A Lesson in Time
Friday, September 2, 2016
When I first began this project late last year, or at least conceived of the idea in a long car ride, through fall, much of the approach I dreamt up was naive at best, occasionally disastrous at worst.
Ideas happen most any time, and I wanted this to be a pure dissolution of idea to song in as easy a way possible. If I were laying in bed and an idea struck, record the basics and don't worry about finishing the song at that moment. That way I'd never hinder the creative process, and I could keep creating reams of song fragments that would be able to be easily polished later when I was feeling more mechanical, less enigmatic.
This turned to be mostly a terrible approach. While I ended up with 75 songs shards rather quickly, I hadn't thought about many things that ended up in forcing me to spend months actually finishing those songs.
I hadn't quite perfected my effect chain, and this was the most egregious misstep. While it may sound trivial, this part ended up costing me so much time as I constantly experimented, tweaked, and grew my ears in an attempt to find the best way to produce the music. I switched mics, guitar sims, compressors, and more since my last album, and now having near 100 songs meant that every time I found a new approach, I had to retro-fit every fucking one before I'd be happy.
And, outside of the engineering issues, I found something else I hadn't really thought of. Magic. Magic can sometimes only exist in a small, finite window of time.
I went back and listened to the demos of the songs, and noticed that sometimes what ended up recorded months later somehow lost some of the original magic. I slowly came to the realization that sometimes its best to not let things sit and grow and think they will be easy to fix later. And, although I wasn't quite that callous (thinking it would be easy to fix), I didn't quite comprehend how hard it would be to pick up a tender ballad months later and try to capture the exact sound I had when I wrote it and it was ripping my heart out.
And as well, with creative pursuits, sometimes it's so hard to go back to something that feels from a different lifetime when there is new on your mind. As life changes and songs fall from new branches, the last thing you want to do is spend a week eq'ing and re-compressing the same damn vocal line from 3 months ago.
So, as I stand on the precipice of the next wave, I won't make the same mistake. No more dangling infant concepts left to mature under the weight of countless others. Finish the thought when it comes. Letting things linger and fester sometimes can make them near irreparable.