As any music band out there on the internet today, our band was quite excited when we took the step of working towards putting out a full fledged album. We had couple of original compositions but did not quite know where to start. But, we decided to own the entire process and thus began the long and eye-opening process of backend production.
There were a host of processes involved that were completely new to us. We stumbled along our way, fell a lot, and even found ourselves a little lost at times. But, our journey soon turned into the destination and we started enjoying each little step of the way. And, not to blow our own trumpets, but we did start off on the right foot. However, there was something that was missing.
We had a few tracks recorded which sounded good to our ears. However, when we came back to them after a couple of days, we would always find room for improvement. And, we kept going back to the chalkboard. On better reflection, the need for inspiration became obvious. And this sent me back to the memory of asking my music teacher if it was possible to just be a fly on the wall when his band was jamming. Amazing as he was, he had happily obliged to my request. I could easily recall just how inspired I felt afterwards. I decided to send him a few tracks. He shared his honest feed-forward and pointed out the tracks where he felt we could improve. He further told us to get in touch with a music producer.
I then asked him, “Do you have anyone in mind?”, to which he said,
“I’m not going to give you all the answers.”
There is something beautiful about asking for help. It opened my mind to broader horizons than taking a “finding a needle in a haystack” approach would have; which is what I had thought of when I approached my teacher (he’ll give me all the answers I thought.) We decided to use the power of Instagram.
There is this musician I follow on Instagram, whom I had never approached earlier because I felt intimidated. But he felt like the right person for this task. And yet, I couldn’t muster the courage to reach out to him. A number of thoughts crossed my mind. Like, how I had never spoken to him before. Why would he agree to take us on? He might not have time. And then, I decided to just hit send on that message. What followed was me anxiously waiting for his response. And, just when I was about to give up hope, his reply hit my inbox.
We have been jamming for just a number of classes so far. And yet, I find my mind to be completely blown away. I want to share a couple of insightful and interesting anecdotes from the ongoing process. And, these instances reflect certain lessons that can be easily applied to all our daily problems.
Discover your vision
Most of the timeless albums that continue to rule our hearts have a vision, storyline. My mentor suggested I listen to these albums in their entirety and research more on the process of creation. This is because every great work of art comes from a place of storytelling. This unique story acts as the foundation of the journey that lies ahead.
This simple insight can completely transform our approach to almost anything in life. Great observational skills provide a deeper insight into the working of our own mind, as well the rest of the world. Thus, helping us get a better understanding of what we might be looking for.
Inspiration will find you, only if you are open to it
My mentor further suggested that I listen to different genres of music. Instead of limiting myself to albums of a particular kind, it is important to expose myself to brilliance of all kinds.
Our lives are a sum total of experiences. Thus, in order to find inspiration, it is important to actively seek new experiences, discover new things. are all creatures of experience. Listen to different albums as a whole band, find out what kind of sound you need to go for. Inspiration can be found in the most unexpected of places, if only we look for it.
My mentor then asked me to put the listener at the centre of my process.
The listener is always at the end of the chain for any music. Backtrack from there. What value are you adding to the listener? Are you telling a story? Are you evoking an emotion? How do you want your listeners to feel? Know your values and work backwards to fine tune all other processes. Let values be your guiding force.
Sound is perception in motion. And, so it becomes important for an artist to be mindful of the same. My storytelling needs to reflect my perception efficiently. What’s the weather like? The amount of space around me, my mood – all of these impact my perception of sound
Thus, it is important to look at all the connecting dots. Everything is always, always connected.
The journey ahead
But, of course, these points are just the tip of the iceberg. And, this unbelievable journey started by me simply asking for help. But, the experience so far has been amazing. I definitely hope to stick with it for as long as possible. The process has also made me realise how even the smallest of steps can make a world of difference. They give you the hope that your destination isn’t that far away. And, more importantly, they turn your journey into a destination unto itself.