we probably split lyrics 50/50, melodies 70/30 in her favour and structure is something we constantly collaborate on. We are also very lucky to have Laura Ellement in the band, who has brought fully completed songs to the table and contributes editing, lyrics, melody and more. In short, we have lots of good people all doing an equal amount. Also we play in other bands and side projects with fantastic songwriters. Because of all this I have definitely slipped into a state of writing less. One song a month? Maybe. Sometimes not even that. 

Well, 2018 is going to be the year that changes. 

My aim is to, starting from Thursday 1 February 2018, to release (and potentially write) one song a week via our independant record label DROMA Records. All the songs will be collected in one album on that website, the album will be called 52 Reasons. The songs will not be put onto iTunes, Spotify and other streaming services. They will not be professionally mixed or mastered (I might mess about with some reverb if I have time, I likely won’t.) They will be free to download and listen to. They will vary greatly in quality. They will follow these simple rules: 

The songs will:

  • Be songs already written or ones written that week. It’s fine to put out a track written ten years ago, as long as it hasn’t been released by one of the band’s or projects that I play in. 
  • Be allowed to be all manner of styles, lengths, genre and format. Ballads, found sound, grunge anthems and glitch hop freak-outs. The only boundary is my ability as a performer.
  • Have a very brief description of what they are about and what inspired them. The emphasis is on brief. 

The songs won’t:

  • Be covers.
  • Feature other writers or musicians as the principal source of the song. I don’t want to subject other people to such hell. That said I might sample audio clips of people in some more of the arty tracks. 
  • Be overly long.

The first track will be released on Thursday 1 February 2018. It’ll be called ‘Life’s Tough for an Honest Man’. It’s one I’ve had in the bag for ages, so I’m giving myself an easy start. I hope you enjoy watching the project unfold. 

Jack