Let's be honest, there are nearly more music blogs, podcasts, vodcasts, YouTube-sessions, web-publications and Fantano-clones released than there are songs written in the same amount of time. This isn't a complaint, because we love music and we very much enjoy hearing, reading and sensing music all day long. And that includes the lovely tunes by Nickelback. Just joking, we don't want to sense Nickelback.
Every now and then though, one of these music session series thingies stick a little more than others. You Have Until Lunch is one of those, so we decided to ask Arthur - the guy behind phoneswithchords and You Have Until Lunch - a whole lot of questions about it. For you. To read. As yet another music publication.
Before we start though, you might want to watch episode 1 of You Have Until Lunch. Get to know Arthur a bit.
To start us off, We would like to ask you to tell us in your words what You Have Until Lunch is, and how in your view it adds to the already fairly crowded online music blog/vlog/sessions/podcast/vodcast world. 
ARTHUR (phoneswithchords):
You Have Until Lunch is a video series where artists are given the challenge of writing a complete song in just 30 minutes. But it’s more than just a challenge… it’s a way for musicians to be vulnerable with their fans and to show their own unique writing process, etc.. I love podcasts and other media forms, but I wanted to offer something different, perhaps a little more human. We don’t edit our videos so the viewer gets access to a single moment in time. I love this sort of stuff. It demystifies the creative act without completely removing all the wonder. This spark is what makes creativity and especially music so powerful. We can watch it being made and still not have it figured out. There is an “otherness” there that can never truly be explained.
Wilbur & Moore:
30 minutes is a very sharp deadline, which I guess adds to the challenge. As “until lunch” is longer than 30 minutes, can we assume the artist is already allowed to have some ideas before they turn the camera on?
Yeh, 30 minutes is a very quick deadline, but I ask all the artists that participate to approach the moment with as much of a clean slate as possible. If you’re bringing in a guitar riff or a melodic or lyrical idea then the viewer doesn’t really get to see the spark ignite. That’s what I’m looking to document… that place in time where nothing becomes something.  You still can’t explain how it happens, but you can if you’re lucky get it on video. To me, there’s nothing more inspiring that this. In my opinion, it is a beautiful mystery that our society needs to value more. It’s a part of what makes us human. 
Wilbur & Moore: 
Could you please tell us how you select the artists for this series? 
Picking the artists has been fun. I started with those I’ve met on Twitter in the last couple years. Everybody really seemed to connect to the idea. Now, I’m starting to get messages from people wanting to do a session. Been fun to discover new artists. I’ve got bucket list artists too. We’ll see what happens. It might be a while as we build up a catalog of sessions. Who knows how it will go? 
Wilbur & Moore: 
Thanks for that answer, perfect set-up for a question we were definitely going to ask... bucket-list artists? Just in case they read this interview, can you tell us who they are? 
Oh, for sure. David Bazan of Pedro the Lion is probably at the top my list. He’s basically the reason I started writing songs myself. Sufjan Stevens, Julien Baker, and Tom Waits are on that list as well along with many others. Any of these would probably break the internet. I really think people want to see their favorite artists in their creative element.  
Wilbur & Moore: 
We certainly hope Tom Waits will read this interview and gives you a call!
Getting back to the core of the series, experiencing the artist's songwriting process is in any case interesting and to fellow musicians like yourself probably also educational. Have you picked up any tips and tricks from any of the sessions in the series that made you think differently about your own approach? 
You know, I have watched every session and have learned a lot. Every writer has their quirks/methods/tools and I have loved seeing people’s personalities really shine. The main takeaway has been how similar we all are as songwriters. We all stare at the same blank page. Sure people sharpen their craft and get better at writing, but in a given moment everybody stands on level ground. There are no guarantees really and you never know what’s going to happen. Rick Rubin calls this “experimental faith”. Without this form of courage we’d never write anything. There is a letting go that is necessary to write songs. It becomes a practice over time, but it is never without effort. 
Wilbur & Moore: 
We couldn’t agree more. While the final song is a goal to look forward to, there is something beautiful about those first three minutes of the sessions. That click where staring at the blank space and awkward moment of finding comfort in the situation turns into a process. 
That said though, would the similarities between the artists not also have something to do with the type of musicians? Songwriters, I guess. Do you have interest in expanding to other genres (hiphop, rap, electronic, experimental, for instance)?
yes, I want to expand along the way beyond the songwriting format. We’ve got an ambient session coming up which I am really excited about. I want to see where it all goes and not get in the way. I think it’ll reveal itself over time. 
Wilbur & Moore: 
If you have to pick one moment from all these sessions (so far) that has surprised you the most, what would that be?
There are so many, but I think the recent session with Labrador is really special.
There is a sense of calm in that session that has stuck with me. And I loved how Pat from Labrador was really open about what was going on in his life that particular day. That’s what I envision really for the future… we need more vulnerability, not less. Artists being themselves. Humans being humans.
Wilbur & Moore: 
Yes! Everything about that one, from the moments of silence where you can see the process happening in his head to the finished chorus and verse, are great to experience as a viewer. It also really makes you hope the song will be recorded and released.
Can we expect any or all of the songs from these sessions to see the light of day beyond YouTube? An official You Have Until Lunch album perhaps?
Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. Yes, there is something in the works for the end of the year. That’s all I really say.
I’ve always had a pretty big vision for You Have Until Lunch, but wanted to start with the original idea and build up a catalog of sessions. Our plan is to release 50 sessions this year. Pretty pumped about achieving just that.  
Wilbur & Moore: 
Looking forward to it!
Now, let us close off this interview in style, with a couple of 70's game show lightning questions.
1. Which song from all the sessions up until now would you, as Phoneswithchords, see yourself cover? You can only pick one.
2. Which two artists from all the sessions up until now would you welcome back to take part again... as a duo?
3. What do we have to do to get Wilbur & Moore's very own We Are Joiners on You Have Until Lunch?
4. The Monkees or The Beatles?
5. Any last (5-words-or-less) words about You Have Until Lunch?
1. Sailor Down’s session. Immediately connected with that melody. Love that song.
2. Honestly, I’d probably have all of them back though I’d really like Josaleigh Pollett and Ben Sooy to do a session together.  
3. Consider it done. Already reached out to them.  
4. The Beatles for sure though my Mom loves the Monkees. Sorry Mom.
5. Be HUMAN.
You Have Until Lunch sessions are available on YouTube.
Follow You Have Until Lunch on Twitter/X or Instagram.
Check out Arthur's own music as well: phoneswithchords and phoneswithBen.
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