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Writing Songs as a Band

Housefires and Ben Armstrong

00:27:44 · Songwriting

Watch this lesson as Ben asks some of the crew from House Fires how they approach songwriting and how important community plays a part in that.

Writing Songs As A Band

House Fires



HOW DO YOU GET SONGS?


Tony: A lot of what we do takes place in house churches; being present with God; we all come from different places; hanging out and music comes; intentionality with our relationships.


Curby: A monthly worship night; the last Wednesday; Housefires led; create a lot of space; we lead in other gatherings; moments come out of those; sometimes there’s things you can’t stop singing; we let the songs breathe; let God do what He’s going to do.


TELL US A STORY OF SPONTANEOUS WORSHIP WHERE GOD CAME IN A SPECIAL WAY?


Nate: “Never Run Dry” a corporate moment where God was coming in the room like a river; you couldn’t deny Him; manifest presence; simple melody and chord progression; but that was what God was doing in my life - Isaiah 35 - waters will break forth in the wilderness; no matter what you see to your right or your left, continue to believe in my goodness; they all sat down as good friends and out came the song; crafted the song.  The songs usually come in little tags; crafting the moments.


HOW DID YOU LEARN HOW TO CRAFT?


Tony: Sometimes it takes 10 years to write; be patient where you’re at; sometimes you love the tag and can’t shake it; you can’t get ahead of where God is taking you.  Be present with people.


HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN A SONG IS DONE?


Pat: I wonder if a song is ever done because new life can flood into an old verse.  Talks about the song that he wrote when he and his wife had a miscarriage.  Some songs you do the work and put the practice in because it’s supposed to come something else; you don’t feel like you have to force something that’s not supposed to be.  Does this move me? If it moves you, you feel so free to share it with other people because it’s moved you.  If it doesn’t move them, it doesn’t matter because it moved you and carried you through this time.  You can make a song “better” but that doesn’t make it any more finished than it is right now; it’s finished when you said what you wanted to say and you leave the outcome.


WHO ON THE TEAM MAKES THE CALL TO MOVE ON?


Pat: A lot of the songs aren’t written by the 4 of us.  


A lot of the times the community makes the call.  The writers have an idea where the songs should go, but then the community helps shape where the song goes.  It’s hard to change a song once it comes out.


HOW DO YOU GUYS NAVIGATE SINGING A SONG THAT NATE WROTE AND SOMEONE ELSE SINGS IT?  HOW DO YOU SING A SONG LIKE IT’S YOURS?  AUTHENTIC OWNERSHIP OF A SONG YOU DIDN’T WRITE?


Curby: “Come to the Rivers” I did not write; talks about her journey to Atlanta; community changed; It was such a prayer of mine at the time; feeling in transition.  It doesn’t feel smooth all the time; getting through a tough season and someone expresses the singular focus that you want to have; helping you with language.


Nate: I don’t want to go out on the stage with a song that I haven’t spent time in with the Lord.  Soak the song in; feel the lyrics in my heart; you can connect with it so much more.


YOUR BIGGEST FIGHT?


Pat: A lot of the biggest tensions we’ve had practically - 4 individual lives, not all at the same church, we have marriages and kids, a lot of the things that have happened are unexpected; trying to walk through them as a team; you want your voice to be heard but move together is tough but healthy.  When there’s a big decision coming up that involves all of us, we need them to have a place to be heard.


Tony: The reality is all of this could go away tomorrow.  Lean into seeing humanity in each other and making sure that’s what we live out of.


Curby: The only thing you lose when you confront someone is a surface relationship.  It’s easy in conflict to assume things that aren’t true; you make up your own story.  Confirmation is difficult but always so worth it.  Dignify people.  We’re all still learning how to do that; when big decisions are being made and feelings are involved, it’s important to be honest.  We assume things.


EMBARRASSING MOMENTS LEADING WORSHIP WITH A BAND; FUN STORIES?


Curby: talks about Nate singing his song and started in the wrong time signature.  Singing a song in the wrong time signature, but they all leaned in and went with it.  


The way someone responds when something isn’t going well reveals their character.  There’s grace for the mistakes.