On My Style and Current Project

I think that writing helps my creative process in writing this album, so I’m going to try and write a few blog posts to get some ideas out of my head and onto paper.

I had a lot of thoughts coming into this album project which I’ve been working on for 3 or 4 weeks now. First of all, recording albums (a process which includes writing most of the music and lyrics) are some of my favorite times in life. It’s not often that I get to devote all of my time and mind to a project which I’m in love with, and there’s something very satisfying about spending the whole day locked away writing music and lyrics, playing with mixing tools and ideas, learning new drum, piano, singing and guitar playing techniques, and all the other things that come along with this process. I find this single minded focus very fulfilling. It’s certainly not all roses, and there are days when I feel lethargic and uncreative, and it’s a struggle to get just a few lyric lines written. This time around I’ve been trying to figure out what affects my feeling creative, without much success so far.

One thing that’s been great about this process is that it’s given me the ability to listen carefully and critically to music again. I’ve found that in the past few years my ability to really listen to music has gone down hill quite a bit. But now that I’m in the creative process, everything I listen to gets picked apart in terms of mixing (what is that synthesizer they’re using in this song? Did they use a plate, spring or hall reverb? What sort of compressor(s) was used on these vocals?) and composition / orchestration (can I take something from this chord progression? Any interesting harmony going on? Maybe I can take that type of drum sound for the chorus I’m working on…).

In the past number of years since my last album (4 1/2 ish I think by now?) I’ve broadened my listening horizons significantly, and it’s showing in my composition. I’ve decided that when people ask me what genre of music I write from now on I’m going to say Experimental Pop. I came up with the term myself, but upon writing it here I checked wikipedia and lo and behold, there’s an article on experimental pop. After skimming it just now it actually sounds exactly how I was thinking of the term. What do you know, I discovered the genre of my music while writing a blog post about it. The reason I coined the (apparently) unoriginal term experimental pop is because my music at it’s core is indeed pop music. By pop music I don’t mean radio music — I use the term a bit more precisely and broadly to mean popular music in general, which would include much rock, radio music, rap, contemporary folk, certain electronic music, etc. Though I’m currently trying to move into the complex and intricate, my music has always been more or less simple and melodic. I’ve always tried to push my boundaries when it comes to drawing musical ideas from different genres, and that’s where the experimental part comes into my music. It’s highly experimental in that I’m always listening to different types of music and trying to bring their stylistic devices into my own composition.

(sidenote: So, while writing this I’m listening to some of the artists listed on the wikipedia page for experimental pop, and I’m not sure I would sound much like most of these artists, however, I still really like the term experimental pop and will from now on label myself that way)

I think that my attitude towards music in this way is a reflection of my general attitude towards a lot of things. I try to be as broad-minded as I can, always expanding my intellectual horizons and leaving room for questions. I don’t like to crystallize truth because I feel like my understanding of truth is something that should always be growing and maturing. Life isn’t crystal after all, but fluid. That doesn’t mean that my understanding of reality is always fundamentally shifting, but I hope that it’s growing in nuance and detail.

 I think I’ll write a separate post on the conceptual ideas I’m tossing around for this Phantastes album that I’m working on now, just had to get some rambling out of my system first.

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