I have written most of my songs on a clapped-out Washburn acoustic with 10-year-old rusty strings on it. My whole process is quite simple initially, I usually find a chord progression or a riff that I like playing and improvise words and melodies until something jumps out at me, and then I write it down and experiment with it from there.
Interview by Jacqueline Jax
host of A.V.A Live Radio
Band Name: Ivan Beecroft
Song name: You can’t take my soul
Music Genre:: Retro/rock 90’sgrunge/pop
The track “You Can’t Take My Soul” was Inspired by the movie Shawshank Redemption’s character Andy Dufresne. The chorus in particular is a reference to the scene in the film where Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) defies Warden Sam Norton (Bob Gunton) by playing the duettino over the prison’s loudspeakers. Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman) remarks in his voice-over narration: “I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. […] I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful it can’t be expressed in words, and it makes your heart ache because of it.” The scene highlights the deep satisfaction gained by the prisoners from something that spoke to their essential humanity, in spite of the prison regime they were living under.
“You Can’t Take My Soul” reflects that affirmation of humanity under even the most soulless living conditions.
My music is difficult for me to define personally as I view each song that I write as having a unique personality and life all of its own.
As an artist I find it highly restrictive and very frustrating to always live with a type of disappointment in having to sell yourself short by being confined and pigeon-holed to a particular genre. So the best description or genre that seemed to resonate from all the feedback that I have received tended to lean toward the retro/rock/90s grunge pop category.
I think this album release represents an artistic trajectory that I have probably always been on but never fully realized it at any given time. From a personal perspective it was a reaction to all the struggle and dissatisfaction and pent-up frustration that goes along with being marginalized and dehumanized by a type of callous indifference in the steel industry that I worked in.
I have written most of my songs on a clapped-out Washburn acoustic with 10-year-old rusty strings on it. My whole process is quite simple initially, I usually find a chord progression or a riff that I like playing and improvise words and melodies until something jumps out at me, and then I write it down and experiment with it from there. Recently I acquired an electric piano so I have used a similar process on writing songs that are piano driven. This is typically only the first stage until I get into the studio to arrange things and shape the sound of the instruments. I tend to spend a lot of time experimenting with different sound patches and instruments, it’s pretty much like sculpting with instruments and sound instead of clay or marble. It’s at this stage that things really start to take shape, probably the most interesting part of the whole process.
I used to worry a lot about that a few years ago, as I had to juggle working in steel factories and playing gigs and writing songs. The big challenge for me then was if I had any energy left after a long week working in the oppressively hot and smoky conditions that all the steel factories tended to have. Employers were not very sympathetic towards me when I refused to work overtime to go and play gigs. I lost quite a few jobs due to the uncompromising and downright bloody-mindedness of some employers. Not only did I have to deal with the employers, I used to get a lot of crap from other workers. When they found I was into music they would go out of their way to make life as difficult as possible for me. I would have to hide the fact that I was doing music just so as to avoid all the bullshit you had to put up with. I left quite a few jobs due to getting sick and tired of being persecuted by other workers who presumably felt intimidated by anyone who had a consuming interest outside of work. I find it much easier now as I work for myself; I don’t have to deal with the sort of stresses that come with working in the steel industry anymore.
As for staying focused I think I am an extremely curious person so focus doesn’t seem to be something that I worry too much about as I have felt compelled to create no matter what else is happening in my life.
There has been a lot of advice given to me by other musicians and from various other sources. The one piece of advice that has never left me and still shapes the way I approach everything I do, came from a guitar scale book I bought years ago by a session player who had worked with Frank Zappa by the name of Tommy Tedesco. At the start of the book he described how every time he had a setback or something negative happened in regards to his music career he would doggedly dig his heels in and just get that much better at what he did.
I live in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne in the state of Victoria in Australia. The music scene is kind of nonexistent out where I live, it died out quite a number of years ago when poker machines were legalized in Victoria. It’s very hard or near impossible to get gigs in Melbourne as there are very limited options as far as venues go and a huge oversupply of bands. It’s a really superficial and cut-throat scene despite what a lot of people will tell you. One thing that I have observed about Melbourne’s music scene is that there is a ruthless and sometimes nasty competitiveness between the bands, probably due to the lack of venues so everyone tends to have a territorial gang mentality of protecting their turf.
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