Today is gonna be the day
There are no hard and fast rules to songwriting. If I sit down and say ‘today I’m going to write a song’, nothing will happen...
After several decades at the top, and with no signs of slowing down, Noel knows exactly how he likes to do things. Rather than sharpening the songwriting process down to a fine point, he’s surrounded himself with the right people, the right environment, and the right tools. With those in place, the barriers are removed, and the music is sure to follow.
Some people need the struggle - I don’t. I need to be relaxed, I need it to be easy, I need it to just happen like that. If I’m searching or digging away for something, not getting anywhere, I get frustrated. I like things to be easy and at hand - and why not? I’m 54!
This no-nonsense approach to crafting songs, in Noel’s experience, strangely efficient. By striking a balance between keeping an open mind and knowing where to draw the line, he’s got plenty to work with without overthinking things. He’s also honest with himself - it’s not going to magically happen every day. The process requires patience.
I liken to fishing - the guy that sets up his equipment and sits there all day and he might catch nothing. It’s almost like a meditative process of waiting, and waiting, and waiting.
Once I’d got the first [NGHFB] record out the way - which was pretty much going to be the next Oasis album - I started to use more synthesizers. In a very basic way just to add something different.
For Noel, venturing beyond Britpop has been both a process of both cause and effect. The search for new sounds has driven him to incorporate synth and keyboard sounds in a way that took him by surprise - enter V Collection. Not only did these sounds facilitate the sonic diversity of his latest projects; they’ve become an integral part of the inspiration behind his songwriting process.
I’ve adapted it into my songwriting. Once I’ve got the bones of a song, I'll happily get on a synthesizer for hours and that’ll be the first thing that goes on. It might just be a rudimentary, atmospheric thing, but it’ll suggest a mood and we’ll take it from there.
In the studio, we move onto the topic of playing keyboards. Noel is upfront in saying that he isn’t a keyboardist - but also that that doesn’t prevent him from enjoying the experience, the process, and above all, the sounds. Better still, he feels that the fact that he isn’t a player means he approaches it from a different angle, often yielding more interesting results.
Since doing Who Built The Moon? with David Holmes - it was David who threw it all out the window on that album… He’d get there and he’d say ‘can you play the keyboards?’ I’d say I can’t play, and he’d say ‘Good, then we’ll get something interesting out of it’.
Exploring the sounds of V Collection, both during songwriting and with other musicians, offers more than just a fresh set of sounds. As Noel notes, he’s been in the business for a little while, and it isn’t easy to find that new lease of creative life at the best of times. But V Collection’s ability to bring new atmospheres outside of his sonic comfort zone is uniquely energizing.
It adds an atmosphere and takes it away from rock music. When I do get a keyboard player in, they’ll embellish it and play it better - I love it, because it’s like a rebirth as an artist. To get a rebirth as an artist in your ‘50s is a f*cking privilege.