Alan Haber writes: And now the fourth time is, again, the charm. With Coke Belda 4, Coke has fashioned yet another parcel of tunes that speaks to the heart of people for whom the song continues to be the thing. From Coke’s delicious tribute to Paul McCartney, “Thank You, Paul,” which cleverly calls out the titles of treasured Wings numbers, to the amazing “Watching You,” a song about love gone away that stretches out to more than six minutes of harmonic splendor and lyrical guitar solos, this album is a celebration of the pop music form from one of the form’s modern masters.

Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Coke Belda about ‘4’, well crafted songs, COVID, and Graham Gouldman.

The term ‘well crafted’ is used a lot to describe the quality of your songs. Does that make sense to you?

I believe it does make sense. I try to start each song with the lead melody, aiming for it to be pleasant to the ear and easy to remember, and from there is where I start building up the layers depending on the song. If the result makes someone say that it is a “well crafted” song then I’m happy!

Releasing singles or ep’s seems to be the new norm. Not for you?

Yeah, not for me. When my favorite artists launch a new EP or single I always get mad because I want more of that! I like giving the people everything I can and as long as I believe the songs are good, I’m planning on keep releasing whole records again.

How did this record come together?

Well, after Nummer Zwei, my second solo album, I released the first volume of a Bee Gees tribute, which helped me to set my counter to zero and start again from scratch. This new album contains only new songs written in the past 2 years. It starts like any other record, you are just playing guitar or piano and a new melody appears and then you think “this is good” and then you are already thinking about the cover of the new album, hahaha.

Hard work or did the songs just keep coming?

Writing songs for me is always hard work. I believe in inspiration but most of my songs come after hours and hours of playing. There’s always 1 or 2 songs that for whatever reason they appear as a magic act, and in a few minutes, you have it done!

What was the moment you knew you were on to something?

It took me a while this time. Like a year before the release, I got stuck, I didn’t know if the songs were good enough, I felt like maybe I was making a bad record. I talked to some friends and sent them the songs I had, and all of them said that they thought the songs were great and had potential. I sat down again and I reviewed the songs one by one, I discarded a couple and wrote few more and here we are, I’m happy with the record and very grateful that my friends helped me to carry on.

I survived on ‘music, movies, and books’ in the last couple of months. You?

Well, luckily for me, my job is one of the few that exploded due to the COVID-19, so I definitely survived on my job, but of course, I spent time discovering new music and books. If I can recommend something I would say that the new Graham Gouldman record is great and the masterwork “A Confederacy of Dunces” is a must-read book in life.

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