The Sound Of Certain Chords

Putting together my previous post reminded me that while The Police were in Montserrat recording GHOST IN THE MACHINE, Jools Holland and his documentary crew recorded interviews with Stewart's bandmates as well. 

Andy Summers

In this first clip, Jools Holland speaks with guitarist Andy Summers about a variety of topics including how he builds his sound, his use of effects & technology combined with unique chord choices to color his sound, and the influences he draws upon (e.g. blues, jazz, funk, and classical music) and then applies to the pop/rock format.


In this second clip, Jools sits down with Sting to discuss songwriting. In particular they talk about where the music and lyrics come from, how they meet, and are then formed into a song. They also touch on recording, using technology to retain ideas and generate new ones, and the role experience plays in the creative process.

As a composer, you like the sound of certain chords...
— Sting, Montserrat, June/July 1981

As an architect, I like sound of certain acoustics, the look of certain shapes, the feel of certain textures, etc. An author might favor certain words, phrasings, specific points of view, narrative devices, etc. A painter likes certain colors or mediums (watercolor, acrylics, oil, etc.). A photographer will favor certain subjects, focal lengths, lighting types, printing papers, and so on. 

There are similarities across art forms in regard to inspiration. All of them can inform and inspire your own creative process.

Originally broadcast on British TV, The Police In Montserrat in its entirety can be found as a bonus feature on the DVD release of The Synchronicity Concert.