THE ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: APRA Silver Scroll nominee 2013 Luke Buda of Phoenix Foundation

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THE ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: APRA Silver Scroll nominee 2013 Luke Buda of Phoenix Foundation

The annual APRA Silver Scroll award acknowledges excellence in songwriting, so at Elsewhere we modified our Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire and tailored it to be specifically about the craft of songwriting for this year's five finalists.

These five  were decided by the 10,000 strong APRA membership – all songwriters or composers themselves – who voted for their champion for 2013. The Silver Scroll award is New Zealand’s only peer-voted songwriting award, and is widely considered the most prestigious songwriting award in the country.

Since 1965 the Silver Scroll Award has paid tribute to an impressive list of songwriters, with an honour roll that includes Ray Columbus, Neil Finn, Don McGlashan, Dave Dobbyn, Bic Runga, Chris Knox, Brooke Fraser and The Naked and Famous.

Answers to the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire by last year's Apra Silver Scroll finalists are here.

Oh, and last year's winner's answers are here.

The 2013 APRA Silver Scroll Awards will be held at Vector Arena in Auckland on Tuesday 15th October, and will be live-streamed via NZ Herald Online.

But as to this year . . . here is Luke Buda of the Phoenix Foundation who -- with Sam Scott, Thomas Callwood, Richie Singeleton, Chris O'Connor, Conrad Wedde and William Ricketts -- is nominated for Thames Soup.

The first song which really affected you was . . .

I don’t really remember it was either “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” by this old school band called The Beatles or it was “Sweet Child Of Mine” by American rock act Guns’n’Roses. I got the tapes at the same time.

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

I think it was Eddie Van Halen. Not so much for the music really, but for the ‘cool’ looking zany guitar he was playing in a photo in a book I had called “How To Play The Electric Guitar”.

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

Oh there’re lots of them. It’ll take more than one or two lemons for me to lose faith. Call me loyal… Maybe it’s a Polish thing. I will always check things out if they’re by someone who has made something I care for. Frank Black is a good example: quite prolific; lots of duds; lots of diamonds.

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


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

Life On Mars David Bowie.

We Live Again  Beck.

It’s a Livin’ Thing ELO

Melody first? Words or phrase first? Simultaneous?

Definitely melody. In fact I find lyrics to be an utter nightmare and often have entire structures and melodies that I’m fiddling with on ProTools for YEARS before the lyrics arrive. Recently the lyrics have arrived with a lot of help from Sam.

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

The truth is I haven’t really.

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

Well, mostly someone with lyrical skills so that I can supply the other stuff and they can deal with them pesky words. Beck. Jarvis Cocker. Leonard Cohen (hahahaha!).

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

I bought Brian Eno’s ‘Ambient One: Music for Airports’ as a present… Haven’t bought vinyl in a while as my turntable is a disappointment but I think MAYBE the last one was the extremely awesome album “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath. Side 1 is one of the greatest sides of all time: War Pigs. Paranoid. Planet Caravan. Iron Man. One could exclaim “Holy Baloney!”.

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

This has to be a big hit right? Probably something by the Vengaboys, maybe “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom” or “Sex on the Beach”.

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

You want someone to screw your brains out, I’d say they’re running out of time and they’d only go and cut themselves on the daggers of your mind.” – Pulp ‘Bob Lind (The Only Way Is Down)’

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

Whatever. You think there are rules? There are NO RULES.

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

Kinda. The song ‘Burning Wreck’ from the Phoenix Foundation album ‘Happy Ending’... I literally took a wrong turn and ended up on the motorway heading away from home in the middle of the night and had a mind melt where I was very scared of driving and kept seeing the possibility of a horrible crash. By the time I got home I had the song and vibe completely worked out.

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

I don’t believe in absolutes like THE BEST. I DO think it’s a really well paced number. The chords do the work. The lyric has some meaning behind it. The arrangement didn’t need much for it to work so surely that is a testament to the songwriting? Some of our songs aren’t really SONGS as such (like ‘Buffalo’, it wouldn’t really work if it was a single acoustic and vocals) but ‘Thames Soup’ deffo is to the totes max!

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