Timothy Nelson is Writing & Releasing a New Song Every Week This Year
We check in with the acclaimed West Aussie singer-songwriter about his ambitious project and new single
Image credit: Penny Lane
Timothy Nelson’s been busy, which is nothing new, but 2023 has been and will continue to set a new benchmark even by the Boorloo/Perth veteran’s already packed schedule. As well as releasing music under his own name, Nelson also produces more electronic-leaning sounds as Indoor Fins, while also being a touring member of Eskimo Joe’s live band.
If all that wasn’t enough, Nelson has decided to undertake a new project - writing, recording, producing and releasing a A New Song Every Week (ANSEW) of this year… as well as documenting the whole process over on his Indoor Fins YouTube channel, with a new video released every week showing the process of his latest creation in a slick and entertaining fashion.
He’s also just released his silky smooth new single Better I Leave It Alone (the creation of which he documented in episode 8 of ANSEW) that sees Nelson channelling the soft rock greats of the 70s, with plenty of strings, chords and key changes resulting in a cut of majestic and upbeat catchy goodness.
With all this going on, we checked in with Nelson about it all - peep the latest edition of ANSEW that sees him teaming up with Nici Ward (Lonesom Dove), and get to know below!
What led you to decide to commit to a project as intense as not just writing and recording a new song every week of this year, but also documenting said procedure?
I wanted to find an outlet for all the writing I do that would usually never see the light of day. I write all the time but I tend to hop genres and just kind of go wherever I want to, but then when it comes to releasing music I usually I’ll put a lot of thought into what sound or feeling I actually want to put out there. I thought doing a song a week would be a good way to make sense of the erratic nature of how I write and give that aspect of it a home. Also, I’m terrible at finishing lyrics and a massive overthinker, so this forces me to overcome those two obstacles because there’s zero time to muck about. My theory was even if no one heard or saw this thing, it would make me a better songwriter just for doing it. It will be interesting to see what songs manage to fall out of the sky during this whole thing. Doing it as a YouTube series, I just thought I could communicate more about the process of it all and hopefully make it more interesting to people. I do love video editing and all that stuff, so this is making me work harder at that too. It’s partially an accountability project, and also just an excuse to put a variety of skill sets through absolute ringer and see where I end up on the other side. I do think it would be a cool to have done, to be able to look back over it all at some point.
What’s your favourite part of the process/project so far?
As always, just getting to write songs all the time. But also, being forced to “finish” them means I have this weekly feeling of accomplishment that’s nice for the soul. I feel like I’m getting better, quicker at the editing side of it too and it just makes me more excited about making the episodes more and ambitious.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve come up against so far?
The whole thing really is just one relentless challenge that just gets more exhilarating the deeper I get myself into it. Other than that, just the boring old ‘computer-being-slow’ things I guess. Sometimes I’ll do a heap of work and realise I wasn’t actually filming or whatever. That is annoying.
Do you have any advice for other people who might be inspired to attempt writing a new song every week?
Don’t worry about where to start with each song. Just pick a chord or a beat or a single lyrical idea and go down that road. You want to let an idea form as much as it can without blocking it immediately with your own inner dialogue.
How do you balance touring duties with Eskimo Joe, alongside your solo music and this new project?
The only way to do this has been to incorporate it into the project. So I’m filming and writing on the road and the episodes have become more anecdotal in that sense, almost like a vlog that shows where the ideas came from too.
Among everything else going on you’ve managed to release a new single - tell us about Better I Leave It Alone (and the accompanying music video)?
This one’s been around for a while, I love playing it live and it was so nice to record it and get my dad (Mike Nelson) invoiced to write the string arrangement. it’s got a lot of chords, and five changes. I think I’m Pro Tools we ended up with like 300 tracks, 304 might be the actual number. Most of that was the strings, and my producer Andy Lawson had the wonderful task of making sense of that. I’m stoked with how it came out. It’s super 70s. Somewhere between Bee Gees and Kenny Loggins maybe. Although I actually started with almost all the lyrics written first before I’d even sang a note or picked up the guitar which is weird. The music video is just footage from our last regional tour thrown together. I bought an old video camera and passed it around. We had such a great couple of weekends playing shows and it was nice to capture that. I took it fits the sentiment of the song too.
How can people best support your music?
You can go on my Bandcamp if you’re feeling particularly supportive. Or come to a show sometime. Otherwise just stream the way you normally stream, baby. It’s all cool.