This site has been my main focus for a little under a year. Since writing and releasing my third album (my first without a traditional record label) I’ve had a couple of months to decide what to do next:
I’ve come to enjoy the writing almost as much as I do the music. It gives me a break from my music composition and production “day job” and it helps me process and clarify my thinking about my work.
But while it’s been a useful personal exercise what’s more interesting to me is focussing on the value I can give you.
Over 16 years of making a living from writing electronic music has given me a wealth of experience in the areas of creativity, motivation and productivity. Thomas Edison famously said that “genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” and after bucket loads of sweat, tears and a sprinkling of inspiration, I look back on over 250 releases and remixes and realise how much I’ve achieved. But it’s been anything but easy.
The process of creating anything – whether it be music, a web site, a painting or company is a tortuous affair. I’ve used many techniques to fight the good fight over the years and some have worked better than others. By sharing my experiences and insights I’ll help you win your daily battle.
It’s my sincere belief that in tough times the world needs us to realise our dreams. It’s natural to hunker down and play it safe when finances are tight and prospects uncertain, but the more savvy of you will turn your dreams into goals and set about achieving them. If I can help just one person do that I’ll have achieved one of mine.
I’m practising what I preach with my music.
You might assume that as a self-employed music producer I’ve followed my dreams. You’d be mistaken. I’ve felt a disconnect for some time now. 10 tracks 10 weeks was an attempt to address that, as I thought the problem was external. Releasing the album myself and writing it in public inspired me in some ways, but in hindsight I was tinkering with the process of distribution rather than addressing the source of the problem within me.
If I look back to what I loved about music when I was a kid, it was performance. I started piano at the age of 7, quickly moved onto bassoon then saxophone and played in numerous bands, choirs and orchestras. This fed my soul. I even dabbled in free improvisation at one point and (even though much of the resulting music was a racket) I loved the unexpected things that could happen in an environment of pure performance.
But I ended up producing music in a studio and over the last decade I’ve only performed as a DJ. It’s been good to me, and had amazing opportunities to travel the world DJing everywhere from Kazakhstan to Australia, but I’ve increasingly felt that something is missing.
So I’m learning a new instrument. And when I say a new instrument, I mean new not only to me, but probably) to you as well. It’s an Eigenharp Pico. It’s more than an instrument because (when I get good enough) it will allow me to both perform and compose music on the fly. I’m extremely excited about the endless possibilities that this wonderful little machine opens up.
But it’ll be some time before I can inflict any music on you because it has such a horribly steep learning curve. It’s partly the challenge that attracts me to it though, and I’ll check in occasionally with my progress.
I intend to make a living from the site at some point, but at the moment my focus is on providing as much free and useful content as possible.
As for the music, I wish I could continue to offer it for free as I did for the 10 weeks of my 10 tracks, but unfortunately Bandcamp have started charging for free downloads.
So until I make enough money to fund free downloads my latest album will stay at the very reasonable price of £5. And if you’re curious to know what my music sounds like you can download my favourite track off the album for free.
The idea of creating a manifesto appeals to me. It’s been on my mind since I saw Mathew Herbert’s personal manifesto a few years ago. I’m now working on a blueprint which I’ll live (and work) by, but which will be applicable to anyone who wants to realise their creative ambitions.
- One post every other day on the subjects of creativity, productivity and motivation. My mantra is “less is more” and I’ll say as much as I can in as few words as possible. Although I will write longer pieces (like this) when the subject matter requires it.
- At least one studio tip a week for those interested in electronic music production.
- Occasional updates about how I’m getting on with my little Pico project.
- A monthly newsletter with content you won’t find anywhere else.
- I want to be fluent enough on the Pico to start releasing new music by January 2011. And then my tentative plan is to release a new track every week when my schedule allows.
- A creative manifesto or blueprint to be finished early next year. It’ll be of value to anyone who wants to discover what they were born to do and how to do it.