When I began my latest songwriting journey (write at least one new song every week without fail - and no "through away" or "silly for the sake of silly" songs) I did not really know where it would lead me. I suppose that was part of the point - an uncertain goal, a process, a new creative path - but at some point I started to look back and wonder, "so, now that I feel more efficient and direct with my writing, now what?"
About 10 weeks or so in (I began on January 1st, 2012, if that matters) I realized that there were other creative elements and processes at play. For example, is it enough to just write the songs? What about recording? Performance? The truth is that I am not sure.
The fact is that I have a vision in my head for all this, but I have not been able to fully bring it to life. Yet. It seems to me like all the songs are also tied to my new performance rig. I'm looking for some way to not just create a new song, but also record it and have it ready for performance. Otherwise it somehow feels incomplete.
And this concerns me. And not just because while I feel very close to having the rig to the point where it can do what I need it to do live, or in the studio, and I can soon begin to move from the "design/build" phase to the "practice/use" phase, it's still taking so long. Every week another song written, but except for releasing the lyrics (I started that when my dad passed away this summer - go back and look for an entry called "Open" for more), it's not "out there" as they say.
And they need to be out there. Not so much because I feel that they are great - I have honestly no idea - but because it feels like they are not being given their due in the full creative process. Just like an instrument needs to be played, not left in a case; songs need to be more than written, they need to be heard.
And yet the process is so time consuming. As efficient as I have become, it still takes time. And the resources of my heart, soul, and creative stamina. So I run out of energy past the writing stage it seems.
Maybe that's why the live rig is so critical to me. If I can get it working as needed, and if I can practice enough with it, and if I can get it to interface well with my studio and cameras and such, then perhaps I can move past to the next stage. At least that is my current goal. I think.
I've put markers up for myself numerous times. At 10 songs, at 4 months, 6 months, 50 songs, a year...you get the idea. But except for a couple of one-off, simple, mostly piano/voice performances, none of these songs (currently 98 of them) have been given their time to shine.
There is nothing wrong with the piano/voice by the way, it's just that my "vision" has so much more. I am throughly entranced by the notion of really pushing the singer/songwriter paradigm, and the rig is the key (at least it appears to be at this time) so the more I write, the more behind I feel.
I could just stop writing and focus entirely on the rig. Get it up and fully running. Make it perfect for what I need before adding yet more material that I may never get to release as it all piles on top of itself. And sure that has been a thought that has crossed my mind several times, but it feels wrong.
Wrong because one of the key elements - perhaps the key element - to the rig design is the notion that technology should not be the part that rules the creative process. So stopping my writing for the sake of what is in many ways a technology issue - granted a complex one - feels way too hypocritical.
But the other reason is that while both the songwriting and the rig are very much truly each a part of my creative process, they are in fact not the same strand of it. As much as it would free up time, stoping the writing for the rig (or vise versa) will not actually do any good.
So I move on. Mostly this entry has been a rant, but it has been cathartic, and useful, and therefore worth it.
In the coming days I think I will be able to make the rig "gig ready." I even plan to make a few small videos capturing my experimenting with it in these early stages. No idea what the music will be, but the textures should be pretty cool. And complex in some ways - sonically, if not musically. "Everything but the kitchen sink," if you follow me. And maybe even that too.