Controlled Chaos: Francesco Artusato Talks Songwriting, Part 1

This is Francesco Artusato. I play guitar in All Shall Perish and for The Francesco Artusato Project.

Welcome to my third Guitar World column.

This week I’m going to talk a little bit about my vision and approach to writing music, since I had a lot of requests from the online community, fans of All Shall Perish and of my solo project.

This is an incredibly vast subject because it, of course, involves many different techniques and approaches, but I’m going to try to cover as much of this topic as possible.

First of all, exercise writing music the same way you practice your technique on the instrument and as much as you study music theory and so on. It’s a skill that needs to be developed every day! It’s not going to come natural just playing an instrument.

Second, listen to a lot of music, not just the style you want to write, but try to find inspiration from different genres you enjoy listening to. And when I say “listen to,” I really mean understand, analyze and deeply think about it.

Focus on the elements that give you the most emotions you identify with. Those are the musical aspects you want to learn how to master. We are not talking about copying somebody else’s music, but about taking knowledge and inspiration the same way you would study a text book in college; we are talking about learning, of course.

Also, I highly suggest finding a way to collect and save all your riffs, even the ones you are not incredibly excited about that day, because they might sound good to you the week after.

A good song can be seen like a complete musical statement, created with memorable elements like melodies and rhythmic patterns. These are the two most important aspects, and they are usually what catch our attention first.

Then you also have other components that make things even more appealing like interesting arrangements, original layering, exciting grooves, smart use of the orchestration, etc. …

One of the things you definitely want to avoid is writing without thinking about the bigger picture, what you call the structure of the song. A solid song always has a solid form, and we are not just talking about the placement of the verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge, etc., but about climactic movements between the different sections.

You rarely want to have the most exciting moment of the song in the beginning. Strategically, it makes more sense to arrange the very effective and powerful sections of the song so that they are felt at their best. And you build these types of emotions, creating moments of tension and release.

I’ll be talking more about this next week.

The first album from the Francesco Artusato project, Chaos and the Primordial, was released on June 28 via Sumerian Records. The new All Shall Perish album, This Is Where It Ends, will be released on July 27 through Nuclear Blast.

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