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Tribu talks to Daniel Hopewell, guitarist and songwriter of The Crookes, about the nuances between poetry and lyricism. How do you know when a poem becomes a song? I want the words to work as a song before they work as a poem. They are always written with the intention of being listened to and not read and so the most important thing is that they work in a musical sense. My favourite lyricists are the ones who offer something deeper for the few (and I think it is relatively few) who want to invest more in the song. You can have a great song and a great melody but without some deeper lyrical content the listener can only ever enjoy the song on a superficial level. Do you feel there is any real difference, aside from the obvious musical element, between lyricism and poetry? I think good poetry should be musical anyway - you consider the same elements: metre, beats, assonance and even the way you breathe when writing both. I think the main difference is that poetry is far more vulnerable; there's no musical tone to harmonise with the tone of the words. How did you get into writing, what does it mean to you? I can't remember; I've always written. I have hundreds upon hundreds of notebooks that document everything I've ever seen/heard/experienced. I suffer from a monomaniacal need to capture the world around me. What is your process when it comes to song writing/do you ever feel you lose the integrity of a poem when it becomes a song? It depends really. Sometimes the melody comes first and that naturally informs the lyrical content; certain chord progressions evoke tones that are inherently minor, major, fucked up, sexual - whatever. But in the album we're currently writing I've started by writing the lyrics first and it's the first time we've ever done it this way. It's quite liberating because there are no syllabic or structural constraints which means I can write whatever the hell I like. It's already yielded far better results than anything we've done before because rather than having to compromise lyrical content and melody, the natural tone of the words can be more easily matched by writing music specifically for them. How has being in a band and having other people - the lead singer, the fans, the critics - singing your lyrics changed your poetry, if at all? Do you feel you've developed a specific style in order to accommodate for this? Yes, it's changed my style a lot. We've always said it's like writing a screenplay designed to be acted out, so rather than writing songs that are specific to me I write with certain characters in mind. It is again quite liberating and less selfindulgent than I'd perhaps have the temptation to be if I were the singer. I think it's important that whoever listens to the song can interpret the words in their own way and make sense of them, even if my initial intention has been lost. Once I put a song out there it no longer belongs to me, but to the listener.

Words by ALICE BRACE | Images credit to Russell Bates Š


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