Previously okay with writing and only flopping it out there (like this), I am now working with someone that does not accept this kind of disrespectful behavior.
The key word above is, “only.”
With some re-writes, a lot of what felt like wasting time, and some heartache (but not much), what I have now is way better than what I started with.
And hearing from so many artistic’s that they are having a real rough time creating (I feel it too.), it is a perfect time to keep it all moving forward by finishing. Mainly the good songs, but I’ll be finishing the suspiciously-usable too. (And doing it all without starting another podcast!)
I really feel like I have not fully completed the elemental framework of a song (and a record and an ep). But now I have, and I kept watch on the way to happened, so I can repeat it! I, I, I, I …
NO there are the complete songs in the first record, but boy was it a blur. And out of a total of about 150 finished, I am just now figuring this part out. (The Acoustic EP was easy, since it was basically acoustic.)
This not all to say that you should not show your work because you should. This blog is about: process. And that if you are past your prime according to the the numbers, the numbers probably exist in you your head only. So you should go on and do what you feel you should be doing, artistically.
In getting these 35 songs out, or now 29 (if you consider dropping the 3’s), all of them need to be recorded. And, for me at least, all of them need to be played live as well. Everything is intertwined, but playing live is different from arranging and recording. If you try and make both versions at the same time, you’ll waste a good portion of your life otherwise better spent.
You also run the risk of getting into versioning hell, making so many multiples of a single songs that you enter an endless loop, never finishing any version of anything.
You are susceptible to the above when leaving the initial writing phase too quickly, not fully completing the first draft. (A huge issue when you have a lot of material to get out!)
So what can or can’t you do? Number 1 is eliminating all of your little unknown rules and stops; the do’s and don’t that you’ve allowed yourself. Who knows where they come from, but they are anti-art and must be eliminated ASAP.
One of my stops is a sort-of clash: overly-comparing my end product with styles I wish I more easily fell into vs. being an advocate of ‘you make what you make.’ My mind says, ‘this needs to fit x to get y.’ And I don’t even know what y is. But I’m also telling myself, ‘this is your own thing!’ I’m perfectly happy with my thing. I fact, I’m proud of it! But I like slotting in. Yikes, right? (And please, this is no sly self-compliment.)
Good news: I think I may have cracked the code on a couple of these stops: song structure and logo/ name. More on these next!
I get up super early. I never really know what to do with myself post-coffee. Happily, due to getting these songs out, I’m trying to plan a little more. Cutting out a lot of the farting around. So I’ve taken to some headphone jamming down in the studio.
I didn’t ever like to call it jamming, but Sebastian pulled me over the line. (This video, containing a lot of jamming, really changed the way I think about a lot of music.) Getting a jam out is an amazing way to start your day, and electronically, you can just throw on the headphones. No one’s the wiser.
Even if you do not yourself jam, you get it, yes? (It’s like a walk by the creek, which I also do in the am.) There is something to doing all of this when your world is not up. Breaking the silence with headphones.
So, en route to getting these 35 songs out, I plan to work them out with the morning jams. This means words done (night before), song ID’d and cued up on the system, and chords generally known. Day on has been a complete success.
I rated my 35 written, but unreleased songs: 12 1’s, 17 2’s, and 6 3’s (ascending scale). It was a lot easier than I thought, and I showed no mercy to the recent, or in some cases, the not-so-recent me, with the only criteria being, “Is it good? If so, how much so?”
Decisions had to be made quickly, so it was this am that, in a nod to efficiency, I decided not to work on the 3’s. At all. Notice I did NOT say I dropped them. Still something there in a few. They are just–they each have issues that feel like a lot of work ahead. There is a point where that all gets to be way too much, and art gives way to dirge. That’s never good with songs.
Considering cash and time, the 17 2’s are destine for a mix tape/ b-side release. There is no point in having good songs in the vault.
Could the 2’s be 1’s? Sure. But the goal is releasing these songs. Some I personally like better than some of the 1’s, but that does not men they are better, which I am sure only makes 1/2 sense. Historically I’ve been a fan of demos and b-sides, and good thing since I end up with a lot of them
I’m saving the #1’s, the 12 for outside production help, with an eye to an album or a bunch of ‘pro’ singles. There is something about each that makes them 1’s, and I cannot say what it is. I’ve investigated this slightly, and may be unknowable. But there does not seem to be any sense in really knowing, just like there is no reason to know where a song comes from. It’s just not worth investigating. Keep it magical/ mystical.
Phase 2 of the system starts tonight with setting up for the am. More on that next.
When the biggest problem you have is how to get all the songs up and out, you have the good kind of artsy problems.
Stretching for material is not my issue. I’ve released 12 with 35 to go. And say 5 won’t make if for one reason or another, that leaves 30. That’s still a lot.
Antithetical to general artistry, I’m going to have to create and execute a plan; one album (11 songs) and 2 mix tapes (9/10 songs ea.). Mix tapes out while I work on the ‘real‘ record.
How many things can stop you from getting something like this done? All of the things.
So, I.D. the snags and eliminate the bottlenecks. In this regard, I’ve divided OPE–my studio–in two. One half is for creation, and the other is for finishing. The thinking here is only create when creating, and only finish when finish. This works, and having two spaces keeps proper mindset.
Also, what goes together and what doesn’t? What’s the message and does it make sense to say some things together? Any of this knowable?
And, besides the song-songs, there are instrumentals. Include those or do a separate release. Is work on instrumentals just a way to avoid getting the sing-songs done? But instrumentals are songs.
This is the long route to: a lot of stuff coming out, some sooner rather than later. -jd