Diary Of A Songwriter: Scott Lavene
Our latest diarist overcomes his existential angst in order to have a hugely productive week, complete with mass muesli consumption
Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, Lou Reed and John Cooper Clarke are just some of the reference points used to describe the music of deadpan Essex artist Scott Lavene. The release of his new album Broke gives listeners the chance to decide for themselves whether or not such lofty comparisons are accurate. One thing we can surely all agree on though is that the stories contained within his gutter pop ballads make for a compelling listen.
It should, therefore, come as no surprise that his diary is equally captivating, taking us through a week in which he writes a one-man musical, shoots a video and eats a lot of muesli!
At the moment I’m writing a one-man musical. The first time I’ve been paid to write anything. I’ve almost finished the script so this week I’m going to write the music and the songs for it. I haven’t written any since the run-up to recording my album last year as I’ve been finishing a book. It’s all just words anyway, isn’t it? Should be no problem.
Cup of tea, couple of oranges, pen, notebook. I sit in front of the piano and wait for the magic.
I’m fucking shit. What’s the point in all this anyway. I play Snooker Loopy by Chas & Dave instead and drink my tea.
Watched YouTube. Another cup of tea.
I’m a fucking genius. The magic has arrived. Got a title and a chorus and worked out a few piano parts. Treat myself to boiled egg and soldiers and practice handstands whilst the eggs are boiling.
Lunch break over. I fill in the gaps on the page where the verses should be.
What rhymes with lozenge?
Clock out. Pick up the kid. Feed it. Wash it.
No writing today as I’m making a video for a forthcoming single, Superclean. I’m dressed in white leathers and sporting a giant triangle on my face. Costumed and preened, I jitter and mime in front of a green screen for five hours then drive home across Somerset looking like a 1970s spaceman.
In the van, on the way home, I hum melodies into my phone. Do do di di da da. Got to write a song about domestic violence tomorrow. A novel subject.
Muesli for breakfast, muesli for lunch. Song about domestic violence is in the can by the 10 o’clock cup of tea. Ready for my one-man musical. First rehearsals tomorrow. Making art out of memories is not plastering or digging holes in concrete or gutting fish or wiping people’s arses, but it is work. It is feeding from the soul.
Fortunately, as we all know, muesli replenishes the soul. I cycle through the wind to meet a friend for a cuppa and then play the piano for the rest of the afternoon. Emotional couplets. What is the saddest chord in the world? D minor they say. I think there’s still a bit of hope in D minor. All is not lost. Now A minor. Now that’s a tragedy.
Life is grand.
Broke is out today. The second single from the forthcoming album. The song just fell out in a bundle one morning last summer. It’s eight minutes long. There is no singing in it, mainly talking. It’s a story, a deadbeat manifesto. Certainly not destined for radio, but I’m proud of it.
I don’t like listening to my own music much but I listen to it once on Spotify just because I can. It’s good. It is something. Something that is no longer in my head or being written in a bedroom. It is alive. It has been brought to life by other humans. The musicians are top banana. The production is ace. They have taken my baby and raised her.
The video has a lot of my face in it. I need to stop eating bread again. In this video I am dressed in my normal clothes, eating toast and walking around Bedminster until a dream sequence where I am a fop, a luvvie, a show-off. ‘Twas a gas to make, a hoot.
In the afternoon I rehearse my musical in front of the director and two producers. Three beautiful women with formidable minds. It is the first time they have heard it. It is not quite complete but they laugh and they cry and they give me notes and then we eat chips. Mine are drenched in vinegar.
Muesli, oh muesli, oh my darling muesli.
I still have to finish three songs for the musical. I tinker on them one at a time for the morning then speak to one the heads of my label. We talk about a direction for new recordings. I’m surprised at this. I have low expectations and pessimism and presume this is my one and only album for them. If it is, that’s ok. It’s been a gas. If the album does ok then I shall demand a chateau in France for the next one. And a chef. And a Citroen 2CV. Quarters for my family to stay in. A view of Provence. I will also need a personal make-up artist. The eye make-up from Tuesday remains as the wife does not have any make-up remover. But I like it. The album will have strings and saxophones and a choir and I will sit in the booth wearing a top hat and underpants and nod my head along.
“More muesli sir?”
“Yes please and on the fucking double.”
Or I could make one at home with a drum machine and my Telecaster. A wonky donk album. Stripped to its juice like The Blue Nile. They don’t have good Earl Grey in France anyway. Anyhow, I’ll never stop writing. I can’t. It’s a curse.
Broke is out 7 June 2019 via Funnel Music. For all the latest info, take a look at scottlavene.co.uk