Yesterday a friend who had helped me record a demo a few years ago (who I happen to be staying with right now) came home and seemed really excited to ask me about some recordings we had done about 3 years ago. He wanted to know if I had shared them online. I hadn’t. The truth was, I never felt comfortable sharing them because they didn’t seem to express what I wanted to express.
It wasn’t about how he had recorded them or about the songs themselves. The vocals were too pop, some of the songs felt too similar, and they were all too simple. I wanted more layers, more instruments, more arrangements, more noise , and thought that they deserved more than what i alone could offer. And yet the nature of the music scene, and the idea of art as a product made me hesitant to seek out collaborators. I only wanted to work with friends who understood me and felt more of a desire to inspire than fame or riches.
I could have learned how to do it all myself, to record, play a few simple things on other instruments, use effect pedals and get more comfortable on guitar. It sounds difficult, but I had time and resources. I didn’t learn to do it all myself though, at the time it didn’t excite me as much as learning languages, exploring new places and procrastinating.
There was still so much emotional baggage that I was sifting through, insecurities I was working on and self destructive beliefs that needed changing. I hadn’t truly believed that I could turn the songs into what I wished for them to be, and so one or two of them were uploaded as “demos” while the rest sat shelved for years.
My friend told me that he thinks I should share them. “You might not like them but I do, and so do all our friends. I know you want to make them perfect, but you aren’t acting like a perfectionist, so you might as well just share them as they are. Just be proud of where you are at, even if it’s not exactly where you want to be. You haven’t been focused on developing the songs so they haven’t been developed. If you don’t feel ready to develop them right now, I think you should just release them as they are. It’s like you’ve been holding in a shit for years waiting to make it the perfect shape. Just let it out so you can keep creating more freely, it’s bad for your health to keep it in too long.”
I know he wasn’t calling my music shit. He was telling me (in English, his third language) that I should keep that view of who I want to be and what I want to create but that I’m not going to get there if I am ashamed of where I am at. I am not far from being that greater version of myself but I’ve been stunting my growth all this time.
For a long time I have thought that showing the process of making the art, as its being made, would be interesting and since I am not answering to a record company or trying to put up a front or an image, there really is no reason I shouldn’t share those recordings proudly.
They still do not express what I was hoping to express, but they do express who I was at the time. So I’m thinking seriously about dropping a whole bunch of demos and live recordings from 2009-2015 on steemit and Patreon. It also illuminates a lot of the stories I’ve been writing, since a lot of what inspired the writing occurred during that time.
I still want to talk to him and see if he wants to remaster anything before I release it, but I am pretty sure I will be releasing most of what I’ve had recorded over the years in it’s messy and ameteur form.