Monthly Archives: May 2008

I’m Itchy, Just Saying

I have this problem, I call it the “itch” (those of you who know me will think that’s funny). I’ll be about 80% to 90% done with a song, and then right as I’m ready to lay down the final vocals or backup dubs, I’ll get antsy. It’s this urge to try something new. Usually, after I get the itch, I’ll try to fight it for a few days. Inevitably, I’ll end up being terribly unproductive, and the song-in-progress will be put on the backburner while I work on something else.

I’ve tried to figure out if this is some sort personality disorder. I had a classmate at BYU who mentioned having the same problem, so maybe it just goes with the territory of being a musician. Music people are all a little crazy – Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Britney Spears. Yes I know, I don’t place Britney on the same level as the revered classical geniuses either, she just happens to be a perfect contemporary example of complete wackiness.

Anyway, getting back to being itchy. I tend to believe that musicians are perfectionists at heart. We have a problem with feeling like a song or work is a finished, completed work. This drives us crazy. Sure, a songwriter is “done” when his song has been mastered or broadcasted, but there’s always something that he would change if he had a chance to record it again. Whenver I listen to my mastered projects, my thought process goes something like this: “Oh, that’s nice. Nice pretty vocals. Clean guitar sound. Good kick and sna – why the HECK is the hi-hat so loud? Wait, I added distortion after the bridge? What was I thinking? What is this !$@*% riff doing here! I can’t believe I was happy with this, it all sounds like total crap!”

See how hard it is to be a musician?

I’m starting to come to the conclusion that I switch to new projects in order to avoid confrontations with my perfectionist nature.

In any case, I’ve started work on a new indie-piano peice. I still need to record “Memorial Day” vocals, but I’ve been itching to work on something new. So here’s the instrumental, just saying. The song might morph into something with words, and lyrics, and maybe even a lot more instruments, but I recorded this in a quick session so I wouldn’t forget the general idea.

Just Saying

Fists of Frustration

Coming out of school as a music graduate, I had a few career paths.  Behind door one was the freelance musician option, where I could write for various media projects (commercials, TV, etc) while establishing a client base.   This was an interesting proposition,  but I was not interested in staying in Utah and networking with the music scene there.  What can I say, I missed California.

Option two was to move to LA and do the the whole music scene as a singer/songwriter.  This idea was nixed almost immediately based on my writing style and personal preferences – I prefer to stay more behind the scenes as a composer.   And in reality, I do a lot more writing/arranging instead of performing.

Option three was to get a real job and funnel the money into music on the side.   This was the option I chose, and though not for everyone, has made me the happiest.   Mostly , this boiled down to the fact that I didn’t want to eat ramen for three straight years.    Somehow, I lucked into a job that that provides enough work/life balance that I can work towards a career in business and write music on the side.  And although the job itself isn’t music related, I’ve been involved in a few random side projects at work that have allowed me to stretch my mixing and engineering skills.

When I’m not working on mixing rap songs about finance, I writing songs to submit to TAXI.  TAXI is an online A&R company that will allow you to submit music towards various listings created by music professionals.  For a small fee, TAXI will screen and review your music.  If the music is deemed appropriate, they’ll send the music on to the execs or music publishers behind the listing.

Granted, I actually haven’t placed any music yet.  But the benefit of TAXI is this:  it allows me to receive critique and grow as a musician.  Plus, I still feel like I’m in touch with what is going on in the industry, even though I’m working an 8-5 job.

Oh, and I finally have something to upload today.  This is a piece Elise Burrell and I cowrote.  Elise, if you ever come back down here to California, I need to record your comps and backup vox for this song!

Fists of Frustration