The thing about the melodies I find is they never have a sell by date. A good melody will cut through the boundaries of eras and style. You can always adapt them and do a version of them any kind of way you want. I keep a melody orphanage all the time. I go to that orphanage and fish them out and you never know when a song will be brought to fruit. So I have my melodies and some of the songs may come by more quickly and some of them are born pretty much fleshed out, but I like to keep a melody orphanage as I do lyric orphanage.
Obviously emotions make their way into songs. I’m pretty affected by what goes on around me. At any given time there will be an emotion associated with my mood and I try to direct my emotions into my songs. It’s the only way to do it. It is usually at the most emotional moment that you will have a potent piece of magic. Even if that is not for actual performance use, the feeling will be a reliable one that you can keep coming back to.
I think a lot of personal songs are often universal songs. If you ever get personal about a thought you make it very singular and isolated – in a way you are essentially getting closer to somebody else’s heart. More like the way synchronicity works – somebody else is feeling what your feeling somewhere else.
I have my ideas of how about I am connected with my comrades out there – the rest of humanity and Godliness. I think it is a sign of independence and intelligence when you finally decide for yourself what it’s all going to mean to you. I’ve never really subscribed to the idea that one is to operate by somebody else’s thoughts and regulations. I think it is good to be inspired by what has happened in the past and given that we are current members of our time now, we have a responsibility to those great writers from the past and take their wisdom and bring it into the future. That’s where the idea of sharpening your own moral code or developing your own values comes in.
- Daniel Lanois
The Medicine Man, Daniel Lanois, "The Maker"