Monthly Archives: March 2014

Porcelain Pill EP diary #4 – Songwriting mentorship with Darren Middleton (ex Powderfinger)

Porcelain Pill EP diary #4 – Songwriting mentorship with Darren Middleton (ex Powderfinger)

Yesterday I met up with Darren Middleton for my final one-on-one session as part of the Push Songs songwriting mentorship.

Here’s a little about the man himself. Darren was part of the hugely successful Australian rock band Powderfinger. They had 5 number one records in Australia including “Odessy Number Five” which received eight times platinum certification. Powderfinger decided to disband in 2010 after 21 years. Since then, Darren has gone on to record a great solo album (released this year) and has gone down the independent road.

Check out his cool video! I love the use of split screen in this clip.

Darren and I got on really well and it was really fun working through the songs.

Here’s a couple of things I had reinforced:

Recycle ideas.

In some of the bridges and end choruses there was a need for some other interesting element. Something to keep the listener engaged. Normally I would try to come up with some new idea the pack into these sections. Instead, we had a look at grabbing snippets of verse vocal lines and layering them within these later sections. It didn’t even need to be exact. Even just parts of melody, or lyric ideas but melodically slightly different. It was also a great way to reinforce great ideas from earlier in the song.

Taking bits out.

Some parts of the songs seemed crucial to me as a way to link the sections together. And they really do link the sections together well, but I was encouraged to try taking them out to see how the song reacts. This resulted in some very surprising happy accidents! It totally changed the way two sections interacted. It also allowed different ways to link sections which can be interchanged. For example, after a first verse into a chorus we can use one way, and after the second verse use a different approach. This leaves the listener thinking they know how it will progress, and then surprises them! Take that listener! Tricked you!

Now the hard part!

Look out brain. Here comes the hard part. Putting everything from the last three weeks into practice!


We have a big whiteboard of changes and tweaks that need to be done before the songs are ready for mixing. It’s exciting and also a little overwhelming. It’s like we’ve been on hold for the past three weeks, and now the gates have opened with a resounding “GO GO GO! What are you waiting for?! GO!!).

So here we go!!!

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