As some of you might recall me mentioning on Twitter a while back, I recently scrapped everything that I had written for the next record over the summer and decided to start again - including a song that clocked in at 21 minutes that I spent more than a month working on (though it should be said that I do plan to record Night Orders which I demoed at the Bath House this summer).
Tiger By The Tail, a preview of which can be found in the post preceding this one, was an immense joy to write and record after clearing the proverbial air. It’s one of those songs that completely disregards expectation, in that it’s not a rock song, though could be termed “post-rock” I suppose given the obvious Talk Talk influences. In short, when you’ve been writing and recording records as long as I have, more than 20 years now, the usual gets tired, so you find yourself looking for something other than the usual, especially if your last release was closer to it than not.
One of the things I like about posting demos for fans to listen to is that it offers insight into the raw state of creation. Seventeen years ago the technology I have now didn’t exist, and I didn’t have a tape-based home studio to record ideas. When I wrote Giant, for example, I had to play it four or five times a day to make sure I remembered it. In 1994, I got so nervous that I’d forget the melody of Symbolistic White Walls that I recorded myself playing it on my answering machine.
Today I have the ability to write and record the parts for every instrument. While I know a lot of musicians that have top-notch recording gear at home, I still prefer to limit things somewhat to ensure that when it’s done in the studio there’s room for it to grow, for sounds to improve, and most importantly, for performances to be better. There’s nothing worse than capturing something on a demo that you come to believe can’t be done again better - a curse known as demoitis.
Anyway, because I’ve just finished vocals this morning on two songs, one being the already posted Tiger By The Tail, I thought that I’d share both so that people could get a glimpse into the raw state of affairs when you either don’t demo looking to produce something akin to a final product, or don’t have a home studio that could actually pass as a real studio.
I’ve always viewed using computers to record as an artist might view a sketchbook. The initial idea is captured by the sketch. Transforming that idea into a painting is a different part of the process.
Another aspect to keep in mind is the imperfections present in demos. In this business there are a lot of artists that don’t even write their own material, let alone demo complete songs themselves. That reality should, in truth, be a factor in how people view the difference between those that are more a part of the “music machine” and those that are in the business of creation and then the representation of their work.
So this is called “We Have Done This Before, We Will Do It Again”. The mix isn’t great, there are kinks that need smoothing, there’s some out of tune shit. But it’s the raw idea, this is where it starts, and in that sense it’s the closest you’re going to get to understanding what goes into the initial capture of an idea.
As for when the next record will be released - sometime next year, I have no solid time table at the moment.
Hope everyone is well. See you at the shows later this month if you’re going.
The preview period has concluded.