THE ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: University of Auckland songwriter finalist Brayden Jeffrey

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Brayden Jeffrey: Fingertips
THE ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: University of Auckland songwriter finalist Brayden Jeffrey

Every year Auckland University hosts a showcase for their talented music students. This year in addition to the five finalists for songwriter of the year there are also categories for best vocalist, best lyricist, best instrumentalist, best arranger and best song.

It's a big night with judges from the top of the music industry and once again Elsewhere is pleased to introduce the finalists for the songwriter category.

Details on the the where/when of the event are below, but meantime let's introduce one of the second year music students . .

Brayden Jeffrey is an Auckland based musician trying his hand at lyrical blues-rock. Playing with bizarre caricatures and larger-than-life metaphor, he writes songs about young love and simple moments with a mix of schoolboy naivety and utter sarcasm. Writing songs and being onstage since he was a young boy, Brayden is a passionate performer who believes it’s the stage where his music really comes to life. “When I write, I write with how the song will look and feel onstage in my mind. That’s my ultimate goal as a writer and performer”.

His facebook page is here

The first song which really affected you was . . .

'The Chain’ by Fleetwood Mac. I loved the low down intensity and theatrics of the performance. Also, Mick Fleetwood dropped is hat from his head while playing this song and that’s when you knew the badass had arrived.

Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .

My Chemical Romance. I never went through an ‘emo’ phase, but I did go through a musical theatre phase and MCR’s Black Parade was pretty theatrical. I’m not proud of it, but I still have them on my Ipod.

The one songwriter you will always listen to, even if they disappointed you previously, is?

Jack White. That man could write terrible songs for the rest of his career and I would still lap it up with a rusty spoon.

As songwriters: Lennon-McCartney or Jagger-Richards; kd lang or Katy Perry; Madonna or Michael Jackson; Prince or Pink?

Lennon-McCartney, Katy Perry, Michael Jackson, Prince

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear because they are well crafted are . . .

15 Step - Radiohead, Transatlantacism - Death Cab for Cutie, Blues on Two Trees - Jack White

Melody first? Words or phrase first? Simultaneous?

A little bit of both. Mostly the melody comes first but on my favourite songs the first lyrics come first. I’m not a religious person but songwriting is a pretty transcendental experience in my opinion. When the lyrics come first I feel like there must be something I want to say. Otherwise I have to wallow around for lyrics and they never come out quite as good.

The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

I’m embarassed to say that I don’t read many books on musicians. Just listen and research online.

If you could co-write with anyone it would be . . .

Jack White. In a second

The three songs you'd insist anybody listen to because they might understand your songwriting style better are . . .

Wolf at the Door - Radiohead, Consoler of the Lonely - The Raconteurs, Heavy Chevy - Alabama Shakes

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

Technically a beat poetry album called When the Bough Breaks by Andrea Gibson (check it out, she is fantastic). The last music labum I bought was AM - Arctic Monkeys.

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you would be . . .

Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes

One line (or couplet) from a song -- yours or someone else's -- which you think is just a stone cold winner is . . .

‘I sat in the cupboard

And wrote it down real neat

They were cheering and waving

Cheering and waving

Twitching and salivating like with myxomatosis

But it got edited, fucked up

Strangled, beaten up

Used in a photo in time magazine

Buried in a burning black hole in Devon’

It’s more that one line but you need the whole thing.

Songwriting: what's the ratio of inspiration/perspiration?

It probably changes with everyone. For me it’s more inspiration. Just forcing something usually makes me hate it. Thankfully, inspiration comes often enough for me to keep up productivity. But that could be sheer practiced perspiration through lack of inspiration so, who knows?

Ever had a song come to you fully-formed like it dropped into your lap?

For sure. I guess this comes back to the idea of songwriting being transcendental. Sometimes you just have grab hold of it and tie it down before it floats away.

And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best song ever?”

Because it’s loud, sarcastic and full of boyhood wonder.

The University of Auckland’s Songwriter of the Year Award 2013

Thursday 3 October 2013 7pm (for 7.30pm start)

The Maidment Theatre 8 Alfred Street, Auckland.

Tickets $5-$15. Book at the Maidment Theatre 09 308 2383.

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