Tips & Stories

6 Ways Musician Francis Macdonald of the Band Teenage Fanclub Uses Evernote – Music Series

Posted by Francis Macdonald on 11 Apr 2011

Posted by Francis Macdonald on 11 Apr 2011


Name: Francis Macdonald
Profession: Musician, songwriter, manager
Location: Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Twitter: @FranMacdonald



Francis Macdonald is a musician and the founder of Shoeshine Records and Spit & Polish. He drums with Teenage Fanclub and manages the bands Camera Obscura, The Vaselines and Attic Lights. As a musician, he has worked with BMX Bandits, Alex Chilton, and Ian McCulloch, among others. His new solo instrumental album, Maculate Conceptions, was recorded while on tour in Europe with Teenage Fanclub. Evernote helps him capture inspiration and move songwriting forward. Here is his story.

Evernote, Everywhere

I Use Evernote For…

I first heard about Evernote from a tweet by Graham Linehan, a British comedy writer. I made a New Year’s Resolution to be more creative, so I started using Evernote to jot down ideas that I could work on from a lot of places. My use has evolved a great deal since I first downloaded it to all of my computers and my BlackBerry. Evernote has helped me fulfill my resolution in a number of different capacities:

  1. Create ink notes
  2. I’ve found ink notes to be very user friendly. I sketch for fun and never think about what I might do with my sketches. I’ve printed some of my sketches and hung them on my children’s bedroom walls. One day, I realized I needed artwork for a new album I recorded. I scanned through my sketches in Evernote and came across one that was perfect – it tied the whole concept of the album together. The sketch was something I had created months ago and never thought about again but there it was, just waiting to serve a purpose.

    Above: Cover art for the album, Maculate Conceptions, a drawing from Francis’ Evernote.

  3. Revisit and revise song lyrics
  4. Song lyrics are always in a state of being re-drafted. With Evernote, it’s easy to visit a song lyric in a different location, in a different frame of mind. Revisiting lyrics in a different place can often give much-needed new perspective that can move the lyric along and take it to a whole new place. By having my lyrics available to me everywhere, I’m able to access them whenever inspiration strikes.

  5. Capture inspiration on the go
  6. Another way I use Evernote for song lyrics is I love to capture random bits of conversations. I jot down commonly used phrases that are misquoted – I always think they could make it into a song lyric sometime. One I recently captured with Evernote is someone saying, “You wouldn’t raise an eyelid” instead of “You wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.” Having a place to put all of these random quotes is priceless.

  7. Connect my computers with my phone
  8. I use Evernote on my Windows PC at my office unless I’m touring, rehearsing or at the recording studio. At home, I have a Macbook and carry around a BlackBerry.

  9. Make it work the way I work
  10. I’m not a big filer, so my Evernote account is a reflection of me. I have all of my drawings in one notebook, and everything else in another.

  11. Write a children’s book for my son
  12. My little boy loves story time at night. I drafted the text for a children’s book for my son, “Hugh Macdonald Woke Up in a Grump,” in Evernote. He’s the star of the book, which he loves.

Above: Cover art for Francis Macdonald’s book for his son, Hugh. View more excerpts from the book »

User Tip: If You’re Not Sure, Throw it in Evernote, Anyway

For most of us, it’s intuitive to save things you know you’ll need later. But with Evernote, more is more, not less. You might not know what the use for a note might be later, but if it’s in Evernote, it might one day have a purpose.

My Favorite Feature

The ink notes and searchability of Evernote are my favorite features. Evernote lets me focus on creation, not editing – so I can capture as much as I want, in as raw form as I want, and know I’ll find it later.

Lyrics and Video Inspiration, Written in Evernote

Here are two projects that were realized with Evernote’s help: a song off of Maculate Conceptions called Woah Woah and a video for the song Aarhus.

Woah Woah Woah by FrancisMacdonald

Francis Macdonald’s new album, Maculate Conceptions, is available for download on his website:


Evernote Premium

Upgrade for features to help you live and work smarter.

Go Premium
View more stories in 'Tips & Stories'

2 Comments RSS

  • Bojan

    Thumbs up for the video! There are scenes from Belgrade, my home town!

  • almiraa ind

    it’s more than amazing! good job!!