Behind the Scenes (Album): Part 2

Alright. This is the 2nd blog post about the new album I’m making.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you should read the previous blog.

I got 2 songs written and recorded and posted so far.  I think I was up until 8 AM this morning.  I actually just woke up about 7 PM.  Strange hours, I know.  But now I’m up again and I’m trying to get my mind back on this record.  A few minutes ago I picked up my guitar to start work on song #3 but I didn’t get anywhere.  I think I was warming up more than anything else.  And that could still prove valuable (for later on).  I’ll have to keep taking a crack at it until something comes.

I’m trying to get my mind in the right place to write some more.  I’ve realized over the years that a lot of songwriting is getting yourself in the right environment and mental place to do it.  It’s kind of like getting in tune with whatever it is that gets you writing.  It feels like praying to me.  That’s what I was thinking this morning when I was writing those first 2 songs.  I’d say it was all an intellectual thing but it’s just not.  For me (and I don’t know how it works for other people) songwriting is more about the feeling of what you’re making than anything else.  I notice that while I’m making the songs I have to believe in them.  I’ll get a line or two going and that’s a vulnerable spot for a song because I can either keep trying or just abort it.  I think if I had tried to write those 2 songs this morning without having a goal to make the album like this I wouldn’t have gotten too far.  I think they came out more because I made a promise to write them than because I actually wanted to write them.

I also had another thought about this album exercise thing.  See, I have all of these titles that don’t have songs.  And your first thought when you hear the titles is that there is only one song that could be written with each one.  But that’s completely not the truth.  I was telling my dad this.  If he wrote a song called “That Girl is Bad” and I wrote a song called “That Girl is Bad” it would be two totally different songs.  We’d each have our own spin.  So when I sit down to write whatever songs I imagine the titles being it’s gonna be my own take on them.  So that means that it isn’t locked into anything other than the title.  I can get the song to the title in some surprise twist.  It doesn’t have to be straight forward.  And that’s kind of a fun thought.  The songs don’t have to be exactly what you think they’re gonna be.  They can evolve a little.

I was also thinking about how this is what all records feel like when you’re making them.  They don’t just appear out of nowhere.  You have to hunt them down a little.  There is some work to it even in just capturing them on paper and tape (or disk).  And there’s also the issue of inspiration.  Because when you’re trying to make something that takes some time you aren’t going to have a continual flow of inspiration about it.  It’ll turn on and off as you go and often with no concern to when it’s convenient to you.  Inspiration is almost like something you know is going to happen, you just don’t know when.  So you have to be ready for it and then make the best of it when it comes.  It’s like a wave of something.  Of inspiration.  Yeah.

I was looking at the titles and I have 16 of them.  That’s a lot of songs and it could take some time to write and record them all.  If I did 2 per day (like today) it would take me 8 days.  And I’m not even taking into consideration that some of these songs might straight up suck when I’m done with this.  So maybe I should be thinking about my goals here.  What are they and are they realistic?

Let’s see.. my first goal is to stay committed to this until I’m finished.  I’d like to see this through to the end even if it’s awful and an embarrassment.  I think this album making idea at least deserves my attention and focus to try it and see what happens.  I know I’ll get sick and tired of it at some points but I’ve gotta’ be able to pick it back up and keep going if I hope to get to the end.

Second goal.  I want it to be quality for what it is.  I want to make the best recordings I can make of the best songs I can write.  I don’t want to treat this like a joke.  I want to be serious about it while I’m working on it.  I know that with creative things you often get sidetracked and goofy or whatever.  I want to try to make good and interesting songs no matter what.  I know that I’m looking at this more seriously than my country album.  But I want to have integrity with the attention I give to it.

Third goal.  I want to be patient with myself.  I don’t know how long this is going to take.  It would be great if I could do it in a week but that might not be right for the songs.  It might take a few months.  I don’t know.  I think at times it will be appropriate to rush through but I need to remember to go slow sometimes and be okay about it.  Rome wasn’t built in a day (as whoever says that says) and neither are most records (though some are I guess).

The reason I want to do this on the internet is because I want the audience to get a feeling of what it’s like to make an album from the artist’s point of view.  I know it won’t be a complete, exhaustive angle.  You won’t see the recording process or me sitting here typing my blogs, but hopefully you’ll see a little more than usual.  I want to get across the fact that it just takes time for these things to happen.  If you listen to a record it only lasts as long as it plays, but there’s a lot that happens behind the scenes ( <– did you like that?).  Some of it of course isn’t interesting at all.  It’s a lot of tedious details like anything else.  But it’s also a much deeper experience than you’d think (and often quite boring).

I want to get into the guts of it, or pretty close, so people can get an idea of what it’s really like to do this kind of thing.

Cool?

Okay, gotta’ go write another song!

Jeff

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