Marco Cremaschini and I continued to compose songs for HippieTendencies and toured with the band to the States in support of our first self-titled album in 2011. The writing process of that album, with Marco as a partner, continued to be revelatory. We collaborated in many different ways. While I was primarily the wordsmith and he the melody maker we were both happy to exchange roles some of the time.
He’d give me bars of melody which seemed to inspire me instantly, at other times I’d have a strong melody and play it for him with the song pretty much written, thinking it sounded pretty damn good and he would take it- make some chord changes, fiddle the arrangement- transforming and elevating the composition to such a degree that, much to my dismay, I could no longer play it. Often I’d be working on a similar sound or feeling to whatever he’d passed on and whatever lyrics I had would just slot right into his melodic line.
We both dreamed songs and woke up in the dead of night to scribble the ideas down before the grey dawn could snatch them from us. The night he dreamt of “Shame on You”, he sat bolt upright and ran from the room to the piano, beyond excited, mumbling the hook until he got to the piano and started composing. He pretty much wrote the entire song that night and then gave me the title as my launch pad for the lyric which also followed incredibly quickly.
We spent those days writing, taking breaks only to cook and eat or gig. We’d argue, drink red wine, and exchange ideas constantly about what we wanted to talk about on this record, what was important for us to say and became closer and closer as a result of our shared vision.
Our connection was apparent while performing as well. We would play gigs and after the show, without fail, someone in the audience would ask, how long have you been a couple? We both would immediately laugh as though it were the most ridiculous assumption and deny anything but a songwriting affinity. I still find it hilarious that our audiences saw before we did where all that synergy would lead…