Itch to Scratch is a song that came about from a weird collaboration project I did with Nick Droz.
The project was Nick’s idea. It’s a bit odd. Here’s what went down.
Nick proposed that we each write and record the music for a track while leaving a gaping hole where the lyrics and melody might go. Then we each write and record the words and melody to the music that the other completed. The recorded vocal parts then get sent back to the person who originally recorded the music to complete the final mix. And wah-la! Two new songs are born.
Before we get into the details of the song, here’s a little more about Nick Droz.
Nick Droz is a musician and songwriter operating out of Wes Seattle. He plays a lot of guitar. He surfs a lot of waves. He also plays a lot bass for The Ding Dongs. In 2020 he started a project called the Secret Single’s Club where he releases a brand new track each month via email. The project is a pure joy, I encourage you to subscribe. The two songs from this collaboration are included amongst his Secret Single’s Club releases.
Now back to the project.
The first of the two songs is Itch To Scratch. Take a listen.
For this one, I made the music parts and Nick composed the melody and words.
When writing songs, I typically start with a melody and let it shape the rest of the music and song structure. It was challenging not to let the melody be in the driver’s seat for this one (the melody was Nick’s job).
Melodies can be a sneaky bunch. Many times during the writing process a melody tried to work its way in there without me realizing. I had to be on full alert. Whenever I sensed a melody start to poke through, I had be all like, “Hey melody, what do you think you’re doing?! Get outtta here!”
In the end, I successfully defended my sans-melody music turf. And it was real cool to see what Nick did with the song. It turned out way different (and better) than what I would have done.
This is what Nick said about writing the words and melody.
In terms of adding vocals to his tune, it was challenging. I definitely have a bag of tools I feel comfortable using, proclivities for certain keys, tempos, chord progressions, song structures etc. Mike and I write very differently, so this exercise quickly forced me outside all of that. The biggest challenge was figuring out how to structure things in a way that didn’t feel forced, and didn’t walk all over the cool instrumental points of interest Mike created. Where it ended up is a far cry from anything I ever would have made on my own, and I’m pleased with how it turned out.
— Nick Droz
I hope you enjoy the song as much as enjoyed adding synth arpeggios to it. I like how it all came together even though it sounds like an 80s television theme song at certain points. Not Nick’s fault, I take full responsibility.
Stay tuned for part two of this project next week.
Itch To Scratch
by Nick Droz and Mike Votava
broken arrow tread lightly
startled sparrow crafty nightwing
game set and match
oh these plans we hatched
quite an itch to scratch
i’ve got this feeling that we’ve got big trouble