Johnny Dowd on ‘How to Write a Song’

Those who know me are probably starting to worry about my recent obsession with the above-mentioned artist, but all is good and it is highly enjoyable enthusiasm, as opposed to an inescapable rabbit hole… :grinning:
After receiving confirmation that he plans on playing a housegig for me in March, and after me murdering ‘God Created Woman’ on Saturday night’s OM, I present you with the final instalment of the trilogy: a lesson on songwriting by the man himself :open_mouth:
I was trawling the web last week and stumbled across an interview on ‘Tinnitist TV’, after the release Homemade Pie two years ago. I was about half an hour long, but there were some interesting snippets and quotes.
I decided to download the audio and edit it down, rearranging the quotes to try and form some kind of narrative.
It was interesting, but I felt needed some music :thinking: Not a song, as such, but more a soundscape.
Initially I thought of a single note ‘drone’ but then thought a second note might provide more variation.
I recorded an A-E alternation on my Trio+ with a simple arpeggio on guitar, as well as a ‘Tessalator-Delay’ effect on my Pod Go :sunglasses:
I then pestered my good friend Prof. Goldring (who is suffering from Covid) to provide lead guitar and my brother Hans to hit the drums. They both complied without the slightest grumble :grinning:
A fair bit of chopping, changing, deleting mixing etc. later-
Hey Presto!
The poor audio quality from the interview necessitated a text- rather than picture-based video.
I hope you enjoy :grinning:


Interesting stuff, Brian. It’s kind of an artistic music project and I like the concept.

Don’t know Johnny Dowd, but the mellow mood you created in the “backbone” of the track fits the way he talks so nice and on point, it’s astonishing. :+1:
Lucky for him, songwriting comes that easy to him, I bet some other have a complete different view on this. :joy:

The collaboration in this project is also cool stuff, all the bits and pieces come together nicely. Drums on point, lead on point (by the way, best wishes and quick recovery for you friend Prof. Goldring!) and you put all of it together like the master of the puppets. :smiley:

Mix sounds good to my ears as well - so all in all a very cool production. Did you share it to the Master himself, yet?

Thanks for sharing. :slight_smile:

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Well Brian,
Working on something new and the forum has been down for a while :thinking: :thinking: :thinking:
Although I have just had a power outage that lasted 3 hours (maintenance electricity network) so I I expected boredom for myself in the morning…

But I still thought it was necessary to see if you didn’t have anything to do with it again, well, I haven’t read anything about it so it probably isn’t. :sweat_smile:


Oh yes, wonderful video to watch and listen to :grin:

:clap: :clap: :clap::index_pointing_at_the_viewer: gooood :sunglasses:

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That was an entertaining way to enjoy my morning coffee! And now to check out Johnny Dowd.

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That was certainly different Brian. As a lesson on “how to write a song”……well it certainly wasn’t that. As a piece of conceptual art then yes it was that.

I’m afraid I’m a bit of a modern art philistine. Things like unmade beds and piles of bricks leave me cold.
This however had something that caught me. The voice talking about a subject I’m interested in, the text narrative (I think video would have been distracting) and the background music all combined to make this into something really quite unique.
If someone like Andy Warhol had produced this I’m sure it would receive plaudits from the art community critics.
As it’s a Brian Larson production……I’ll just say I enjoyed it.
Well done to you and your team.


It’s all gone a bit Hans Zimmer… Very interesting and enjoyable listen.

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As Johnny says: “Concept’s kind of a highfalutin’ word y’know” :rofl:
Deciding to try to be ‘artistic’ is when we often fall flat on our face.
(Of course, when your face is close to the ground, you’re also much more likely to find the gold nuggets :wink:)
You seem to have understood where I’m coming from on this whole project and thank you for your kind words.
The collaboration side has as much to do with the whole communication aspect I’ve talked about before.I’ve met many interesting people and had wonderful experiences sharing my guitar journey with others (not least of all here)
Writing songs is actually easy… and the more we do it, the better we get. It is difficult however to write songs that have broad appeal :laughing:
It’s his authenticity and uniqueness that attracts me rather than his musicality.

The thought did cross my mind, Rogier :laughing:
I posted it last night before going to bed and this morning the site was ‘broken’ :open_mouth:
Glad you enjoyed it

Just beware, he’s not everyone’s cup of tea!
(I’ll not be offended if you decide I have terrible taste :wink:)

@sairfingers High praise indeed, Gordon :grinning:
For me, the big question about ‘art’ is: Does it change the way I feel or think? Even if it makes me sad or disturbs me, I usually enjoy it (but like you, my unmade bed certainly does not have that effect :rofl:)
I really am happy there was ‘something’ in it that caught you.
Much appreciated :grinning:

Oops apologies, @Alan_1970, I hit Reply too soon :laughing:
I had forgotten who Hans Zimmer was :roll_eyes: (rectified now).
Film music is one of my favourite genres. I once did a 2-hour radio show on it many years ago. It was such a pleasure trawling through all the wonderful scores to decide what to play :grinning:


Ah yes, that was admittedly part of the whole plan :rofl:
Johnny says:

Johnny Dowd 'I love this!'


Moody, atmospheric, QI … a cool project well produced.

Tip o’ the hat to you Brian and your co-consp collaborators

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Everything else would’ve been a surprise - also regards his reaction. :smiley: So this is like the icing on an amazing cake. :wink:

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Cheers @DavidP a tip from the cat in the hat is always appreciated :grinning:

@Lisa_S I seem to have my cake and eat it quite a lot these days… :rofl:
Thank you!


What an interesting project, Brian :smiley:.
I like the very idea as well as the realization of it.
I’m sure, you made Johnny D.s day :blush:.

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Can I tell people that I knew you before you became an impresario/producer?

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Wow brilliant Brian.

After watching the backwoods “uhu uhu squeek piggy docurama”, I can see how you are drawn to his music. Yep it floats ma boat y’all. This was majestically pulled together, with the narrative put to music. Clever arrangement with space and a suitable ethereal vibe. One of your best projects sir.

If you’ve a link to that interview, drop me a DM Mr L, sure would like a listen to the whole thang.


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Hi Brian, this was a really interesting and enjoyable listen, what a mindful realisation! You are blessed to be so creative and you have the ability to use this creativity to create exeptional productions. Your thoughtfulness and your way to scratch the surface and to dig up the deeper layers is legendary. I put my hat off!

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Goodness, Toby, over the top praise indeed.
Much appreciated :grinning:
Here’s the link:

Mind you Johnny rambles an awful lot with long pauses. I quite liked the interviewer though.
I emailed David to ask for permission (after the event) and buy him a beer. His site claims to be Canada’s biggest music critic with 500 followers.
He was super nice in his response, after checking with Johnny.
I only later realised it was 500 thousand followers… :rofl:

Aww, thank you, Helen :grinning:
I really believe most of us have creative aspects that we just tend not to share.
I happen to enjoy communication, have a thick skin, and probably suffer a bit with ‘look-at-me’ syndrome :roll_eyes: That can be a difficult mix for others at times :laughing:
I’m glad you enjoyed it


Oops, apologies, Nicole for missing you out :open_mouth:
Vielen Dank!
I imagine most artists are pleased when anyone covers their work or makes a tribute piece for them, irrespective of the quality :laughing:

You’d be surprised at how many people will perform in your living room if you offer them filthy lucre :rofl:

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Thanks for the link Brian, just finished watching it. An eye opening insight on his life, life in general and the writing processes. Hard going at times but an interesting character for sure.

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Great production Brian. That was quite interesting and it give me hope that one day I will write a song and that someone might even enjoy it.

Very clever how you pulled bits from the interview and the music you did went really well with his words, I thought.

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Cheers for the thumbs up, Stefan :grinning:

Think back to every single piece of music you shared so far.
Have you ever received anything other than expression of enjoyment, positive feedback and requests for more? :laughing:
Why on earth do you imagine things would be different if you wrote a song? :thinking:

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