Katt here again! This weekend, Wax Chaotic went down to CONtraflow in New Orleans. (Awesome, awesome con. Go, if ever you can.) As we try to do whenever we go to conventions, we sent out word that we’d like to make a con video. This usually entails an informal performance of a new(/-ish) song and some fan Q&A. The only question submitted to us was one best answered by me alone, so I thought I’d write up my response as a blog entry. We also couldn’t come up with a song to perform for the video that was actually ready to be released to the world, so sadly, we have no con video from CONtraflow.
But we do have this blog entry! We were asked,
… how do you go about deciding which songs (or to-be-written songs) should go on the same album, or what seems like it would even be a good concept to start with?
I’ll answer this question a bit backwards.
First, how do I decide what a good idea for an album concept is? Well, I’m not sure the answer to that will be overly helpful—to date, every themed album of which I’ve conceived has been thought of completely randomly. I just get an idea for something, and run with it. “[untitled]” came about because I was writing songs pertaining to my own life—”Coat of Scars”, “Buttons”, and “[untitled]” itself just to name a few—and figured that if I were ever going to publish studio recordings of them, I might as well do so as part of some sort of appropriately-themed project.
“Faces in the Fog”, for the record, was never intended to have a specific theme. It just randomly happened to turn into a compilation of a bunch of songs that were, for the most part, spooky stories.
I have multiple other themed album ideas in the works behind the scenes, and I don’t want to say too much about any of them just yet. But I will say that, like “[untitled]”, they mostly came into existence by complete happenstance.
As for the second part of the question, concerning an album’s content, if I’m working with a theme, then that part’s pretty easy. The theme for “[untiled]”, for example, is, “Where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going”. Once I knew that, I knew that I wanted to have songs for the project pertaining to several very important aspects of my life—long-time friends (“Partners in Crime”), found family (“Lost Girls”), cats (“Wild Hair Time”), the love of my life (“In a Hundred Different Ways”), the effects and social ignorance of psychological abuse (“Hand-Me-Downs”), finding the value of hardship (“Coat of Scars”), and others.
I’m currently working to round out rough track list drafts for two future themed albums, and in the process of doing that, I’m mostly writing down ideas. I know that I want to include in an album a song about this thing or maybe this other thing, so I’ll note that down and think of ways in which I might write a story or discuss the idea in question.
I’m also working to round out the track list for “Vagabonds”, which is intended to be Wax Chaotic’s first album. We hope that it will be a live album comprised of performances of various songs from shows during our 2015 tour. And its theme is…no theme at all. Which I suppose is appropriate for a group calling itself “Wax Chaotic”. (One of the things I love best about that name is that it sort of gives us the ability to do whatever we want to creatively as we feel the need to do so.)
So how am I deciding what songs should go on this disc? Simple: They need to be things that don’t already have a studio version available. Even better if they’re songs so new that no one has heard them before. We’re considering a possible exception to both of these rules (largely because having a live version of “The Singing of Dragons” with some good audience participation would make us really happy bards), but for the most part, I’m doing my best to stick to them when conceiving of track list ideas to get Sean’s input on.
And that’s about all there is to it at the moment. I really enjoyed answering this question, so thanks, Gabrielle, for asking it! I hope I managed to give you some useful information!
If you’d like to ask us—or any combination of us (the both of us, just me, or just Sean)—a question, you can do so on our Facebook page. If it’s something we can both weigh in on, it might even be featured in one of our YouTube videos!
Until next time, thanks for reading!