08 May Featured Artist | Frantisek Halfar | Please Don’t
Frantisek Halfar has been playing guitar for over 10 years and has been writing music ever since. He wrote the music for “Please Don’t” while traveling through Latin America after taking a break from graduating law school in the Czech Republic.
“What makes a melody great is finding the fine line between being original and catchy at the same time.”
How does the song “Please Don’t” come into being?
I recall that one day I was playing that riff, trying to combine it with some chord progressions when the verse of “Please don’t” came out. After jamming with the verse for a bit, the melody ensued very soon after and then the idea of the chorus occurred almost by itself. Simply put, it seemed like the whole song came out of initial idea of the verse riff rather naturally.
What do you think makes for a great melody?
I suppose that what makes a melody great is finding the fine line between being original and catchy at the same time. In this sense, the songs of the Beatles serve as a perfect example – despite using quite complex harmonies, they always managed to maintain the melody distinct and easy to remember. It’s exactly this ability to build a strong and simple melody upon a more complex and original chord progression that I believe makes a melody great.
When you write songs, do you try to consciously guide the meaning or do you try to follow subconscious directions?
In fact, it always ends up being the mix of both. At the beginning, there is usually one idea that appears rather out of the blue, be it a short melodic line or chord progression. But when relying just on this one simple idea, I find myself swirling in repetitive patterns that may sound good, but do not really lead anywhere. At this point I try to guide the song more consciously, thinking about the harmonics and trying to imagine what the next step might be. So, it’s always a kind of an interplay between grasping random ideas and pushing them forward with a more deliberate approach.
What do you do to help yourself tap into that creative energy?
I don’t follow any specific procedure, nor do I schedule the time to write; it mostly comes at random. Ideas usually occur when I just happen to be playing my guitar rather aimlessly, be it some songs I know or only improvising. It can be just one chord, specific rhythm or a few notes that, just at the given moment, sound different and intriguing, making me wonder where it might be heading. At that moment, one might say I’m “tapped”.