These last few months, my projects have seemed to become this nebulous blob. One day I’m out shooting a roll of film for something I think’ll be done sometime next year. The next day I’m setting up lights and cameras for some interview style videos. Then I’m puking up some stuff into Ableton Live, before chopping up some footage from a recent livestream.
All of this has become a lot less codified than it was when I began working on ‘monthly projects’ back in 2015. These days, I’m entertaining longer, harder fought visions. Since I’ve become quite good at finishing what I start, It has become less important to me to work on a strict timetable. These days, it’s more about putting my mind to it, in some measure, daily. And, to a (only slightly) lesser extent, it’s become about creating things with more intentional meaning, or purpose; whether personal or otherwise.
So, what I am sharing today for my July installation, is a song I wrote before I first began my monthly project endeavor. This was literally the first, quasi-coherent piece I wrote and recorded, and the one that made me think perhaps I could pull this off once a month for a whole year. I never published the song. I quickly started going in a different direction and I no longer liked the arrangement or the vocals or the lyrics, so I scrapped it. Ironically, the track that replaced it has since become my least favorite; the one that makes me cringe a little. And I have warmed on this one considerably. I started dusting this track off back in July, and I worked on it more or less daily until a couple weeks ago when it was all but finished.
The fact of the matter is, this track is kind of weird, but it’s reflective of where my head was at the time. My state of mind was decidedly more melancholy, and I think I was listening to a lot of Silver Mt. Zion. I know that a lot of the original choices I had made were made for a reason, and I suspect that what I didn’t like about it at the time was that it was a little too weird, and I didn’t have enough of a self-image to know whether I could say, “yeah, this is me, too”.
“Yeah, this is me, too”. I think about this sometimes. I think of being an artist as fairly solitary state of being. Not that artists are always in solitude, but rather that their ideas and their creation must necessarily happen in their own solitude. I can’t, or at least don’t want to create, on your ideas. I want my ideas and my expressions to spring from my feelings, and my experiences. Yet, unless one practices literal solitude for long periods of time, it’s hard not to view yourself through the theoretical lenses of those around you.
Am I the kind of person that would write this song? Am I the kind of person who would paint a picture of that, or take a picture in this way? How can questions like that not be a kind of contaminant in the work an artist creates?
So, in some respects, I chose to revisit and ultimately publish this track because it answers that question; or rather, I am now able to answer that question. Yes, this is indeed also me. In fact, the things I create are all me. Although nothing I create defines me, everything I create reflects me. At least in some way. And that’s what this particular work is about:
Self-acceptance. I am who I am. I make what I make. Maybe tomorrow I’ll make something different. And, when I do, that will be me too.
In my polishing of this track for release, I left the original vocal recordings from 2014 in place, though I rather painstakingly pieced them together to avoid the most egregious vocal failures. The very obvious ones that were left, were left on purpose. Though the instrumentation is mostly unchanged, it got almost a total effects overhaul and I sunk everything much further into the reverb than I was originally comfortable with.
Check out the track. It’s available to download for free on SoundCloud, if you care to do that. If it matters to you at all, these lyrics—unlike many of the others that came after them—do, in fact, have a meaning, though it changes daily. So, maybe don’t get hung up on that.
I’ll be sharing about the second half of this project, a different song, from a different timeframe, sometime next week. Stay tuned, or don’t.