Haitian + Jacqueline’s Collaboration Journal

We started with random random questions for each other to answer, from favorite candle scents to thoughts on memory and forgetting. Eventually what we landed on was our state of mind during the COVID-19 pandemic. Haitian started to talk about her experience of living in a rented apartment and hearing sounds from her neighbor through the thin wall. We then had the idea of the song being about the protagonist’s observation of their neighbor’s everyday life: waking up, leaving for work, the little dog who’s left behind in an empty room, door opening and closing, footsteps, and “my” identification with this little company……

But then we thought it might be too creepy intervening private space although it’s without any intention. We retrieved back and focused on the idea of missing someone’s presence in our everyday lives before the pandemic. Jacqueline started sharing a couple of songs that also dwelled upon the vibe of “everyday life”–such as Jung seung hwan’s Timeline, and Bruno Major’s Nothing.

We listed the things we miss that we took for granted: crowded metro, studying at library or cafe with friends, late night/early morning walks, hugs, high fives, going to the movies, picnic, and simply talking person-to-person.

After a couple of brainstorming meetings on theme, we decided to embark on our own lyric writing. It was a long process finding the right words and imagery for the lyrics. Lyric-writing took the longest portion of our collaboration so far.

Brainstorming Ideas and Finding Rhymes
Phrases that we liked but not sure how to put it in a song

As we explored the lyrics together, Jacqueline embarked on composing the music/melody for the song. We discussed a couple of styles and the kind of atmosphere we wanted the music to be: maybe a combination of melancholy and hope, stagnation in solitude and the faith in sharing an experience, memory, and time. In our text messages to each other, Haitian shared Lee Juck’s The Things We Took for Granted, and Jacqueline shared Lee Jin-ah and Onew’s Starry Night. We thought we would go with the kind of vibe similar to these two songs, and here is a sample of Jacqueline’s composition : )

Short Snippet of First draft of the song

Fine-polishing our words and fitting them into the right rhythm, we finished our lyrics.

It is amazing how our storyline and setting scenes shifted as we moved from one draft to another. 😀

Now we are working on the music video. Just like how we shared our favorite songs, we shared our favorite music videos. We naturally agreed on doing stop motion/drawings with simple lines. Google slides were really helpful in collecting our ideas, inspirations, and references together.

With a vague sense in mind what style we agreed upon, we each drew a sketch. Haitian drew the first verse and Jacqueline did the second verse.

Haitian’s Sketch – “Stuck in the night, lost in the moments we shared”
Haitian’s Sketch – “You’d walk me home, I’d wish this street never ends”
Haitian’s Sketch – “Running to catch the train, from our endless chats”
Haitian’s Sketch – “Your words still linger in my ear”

Meanwhile… Jacqueline’s sketches are very simple… haha

Jacqueline’s Sketch – “Rain pouring down”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “Echoing my empty heart”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “Who else is around,”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “Watching the sky without stars?”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “Searching for a stream of”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “moonlight in the dark”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “I am on my way to you”
Jacqueline’s Sketch

When we met up again, we thought about combining both our styles, meeting somewhere between detailed drawings and simple lines. Jacqueline went on working on more music while Haitian continue experimenting on drawings.

This collection of drawings for the line “You’d walk me home, I’d wish this road never ends” has its inspiration from “After a tiring day passes, underneath the moonlight, two people become one shadow,” a line from Sung Si Kyung’s Two People. We had wanted to adapt it to our own lyrics but faced constraints with the rhythm, so we decided to still include it somehow in our music video sketches.

We are continuing to work on finalizing the music and music video. Moving forward, our title is not yet decided. We would love to hear your input on how you think.

Thanks for reading!

Written by Haitian and Jacqueline :^)