Friday, April 1, 2011

Curious Processes

I’ve been thinking about this album for almost three years.

Laying half-asleep one morning in summer 2008, when I was putting the finishing touches on Everything Changes And Nothing Changes, I became aware of a melody in my head. Being only semi-conscious, I stayed helpless in that state while the song built up in a feedback loop, forming around a sort of embarrassing interaction from the previous night. When I finally lifted from sleep, I grabbed my guitar, and sitting in bed began to sing the chorus to “I Know That You Don’t Want To Be My Girl.”

I used to think that I was consciously responsible for the things I create. But the more music and art that I make, the more I’ve found that I am hardly ever in the drivers seat. I used to think that there were artists I looked up to that must have fully conceived their work before hand and executed it from there, but now I’m beginning to recognize that the artistic process (and this feels true for so many processes in life) is more of a meandering conversation. When you are inside of a project, you are constantly reacting to the elements that you have completed, and then reacting again, and again, until your reaction is to stop. That morning I was responding to something my subconscious had stirred up, and I molded it from there, but I was hardly in control of the outcome.

Deciding what the end result will be and sticking militantly to that fantasy is an easy trap to fall into. You often wind up forcing your way through rocky terrain, pass up potentially interesting pathways because they don’t fit your mold, miss out on the spoils of curiosity, all of the happy accidents, and your enjoyment of the present moment. I also think it demeans the individuality of a work, as it is easy to envision a new take on something that has been done before, but I think the really unique moments happen when you just dive in with an open mind and see what’s down there. I had a ton of reference tracks that I’ve been collecting in the last couple years, recordings that for one reason or another had an essence I could envision a song of mine sharing, and these were a nice starting point, but on the first day of recording I left all of those references behind.

I have no idea what this album will sound like when it’s completed. Hell, I have no idea how long it will take to finish and who else may be helping me with it along the way. I am simply getting up each morning and going to work on it, curious to find out where it takes me next.