First step

Why do things, why make music, why get up in the morning, why eat healthy, why start to run,… Just because it feels good? What motivates us?

Asking these questions doesn’t help me though. If I consider them too much, I usually get to a point where it all becomes… pointless.
Which reminds me of a quote I saw hanging on a wall of my brother’s workshop. It’s by the famous, eloquent cyclist/philosopher Johan Museeuw:  ‘I don’t think, I do.’

I should stop writing and get on with making music now.

But the question I find intriguing is: What makes us take that first step?

It could be boiled down to genetics, like most things can. Even self-discipline, which is mostly a learned practice, not a characteristic. Because what makes you learn self-discipline? Probably genetics again…

Anywho, time to stop thinking and start doing.

 

Fresh not new

Amateurs borrow, professionals steal.” – Lennon (who stole it from T.S. Elliot.)So the point is to build or create something new, on top of your influences.  But  stealing sounds as if there is  malicious intent. I think it is more “Standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Oasis  (who stole it from Newton, who stole it from Bernard of Chartres (if you trust Wikipedia)).

We are all influenced by what we have heard and seen in one way or another. It is unavoidable. When we create something ‘new’, it may sound like, or remind someone of, something ‘old’. Your voice may sound like your favorite singer. Or your song could remind someone of another song, just because you also used a stratocaster on a Marshal amp. Which could all be interpreted both as a compliment or an insult…

So what is ‘new’?  Some of us try to invent new genres, new ways of producing sound, new musical instruments… Or is it just a unique combination of (old) ingredients? Barring exact copies the combination is always unique.

An analogy I sometimes use when I write about making music is cooking. You can use the same old ingredients over and over again to make something completely new. But new doesn’t equal tasty.

Try to be ‘fresh’, not ‘new’ – Willemsson (and please let me know if you think I stole this from someone)

Feedback and criticism

Asking for and dealing with feedback is part of the deal. You learn from the advice trusted friends offer you. But it is much harder dealing with unsollicited criticism, though that is nevertheless also an inherent side-effect of making music. Or rather of putting your music out there (or any other ‘product’ you make, be it music, books, paintings, etc…).
You could stay in your comfort zone, your studio, your basement or attic. And that’s ok too. It is fulfulling to make and create for your own ears/eyes only.

So why should I ‘release’ my music? Is it to feed my ego? Don’t think so, because my ego gets hurt more than it gets fed. (That one negative review will have more impact than the hundred positive ones)

Well, the word ‘release’ says it all really. I let go. I set it loose. From the moment I create something it leads its own life. I can nurture it and shape it a little, but in the end it has a will of its own:
When I listen to older stuff I made, I often wonder how I did it and I feel as though I couldn’t do it again. I wonder where the song came from, where the idea come from, the melody, the hook, the inspiration. Without going too ‘new-age’ I basically feel like a conduit. Something flows through me and ends up as a song. So to keep it for myself would be a shame.

So far for the philosophical side.

The practical side is a bit more … practical.

When I started making music, people said things like: “You should do something with it.” Doing something with it is very vague, but it’s basically “record it as best as you can and put it out there”. Or to answer to the criticism my father had: “He makes nice music, but no one can or may hear it.”

So I guess I release music because I think it deserves to be out there (and not just because I created it), and because it makes me grow.

Putting it out there is being vulnerable. Being vulnerable is hard. And no one is perfect.

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”―Albert Einstein

“Personal growth is humbling and often humiliating. However, it’s better to be conscious than ignorant; even when consciousness comes at the price of comfort and convenience.” – Benjamin P. Hardy

 

 

 

Lyrics and doggerel

Worked on the lyrics for the new album. Typed them out and now it’s time to finalise: time to get rid of the bad verses and words, far-fetched concepts, tedious and preachy choruses, etc. Anything that may have seemed funny at the time, but is now just … awkward really. I should probably seek outside help for this. As is usually the case, other people will spot clumsy lyrics and doggerel more easily than the author…

Sounds

A new day, fresh ears, the best time to listen to yesterday’s recordings. I like the new melody I added to ‘Vanilla Gin’, but I’m not so sure about the guitar sound… (Telecaster through Guitar Rig). The melody is doubled with my Roland SE-02, which adds movement and texture, which is nice and which I want to keep…

Tried some mic’ed Tele, tried doubling it with a Dano Bass, tried doubling with a Rhodes, … still not sure

#telecaster #rolandSe02 #willemsson

Vanilla Gin

Spent all day working on a song called ‘Vanilla Gin’. My producer (Pedro) called and said the song was indeed missing something and that I should try adding an intro (with a hook), a wah-wah guitar on the verse, and a (Mellotron)-choir on the chorus. Yes, ADDING tracks. That was a first. At this stage in the arranging process  it’s usually DELETING stuff.
Anyway, I have to let it rest for a while now, my ears are tired and tomorrow I will hear if the stuff I did today is okay or not.

Hurray

Lately I’ve been having a lot of fun making music again. Yes, (sadly) it is not always so. When I’ve got too many other (sometimes trivial, sometimes not so trivial) things on my mind, there is simply not a lot of room left. Headroom. Pun intended. Oh yes, this seems a good time to mention in my case the ‘pun is always intended’. But I digress.
Fun. Making music should be fun. Doesn’t mean it can’t be serious, soul-searching, fulfilling or hard work. But it should also be fun!