The Truth about "Tornado" and songwriting in general...
Songwriting in itself is such a strange and magical process to me. No matter how many years I've been doing it, it's still one of the most elusive, unexpected and strange creative processes in my life. You can have days where it feels really forced but you still have to do the work - and days where something is just taking you over and it's all pouring out. Great things can come from either side of the spectrum, but there is no way around the fact that you simply have to do the work.
And sometimes that just means having enough space with no interruptions to go for your life when an idea hits.
(this might explain my occasionally awol nature on social media ;-) )
People are often sending me playbacks and instrumental things to create lyrics and melodies on and when I first started writing full time I tried to write on absolutely everything - but as I went along I realised the only things that I'd listen to more than once, regardless of the technical songwriting aspects - were things where my heart was genuinely involved from the beginning. Sounds obvious but that feeling doesn't come along every day and you just can't force it. But it really keeps you honest, because you don't actually get to choose (with your brain at least) what you love and you can't (well at least I can't) fake it - it kind of chooses you.
When I've had that feeling it's as though the lyrics write themselves. The melodies become obvious to the point they can't be anything else and they come with words relatively fully formed. I have absolutely no idea how it happens, somewhere in the mash up of emotions, vocabulary and voice. Just gotta try to "keep the channel open."
Tornado was like that. It's not a conventional song by any means and i know that, but somehow my heart is really in it and I just had to go with that.
Robert Koch had sent me a bunch of instrumental tracks and this one in particular was really different. It sounded to me like old school Jam and Lewis (Janet Jackson's producers) but it really had this emotional intensity in it - I started with "and I can hear it, on the air now, with the taste of, my surrender and I can't seem to change my fate" .... and suddenly I had this strange song that somehow felt very real to me.
Niemerski (Tensnake) and I decided to reproduce it and we worked for a long time to get it right because we really didn't have any examples of how such a vocal song, almost choral, with explosive choruses could retain a kind of emotional honesty and intensity - while also being lifted (and not dragged down) by production. It was his idea to take it in that drum n bass direction and I love the sheer physicality of that sound - but I also love the atmospheric sound design he made in the verses.
Of all the songs on the record Tornado is by far the most dynamic and intensely electronic of them all.