What it feels like for… Guy Sigsworth
MusicRadar.com discusses with British composer, producer and songwriter Guy Sigsworth the art of the pop collaboration,and what it feels like working with Madonna.
How did you approach working with someone the stature of Madonna when you collaborated on What It Feels Like for a Girl?
“That song was quite an unusual situation. I sent Madonna a backing track, which already had the spoken word bit in and then she wrote a vocal to it. At the start of our meeting together she sang me her guide vocal, which I thought was great. There was just one thing, in that it worked perfectly against the chorus but it was a little odd against the verse.
“Madonna said she wanted the music adjusted to better fit her melody so I moved a bar to bring it in line with the verse and she said she thought was too simple. She wanted to use the sounds that were already there so there was no question of overdubbing things so what I did was to create the arrangement by basically just chopping up and re-positioning sounds that were already in the mix in different positions around her vocal to create the verse.
“That was a wonderful challenge because I stuck with what I’d brought on the demo, obviously Spike (*co-producer Mark ‘Spike’ Stent) made sure it sounded even better but we never went into opening up a load of new synths or samplers to find new sounds. It was just ‘where do we place the sounds we have to make the verse work?’ It was a problem but in a way it was brilliant in the way she imposed a restriction on it that made us be more creative.”
“It’s nice to be able to play a chord or a melody idea even when you’re not routed into the DAW”
So, restrictions aren’t always a bad thing in production?
“Exactly. I’m not a minimalist but some of my best productions are ones where I had some kind of idea in mind of what it was going to be like right from the start, or at least very early on. I’m not claiming that I heard every hi-hat of a final mix but it’s like there was a particular vision that I was working towards. Those productions tend to come out better than the ones where I’m just trying things out to see what works. Maybe that’s because there’s such infinity of possibilities these days that you can drown in it.
“I did a track where I’d only use sounds that had come off a piano even though it wasn’t just chords; knocking the piano to create a bass-drum and other noises generated from the piano. That wasn’t just to be arty and it was interesting as it gave it a character it wouldn’t have had it we’d just thrown everything we had at it.”
Read the full story on MusicRadar.com.
Thanks to our Team member Hard_Candy.