Introducing: The Words + Music in 6 Seconds Deck by Dan Wilson
I’m really excited to announce this: The Words + Music in 6 Seconds deck!
I’ve collected the best of my social media advice clips into a compact and beautiful deck of cards, designed to be a creative tool for songwriters, musicians, and producers, as well as people in other creative fields. Each of the 74 cards has a simple, thought-provoking, and hopefully helpful nugget of advice, insight, or encouragement — all lessons that I’ve learned from my years on tour, in studios, rehearsal spaces, and writing rooms, and on stages around the world. I designed the cards with my friend and long-time visual collaborator Todd Gallopo, and we combined an artful seriousness of intent with a lighthearted vibe. We chose high-quality materials to create an object with enjoyable surfaces and colors that will be inviting to pick up and use.
The idea came when I told a friend I was thinking of creating a book using the quotes from my W+M6S online series. She said, “How about a deck of cards instead of a book?” I said, “Oh, like Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies deck?” She said, “I don’t know who that is.” Of course, I know who Brian Eno is, but I still loved the idea, and so I’ve tried hard to make sure the Words + Music in 6 Seconds deck is an entirely different animal than Eno’s studio-oriented advice cards. The W+M6S cards are about forging collaborative relationships, seeking a community, testing out ideas in front of an audience, and writing better songs. The world of collaboration is full of mystery for many of us, and the cards put a special emphasis on how to make the most of our time together in creative pursuits. I know those of you who use the deck will agree.
New Semisonic EP, You’re Not Alone, out now!
The new Semisonic EP, “You’re Not Alone,” is now out! Being in this band with John Munson and Jake Slichter is an ongoing high point of my musical life. We’ve been all over the world together and we still love to hang out. What more could I ask for? I’m so happy about how these songs turned out. I felt like they HAD TO be great – and now you can be the judge of whether they are :) (Go ahead and let me know if I’m following my own advice or not…) We got a lot of help along the way but special shout out to Jenny Owen Youngs, Mike Viola and Richard Walters for writing some of the songs with me! Stream/buy here.
New Semisonic Single – “All It Would Take”
I feel that in each of our lives, there is the possibility of meeting that one person who will change the way we see everything, a person who will give us a sense of new meaning, a mission, a passion. “All it Would Take” is our song for that moment, that person, that one voice that can change the world within you. Then you can turn outward and begin to change the world around you, too.
New Semisonic Single – “You’re Not Alone”
I wrote ‘You’re Not Alone’ a couple of years ago at a time when a lot of people, including me, were feeling isolated and despairing about the state of the world and the direction our country was going. We recorded the song last year and I’m really happy that it’s now coming out. It’s Semisonic’s first new song in 20 years. Coincidentally, the song is coming out when both a global pandemic and racial justice protests are compelling us to reimagine and rebuild our relationships to each other and the communities we live in. All against a backdrop of isolation, despair, and hope. Just as I felt when I first wrote it, I hope this song will communicate a sense of connection, an awareness that we’re not alone.
New Single – “Try Love”
Here’s my new single, “Try Love.” Nobody needs to be pitched on trying love, we try it again and again, no matter how rough it gets. Still, like the song says, if you really want to go through a lot, you can always try love. Listen here.
New single – “The Real Question”
I wrote ‘The Real Question’ two weeks ago when the strangeness and the dread of our self-quarantine was sinking in. Even as we were all sharing the same scary short-term fears about the epidemic, I also was thinking, ‘What happens if we make it through this? How will our lives be changed? How will my life be changed? Will a lot of us feel the impulse to renew or revise our agreements with lovers, family, community, country?’ In some ways I hope so. So I wrote this song about those questions. Watch the lyric video on my YouTube channel.
Words & Music in Six Seconds Live: Friday, 4/24 (3pm PT, 5pm CT, 6pm ET)
My ‘Words & Music’ series of online songwriter advice clips began on the Vine app. I called it ‘Words & Music in 6 Seconds.’ I wanted to give songwriters very brief and helpful statements that they could apply to their own work as they wished. By the time Vine went away I had migrated to the other social sites, and relaxed the time constraint a bit. But the idea remained the same. For ‘Words & Music in 6 Seconds Live,’ I’ll take a handful of those quotations and expand on them with real-life song examples, and I’ll answer questions from viewers as well. Watch here on Friday, 4/24 (3pm PT, 5pm CT, 6pm ET).
New Single – “Red Light”
My new single is ‘Red Light,’ which I wrote with Jenny Owen Youngs and Ethan Gruska, and produced with Ethan,’ explains Dan Wilson. “We wrote it when I had just learned that all of the master recordings of my two bands Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare had burned in the secret Universal fire. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was angry and sad, haunted by the image of police helicopters floating above the archives as they burned in the night. A red light, shining up from the city. Ethan’s treatment of the piano and the ambient space he created around it makes it sound like it’s crackling and curling in the red light of a fire at night. And of course the ‘recording’ light on a tape machine is red. On top of all of this, I was thinking about people in my family who have lost their memory. I think ‘Red Light’ is also about them – are we all just archives of our own lives? What do we bring to the people we encounter? Would I be me if I forgot everything I had experienced? If my master tapes are gone, am I still here?
New Single – “Superfan”
Here’s my new single, Superfan. “Be my superstar; I’ll be your superfan.” Thanks to Ethan Gruska for optigon, samples, atmosphere and percussion, and John Mark Nelson for drums and bass and almost everything else besides my guitar.
New Single – “Eventually”
My newest single is called “Eventually.” It’s an epic myth about two modern road warrior lovers, racking up the sky miles; quelling volcanoes and floods far from home or waiting by the door. I’ve played both roles. Lately I’ve been trying to make recordings that situate a homely upright piano within a weather system of ambient synthesizer. I think that suits the message of “Eventually” pretty well.