miles tones reflections

I’ve never had such a positive experience finishing up an album as I did with this one. Not setting a hard deadline for finishing the album was an excellent decision. It eliminated the element of stress from the tedious and time consuming process of finishing up the tunes (final mixes and mastering). I made loose goals along the way so I had something to aim for, but didn’t feel bad if it took longer to achieve these goals. My free time has diminished greatly from my pre-fatherhood days, so I really wanted to make working on tunes a fun outlet as much as possible.

My drive to promote my music has greatly diminished. I used to spend a lot of time sending out cds and emails to outlets for consideration. I very rarely got any response. It can be fun to share my work with other people, but its also a labor intensive process with a lot of rejection along the way. At this point, a decade in, my music has found some of its audience. There are people who care about it, and that’s pretty sustaining to me. Of course I hope my audience continues to organically grow.

My favorite part of making music is when ideas are flowing well and starting to coming together. It’s not when I’ve finished a track / album. It took 6 or 7 years, but I did eventually learn that it’s really more about the journey then the destination.

I pour myself into these songs. It takes more time then I care to admit. The tracks on this album took many different directions before they were finished. There was a ton of content that was written and removed. Many times I had to remind myself  that trying things that don’t work out is not a waste of time.

All I used to create these songs was my computer, a mixer, two MIDI controllers, a mic, and speakers at slightly uneven heights (and a LOT of software). My recording room is completely untreated, with a tile floor, glass windows, several bikes, and a couple large plastic baby toys that need to be passed along. The recordings always sounded good enough to me. Thank goodness there are tools like RX and Melodyne to clean up my recordings though. I did outsource the some of tricky instrument recording though – thanks very much to the internet + skype.

In the past three years I’ve become aware of what an amateur I am at producing, mixing, and mastering music. I’ve attended workshops with Carmen Rizzo and Rena Jones. I have learned that there is a huge amount of knowledge that I’m lacking. They all have very strong opinions over what gear and software you should use, how to treat your audio, and to never self master your music. If you listen to one my tracks and then of their tracks, you can hear the difference. I don’t think of this as a failure on my part – I just know that there is a lot more to learn, and that later in life I hope to learn more about my craft.

I’ve been making music as general fuzz for over a decade now. I no longer feel the burning need to prove to myself that I can make an album. I also have no intentions to stop creating music. General fuzz has become such an important part of my identity. I hope to create music for the rest of my life, and in theory, I have a lot of time left. I do need to try vary the course some though. I’ve got to try working in different styles and collaborating with different people, so that I can grow as a musician. I need to also take breaks from music, and allow some time for inspiration and motivation to brew.

Releasing an album is very exciting for a number of reasons. One aspect that I have only become aware of recently is that it acts as snapshot of my life. I can now listen to my previous releases and remember what was going on at that time. It’s also something concrete which represents a step forward in my path as a musician.

Most importantly, I’m proud of what I made. So far I have no regrets about the album, which was my ultimate goal. I felt that way after “soulful filling”, and I learned that it was worth aiming for.

Also, this moment brought everything into alignment.



5 comments

Charlie North » 4 Nov 2011 » Reply

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. CN

Brian » 4 Nov 2011 » Reply

I was so moved by your description of making this album as a new father and a musician myself that I just wanted to drop in and thank you for keeping at it! I have loved all your previous releases and can’t wait to give this a spin.

Bruce A. Ulrich » 15 Nov 2011 » Reply

Thanks for sharing this. It was an interesting read, and I’m happy that you’re finding joy in some of the small things in life…namely, your child. Fatherhood is great.
I really enjoy your music and hope that you continue to put out creative stuff…just like you always have.

Best of luck in the future!

DoosC » 23 Nov 2011 » Reply

Hi GF 😉

I discovered your music quite recently and I must confess I’m really impressed by the quality both musically and technically of your productions.

I’m listening to your music everyday in the bus on my way to the office along with other “internet” tracks.

It is very relaxing and accessible but also full of a lot of small details and attentions that make every new listening a new enjoyable journey into sonic landscapes.

It is good to realize ones limits and see you still have things to learn. But it is also quite a tough self-judgement to see yourself as a humble amateur. You are gifted and much more than many “commercial” musician. To me you deserve the status of talented professionnal.

I’m a father too (had my third child this summer) and I hope to find some free time again soon to do agin some music the same way you described it : for the pleasure and as a learning path to more music knowledge (and I do have a lot to learn!).
Argh.. it takes time to write so I won’t comment on each track but the whole album is awesome !
By the way I don’t know which gear or software you use but if you are interested in free software as you are in free music just check http://linuxmusicians.com/ to meet other amateur musicians.

DoosC

Jim Price » 28 Nov 2011 » Reply

Well Done! I see you made the top 10 Echoes list for 2011.

Whether your music is upbeat or downbeat, it has a quality of — dare I say it — happiness. I recall an interview with Mike Oldfield in the 1990s. The interviewer asked: “Why is your music always so happy?” Oldfield seemed a bit confused by the question, then answered:”There isn’t enough happy in the world.” It’s not easy to make genuine happy that isn’t covered with metaphoric sugar. You have done that (again). And the bonus tracks (four of them) fit well into a larger CD. As the muse moves… Continued good luck.

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