Creativity comes in phases for me anymore. It used to be that I was always in some kind of creative groove, and working on music was that one constant groove. I didn’t start writing regularly on this site till 2011/2012, so before that my creative side was pretty much making music in my basement. And I typically had one or two different projects I was working on at the same time. Goodbyewave was the main one through the 2000s with a drummer. Then in 2010 I put out a solo album that I did everything on. That was pretty much the end of Goodbyewave, as I realized I liked doing things on my own.
This then led to projects like sunnydaymassacre(very lo-fi and garage rock), Dream District(guitar loops and ambient vibes), more solo albums, and then Cambodia Highball which was a collaboration between myself and an old friend. CH was a lot of fun and the last project I was really excited about. That was 2013. That same friend and I started another project in 2015 that was supposed to be a more mixed media thing. Sadly, it didn’t really take off but the music turned into an album I released on my own called Sidewalks.
All of this is to say that the music bug doesn’t show up like it used to, so when it does I’m super excited. It’s like running into an old friend that you had a very deep connection to but don’t see much anymore. All those old feelings rise to the surface, memories arrive, and that bond reconnects you to a time and place you haven’t felt in a long time. That old friend has returned and I’m thrilled. Not sure how long he’ll stay, but while he’s here I’m making the most of it.
I’m finding that the older I get the simpler I want things to be as far as creativity goes. I used to want as many tracks as possible when recording music; layers, overdubs, stacked vocals, blending five or six guitar parts….yeah, that’s it. Well I get overwhelmed now. Having all those options just makes me second guess creative decisions. I want to create in an economical way. Drawing with a sketch pad and colored pencils, not with a 24×36 canvas and 50 paints with a box full of brushes.
I feel if I limit myself to 4 tracks, a couple instruments, and a looper pedal I tend to find my way to melody and mood much easier these days. That’s what this new “thing” I’m doing is. I dug out the old Tascam 4-track cassette recorder, my Arturio Microbrute synth, a Casio keyboard, and my Ric bass. That’s it. I do have guitars handy in case it feels right. There’s just something about going down into the studio, looping a melody or a rhythm, and then just seeing where it takes me. There are no “songs”, per say, just moods I want to convey. That’s not to say there won’t be lyric-based songs. There’s a song I wrote a couple years ago and demoed that I think might make an appearance. It’s called “New Psychedelics For Old” and it might be perfect for this set. In fact, it might be a perfect title for this project. Right now everything is just “Tape Experiment 001” and “002”. Not very clever.
I started this analog journey last weekend and so far I’ve got three finished tracks. At this pace there might be a full-length forming which is exciting for me as I haven’t released a full-length album in four years. I’ve done some one-offs, and EP, and had started a project last summer that began as an EP that I’d intended on turning into something more but after the initial thing it was dead in the water. I now have a box in the closet with like 40 CD jewel case covers that will end up in a landfill. Oh well, it was fun for a minute.
This new thing feels different. It’s still forming in my head right now, but it’s a good kind of evolution of idea and thought. There’s no set parameters, with the exception of less is more. No overthinking, just diving in and see where the waters take me. For me anymore that’s the most exciting thing about creativity. I started drawing last spring and not having a set goal, but just drawing and seeing what happens is where I got the best stuff. I did do some portraits that were fun, but for the most part I like the off the cuff stuff most. I’m excited to make something for this music project as well. I miss that feeling, creating the whole world of a music project. The songs, the production, the mixing, the track listing, and the artwork. I’ve already got some ideas for this one. Maybe once I’ve got six songs done, then I’ll start thinking about what this should “look” like as well.
That’s it for now. I’ll share here once something is developing past the mere excitement stage of “making stuff”. For now, I’m just buzzing from the high; stoned on ideas, and tripping on creative intentions. It’s good to be in this space again.