Kendall Street Company Advises Writers To Just ‘Let It Flow’

Since they began touring relentless in 2013, jam alt-rock band Kendall Street Company have built up a fervent fanbase around the country. The band has given their audience much to celebrate even in this time of COVID-19: they’ve put out two releases this year, their Nautical Aquatical EP this past summer, and a full-length album, The Stories We Write for Ourselves, on October 23. (We talked with them about it)

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Calling from his home in Charlottesville, Virginia frontman Louis Smith has advice for other songwriters who wish to put out high-quality material at a prolific clip. “Just do it – and don’t judge yourself too hard for what you’re writing down,” he says. “Let it flow and edit later.”

Cutting off self-criticism is, Smith says, “one of the hardest walls to break through” for a songwriter. “You’re writing something down and you say, ‘That’s stupid. I should really just delete that.’ But really, just write everything down and then figure out what you’re trying to say later. I t’s best just to get the ideas down as rough drafts.”

Smith admits he learned this the hard way. “This is something I never did, and I should have done,” he says, adding that he changed his ways after realizing, “Once you have the ideas laid out, things come to light. Maybe something that you never thought of can spark an idea. Even if this line is not something that you use, it could be something that inspires the next thing.”

Now, Smith says, he doesn’t have any one way to write. “I don’t really have a designated process,” he says. “It’s just, what is the most inspiring thing? What clicks as, ‘This could be a song.’ Is this riff intriguing? If it’s inspiring, then maybe it’ll be a song. Maybe it won’t have words, maybe it will. It’s tough to say until you’re sitting in the room working on it and developing the ideas.”

As for the best way to capture ideas, Smith says, “I think a really powerful tool that people with smartphones have is the recording capabilities in their phone. You can just turn it on and go as long as you can until you’re not feeling inspired anymore, and then come back and write all that stuff down. The voice memos on the phone are a great tool.”

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