The Hammer - Pro7ect

Photos from my personal stash.

A while back I was invited to a songwriting retreat by the good folks at "Pro7ect" in Brighton. In case you haven't heard of a "songwriting retreat" it's where songwriters live together for a few days and write music with each other..and generally have a good laugh and relax.  I love collaborating and hanging out with strangers and creative people so I was in my element. Also we were all staying in a hotel I love in Brighton: Hotel PeliroccoLisa from the Pro7ect has written a guest post about a song we wrote together "The Hammer"...I paid her £2mil for her kind words 😉

- Elle xx


Photo by Ian Wallman

Photo by Ian Wallman

  • Pro7ect 2015 – Day 3: Singstar Studio
  • Song title: The Hammer
  • Producer: Ian Wallman
  • Writers: Elle Exxe, Ian Wallman, Lisa Fitzgibbon, Christina Kowulchuk

The incredibly talented Elle Exxe was the Pro7ect Guest Artist at our 2015 Songwriting & Production Retreat at Brighton’s Hotel Pelirocco. At Pro7ect events, teams of songwriters and musicians write and record a song in a day in the P7 Pop-Up studios...and this particular writing session was an incredible explosion of music, beats, lyrics and melodies.

The Guest Artist works with daily teams writing material specifically for them, and at this particular event Elle Exxe was looking for tracks for her upcoming album ‘Love Fuelled Hate’. The themes of Love and Hate were critical to her vision and she was looking for songs for the ‘Hate’ side of the album.

This particular day the writing team consisted of Ian Wallman (writer/producer/P7 House Producer), Christina Kowalchuk (topline writer/singer/songwriter), Elle Exxe and myself (Lisa Fitz- singer/songwriter/producer/P7 Creative Director).

We started the session by discussing different experiences we’d all had within the music industry. Unsurprisingly there were several Horror Stories told throughout the morning, which easily fuelled the flames of the song as it progressed.

Elle Exxe had a very clear musical vision for the song, and for her overall sound, so working with her in this collaborative environment was efficient and inspiring. Following Elle’s lead, the session flowed pretty smoothly once the idea of ‘The Hammer’ was discovered.

Ian Wallman (P7 Head Producer) and I worked on the track programming whilst Chris and Elle immersed themselves in the top-line lyrics and melody. Elle Exxe is not just an amazing singer and entertainer, but an accomplished musician. Inspired by the beats from the music bed Elle heard an descending bass line in her head. When she played it into the track it quickly became one of the stronger themes of the song, which in turn inspired the lyrics and informed other musical decisions on the session.

Once the “Stuck here with all this time on my hands...” melody and lyrics were written we decided that this would be the Chorus with the hook “Hammer will Drop” making a decisive statement to hang it all onto. We then focused on the lyrics and melody for the Verse, Pre Chorus, Bridge and Rap. It all came together really quickly after the hook was written. Elle wrote the rap in about 10 minutes and recorded it in one take with a couple of ad-libs and double tracking.

The consummate Pro... once we started tracking the main vocals in the afternoon session Elle Exxe nailed the vocals very quickly. She made it look so easy. Ian then spent the afternoon mixing the song for the evening playback and we received some really good feedback from the rest of the songwriters on the event.

Elle then took the session stems into post-production with her band and producer. She added keyboard, guitar parts, drums and re-recorded some of the vocals and mixed and mastered the track to blend with the rest of the album.

I feel very proud to have been a part of the creative process with such an authentic and original artist and to have had the opportunity to work with such a brilliant team of songwriters and music producers.

Our next P7 songwriting retreat is from 19th – 23rd Feb 2017 with Headline Producers including Talvin Singh, Iain Archer & Matty Benbrook. Invitation by application to: www.pro7ect.com

Photo by Ian Wallman

Photo by Ian Wallman