Monday, January 4, 2010

A Veritable Wall of Text

The night I got home for winter break I semi-facetiously made up a To-Do list that I taped to a shelf on my desk. It says:


2. Make the b-sides comp
3. Demo all those new songs
4. Figure out holiday gifts
5. Play more video games (reclaim lost youth)

I've been doing mostly #5, but no amount of zombie death seems to mix Carbon Footprint, nor does beating every challenge the original Peggle has to offer make any progress towards demoing the 20 or so songs I've got that haven't been turned into 1's and 0's yet. The b-sides compilation isn't going to end up happening, in large because the songs I was going to put on it aren't as good as I had thought they were. They're also a fair amount more depressing than I'm okay with, or comfortable releasing for mass consumption. So that idea is dead.

I'm writing the following in the sincere hope that when this god damn record is finally complete and released, I will look back at this and laugh and think "stop whining, January-Adam. It wasn't nearly as difficult or as daunting as you thought." For now though, the task of actually releasing this record seems damn near impossible.

On every listen to every song there's something glaringly obvious that needs to be changed or added. And if I want trumpet and violin and timpani, it would seem that I should probably arrange those instruments, find people to play them, teach it to them, and record it. Once it's all recorded, it has to be mixed. Jeezus I hate mixing. Once it's mixed it has to be mastered. I can't master.

When it came time to mix Burning Up, I originally gave it to someone else to do. I paid him and everything. The guy did a piss-poor job of it and I deleted everything and did it myself. Back then I knew way less about that sort of thing, but I still did a better job than him. I'd mix everything completely differently now, but that's irrelevant. I brought the CD to a local studio to master it. The guy did a fine job, but it cost tons of money, and he went on multiple 10 minute cigarette breaks. Not cool.

Part of what has got me so wound up is that I feel like if I want something done right, I have to be the one to do it. I've turned that into an exclusive DIY ethic. I could bring these tracks to a studio, throw down $200-400 per song to mix and $600 for mastering and walk away with something that will sound better than what I'm going to end up being able to do, but at this point I see that as inauthentic. I want to take responsibility for everything. I don't want anyone I don't trust compromising my creative control. I could do it, but it wouldn't be right. It wouldn't be the record I need to release.

For that matter, I don't want to sign to a record label. Nothing would make me happier than being a donation based band. I want to know that I am doing everything I can do. I have always said that I will never require payment for anyone to hear my music. In a perfect world, people are paying what they think the record is worth. The music is in the hands of the fans. It should speak for itself. I know these songs do.

At the risk of sounding like Nietzsche or Kanye West, I know for a fact that I write very good songs. I like them and hundreds of anonymous people on the internet have said very nice things. They didn't have to say anything. In fact, people on the internet are more likely to troll the hell out of you than say one nice thing. Yesterday I got a message on a site I'm on that says this:

"I was looking at you avatar and realized your none other than the Adam Linder my friend that invited me here introduced me to about 2 years back. I just wanted to let you know I loved Burning Up (Lonesome, No More! gives me chills everytime I hear it) and I used to blare it for the entire shopping center to hear when I was the manager at a pizza shop. Anyway, can't wait to hear the Sister City LP."

Some guy I have never met said that something I wrote gives him chills. That's insane to me. I know that I have something to offer. I'm not asking to give people chills. I'm asking for people to say "Yeah, that Sister City album is actually really cool" and maybe even for them to think that it's worth 5 or 10 bucks.

I will be up front. I mentioned that so I could gloat. People (not as many as I would one day like, but good enough for now) give a shit about what I'm doing. It's special. It means something. I have the next two records written. I want to release those. I want to live in a utopian future where I'm putting out albums and people care and I don't have problems falling asleep because the vocals sit *just* above the mix and they won't EQ otherwise without losing definition. I don't want to want to rerecord the vocals for one song and then decide maybe I should rerecord the vocals for all the songs, and honestly if I'm going to that I should probably retrack the guitars or maybe the drums. That is what's taking so long. King of the Hill and Peggle really only provided a venue for my desperate desire to think about anything that isn't the fact that I'm not going to be done with Carbon Footprint until summer at this rate.

I will conclude with a quote from the frontman of Los Campesinos. Their record recently leaked and he had this to say about it. I know what he means.

"We spent four months making a record. We argued, we made up, we started relationships, we ended relationships, we cried in recording booths because it was too much to deal with, we cried in recording booths because we thought we couldn't get it right, and then we cried when we knew we'd got it spot on. I put so much personal and biographical stuff into songs that it as good as breaks me"

tl;dr -- Record won't be out for a while. I have to do it right, even if it breaks me. I also think pretty highly of myself.

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