I know too well the risks of overproduction for a musician (and for other artistic enterprises), so I'm comfortable with this being uncomfortable about not knowing where to flow.
The song is stuck, waiting for vocals already composed and rehearsed to be recorded. But everything in me resists to putting a new song in the world before being able to give it a more proper "home". As a musician, I've learned to listen to and obey that kind of intuitions. As i always mention in this blog, my guild has an outrageous "job hazard" death rate. Only actors are more fucked up in my view.
That is, of course, unless you play it safe. In that case you'll have a nice life and easy digestion, and will produce regularly pieces of neat crap. But I think a musician should not be a manufacturer.
A few possibilities I'm thinking of, still in a scramble, are: focusing on finding an ally, and move from there to create a band adding one person at a time. Playing gigs through some e-place like Concert Window --again, as the Jamendos of the world, it might be a device only useful for personal gratification, i.e. the enormous waste of quality music not properly communicated to others. But at least I should try it to know it for sure what I can expect of that. The logistics in that case are simpler than a real-life concert.
Not having much to report today, I thought I'd beautify and put in a "factory like" format the current state of my process I described in the previous post. Additional inventory triangles have been added for emphasis, in the parts of the process where they pile up more outrageously... Mostly at the beginning: lots of recordings in all kind of format and devices, riffs, notes, fragments of lyrics, poems that will be lyrics, more recordings, pentagrams, half baked songs... And then demos, one track recordings that can be listened to beginning to end, waiting only for that additional 10-15% that usually comes in my case as I flesh things out.
I have to say this state of affairs in itself is an advance from my process in, say 2010, when I was just discovering the magic of real time audio processing, and had a lot of daw sessions in the making at the same time... the temptation of hearing my ideas polyphonicaly for the first time was hard to resist; that first playful period that one has with most of things I guess... Of course it ended up creating huge jams when the "complicated" and "not so fun" stuff started to kick in.
This bottleneck at the beginning also underlines a big difference between an artistic process and, say, a manufacturing one. If you own a factory and your supplier pushes too much raw material into you, you just ask them to reduce the deliveries. But inspiration really strikes when it wants to, and unlike the factory man, you cannot reject the delivery; not writing down a cool riff that came in the shower, that idea for lyrics as you were waiting the subway, feels like killing a kitten someone left at your door. Having a pile of interesting ideas is a wonderful problem to have, but still a problem to be solved.
And lastly, again the most concerning part of this process map, what keeps me in my tracks, is the question mark at the end. I'm tired of making my music for nobody. A possible solution would be adding a couple of steps at the end and changing the product; "promotion" then, would not be promoting the recorded songs, but the recorded songs would become the promotion of a live show. At the moment, playing live is not an option for the matters explained in the previous post, but it's probably where my future state should be headed.
But what to do in the meantime? Because the map of a process doesn't show the fun and personal expression you feel as you go through it. Making music is something I need, but it takes too much effort, and I have too much respect for my craft to do these things just because...
Still giving it some thought.
I have a song in the works and I'm stuck, which is not a very comfortable state to be.
I'm facing a problem I've faced several times before, hopefully failing a bit better each time.
My process for value creation, i.e. to convert the "voices in my head" into something worthwhile for another human being, is currently as it follows:
I have recorded stuff before. I can go through the movements. But there is the shadow of lack of purpose at the end, lurking through the whole process. When you are a home recordist, the final step, distribution, is confusing and disheartening. You are limited to post your song in some obscure website (Bandcamp, Soundcloud), and be happy with the possibility that somebody could listen to it eventually.
Feels like a guy with a thrash can and a smile telling you "Oh, another finished song! Please put it here with the others!".
This problem of distribution and promotion can only be solved at a higher level: having a purpose statement to guide your decisions about where to launch and what to improve. It's difficult to ask musicians for such an exercise of structured thought; we are precisely famous for 'letting it flow' and if someone comes around, great. Not much direction there, really.
Those final stages will also determine the quality bar you aspire to achieve; thinking of the song I'm working on, depending on where I want to publish, the vocals are alright, or I have to improve their sound, which implies learning more audio production stuff (zzz), acquiring new equipment...
Music and musicians still have to find their place in the age of the Computer God. I guess the power that comes with recording your own stuff is fine, but a band is better (and more costly, too; not to mention the difficulties to find human quality, people with something to say and a vision, not simple exhibitionists or wankers who run away the moment you ask them to practice their parts, that kind of stuff...)
They are a bit of evil twins those two: in Transport you move equipment or materials without creating value, and in Movement you move yourself without creating value. Egregious example that combines both in the musician world is when you carry a cable from one place to another, hoping that you'll be choosing the right plug for it, otherwise rinse and repeat, with no value created in all that mess except perhaps for your psychiatrist.
The solution, as with most of things in Lean, is simple and straightforward: color code! No more looking for the right entry, no more lottery when you have two identical jacks and don't know which one to plug. No more bending yourself over the holes to find the exact place where the cable goes. Better save that energy to feed the expressiveness in front of the mic, the guitar or whatever your weapon of choice is.
This kind of continuous improvement would be the intelligent thing to do even if your only role were roadie or sound engineer. Being a modern-musician-with-a-lot-of-roles, it is suicidal not doing it.
(The Green label connects with the SM57 cable, which I wasn't using at the moment)...
I have a guitar and I'm gonna use it