From 15 Questions
“Songwriting? It’s like being a sounding board for spirits.“
Name: Steve Louw
Nationality: South African
Occupation: Singer, songwriter, guitarist
Current release: Steve Louw’s Thunder and Rain is out via BFD / The Orchard.
If you enjoyed this interview with Steve Louw and would like to stay up to date with his music, visit his official website. He is also on Instagram, twitter, and Facebook.
Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration, like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc., play?
It’s what I love to do; it’s the beauty of creating something out of nothing. It’s an unconscious process, channelling what you’ve seen, heard, and felt and reflecting it back to others differently.
It’s like being a sounding board for spirits.
For you to start, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a ‘visualization’ of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?
I always try to let the song find me rather than looking for the song, so no, I am down on the chance side of the scale.
If something good comes in, a riff or a phrase, I will zone in on that and try to build it.
Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way? For example, do you need to do research or create early versions?
I like to be around my own space, with a couple of instruments lying around, maybe different guitars with different tunings. Fretting and playing around in a new tuning or a different key using a capo can create strange chords which can get you to another place or lead you onto a new path. It can make a song take on a whole new feel.
On the song “Train Don’t Run”, off my last album, Headlight Dreams, that happened.
I was in Vancouver without a guitar, so I bought a small travel-size guitar with a unique voice. When I returned to my hotel room, I put a capo on it and played high up on the neck; it led me to the riff and chorus of that song.