Our fourth demo feature is Lula by James Tecson.

 

What inspired you to write this song?

I wrote it a while back and I figured it out that most of the records that I worshiped like “Is This It,” “Whatever People Say I Am….” and “Is This Happening” shares a direct or indirect Lou Reed-ism style of telling it like it is so maybe that’s where I got it from. I wanted to write it in the same vein as those records but I also tried to at least not sound like a cheap knock off. 

In terms of what it is about, it’s pretty straightforward and it isn’t that profound as it comes from recurring instances of seeing the resiliency of some in the face of rejection while Lula is born out of the preconceived notions we sometimes have of somebody like a manic pixie dream girl type of thinking and it’s the realization those kinds of notions only work as a movie trope. 

She’s also anybody that became a local household name for doing nothing out of the ordinary. But it could really just be all about how some people can’t take a hint.

Describe the process/experience of creating this song from start to finish?

For a time it was just a melody that was stuck in my head that I couldn’t flesh out mainly because I lack the skills to make sense of what I was hearing. Oddly enough my inadequacies were vital to how it sounded in terms of its structure because it would have been way different if I was able to figure it out back then. 

Mainly, it was just a trial and error method of trying to find the right combination of chords that sounded great together. In regards to my approach with writing the lyrics, most of what I wrote was just a stream of consciousness sort of deal that I kept on changing bits and pieces now and then. Even as of this moment, what I may have written is still not definite.

Do you do something or listen to someone to kick start your creativity?

Well, it varies and nothing is set in stone. I could be fiddling with the guitar and stumble upon a progression that I’d find interesting or sometimes all it takes is one good line to get it going. If I can’t come up with anything, I try to get some perspective mainly by watching a movie or listening to records because most of the time I’m going to get something out of it one way or another whether it’s a random dialogue or a certain mood to a record. I don’t listen or watch a specific genre too, but rather whatever I’m writing adapts to whatever I’m into and vice versa. I also try to read, if you count “Turns 10” articles by Stereogum as reading.

Does songwriting come naturally to you?

It depends on what you mean naturally because somehow it would lead me to believe that if I say yes, that it comes easy and it’s just one big “Great Scott” moment that happens again and again, so if that’s the case then definitely no. I think it’s a bit pretentious to think that it’s a God-given talent that either you have it or you don’t, to me that just sounds idiotic. Everybody can write it’s just a matter of how much time and effort you put into it just like all things. There are some lines that may come off like it’s organically constructed but I attribute it mainly to what gave me the idea in the first place and I’d always assume it’s because of what I engrossed myself into whether it’s a movie, a memory, a viewpoint or a record. I wouldn’t say it comes naturally to me if I had to picked the belle of the ball out of the 20 phrases I’d written for just a single line and do it 10 more times.

Who are your biggest influences musically?

Top of that list would probably be Bob Dylan. I get that it’s the equivalent of saying my biggest influence is The Beatles, it goes without saying, but for someone who predominantly listened to classic rock acts, the first time I heard Bob Dylan there was like a seismic shift in terms of my approach to songwriting. It also helped that his artistry wasn’t being limited to his inability to not be a world-class singer, so it gave me hope for someone who can’t sing that well.

Other influences lyrically would be Bowie, Lennon, Lou Reed, Father John Misty, Alex Turner, Julian Casablancas, George Harrison, and James Murphy. Musically, I’d list The Velvet Underground, The Rolling Stones, The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Beach House, LCD Soundsystem, Mac DeMarco, and The Shins. I’d even list Richard Linklater if I’m allowed to list filmmakers as influences because I believe it’s not only limited to music that could influence you musically like how a certain scene or a shot could strike up a kind of aura that makes you write accordingly to that mood.

Listen to LULA by James Tecson:

 

Lula Lyrics

 

Sulking by the bar

Eager to leave

Noone to talk to

Even if you’re screaming

Lula? She looks like Lula?

 

A rowdy crowd

With all who remains

Menacing intentions

And conceited gazes

Their mags with Lula

 

 

Lula better give me one more chance

She says she says she says she’s got no plans

Lula better give me one more shot

Boy, you better back the fuck away

 

 

Smokey hazel eyes

With a pearl cream skin

Be polarized

Even in glimpses

Lula? That must be Lula?

 

Vivid looks

I must be staring too much

My my honey

Is that the best you got?

Lula my my my Lula

 

 

Lula better give me one more chance

She says she says she says she’s got no plans

Lula better give me one more shot

Boy you better back, Boy you better back

Boy you better back the fuck away

 

 

Livid as he stalks

Deadset by his games

Boy you’ve got to learn

When you’ve blown your play

Lula, My my Lula

 

 

Lula better give me one more chance

She says she says she says she’s got no plans

Lula better give me one more shot

Boy you better back, Boy you better back

Boy you better back the fuck away

 

Check out DemoCrazy Vol. 7 and follow 22 Tango Records on Soundcloud for the latest songs.  

Artwork by James Tecson.

Music curation by Abegail Kionisala & Redd Odilao.