A Little Something That Made Me Feel Better...
When I started my journey as a creator of music, self-graduating myself from consumer-of-music, I found inspiration in everything. In the 90's, there was enough good music on hit-radio stations to supply the inspiration. Lay on top of that the newness of realizing that I too could make music, and every idea was a world of possibility for new exploration.
Today I spent some time with one of my oldest and best friends, Mike Longo. If you have been a true believer in AfroDJMac, then you recognize Mike from the Alpha Juno Pack, and the Armageddon Pack. If you are one of the many who became Mike Longo fans after reading about him here, then you'd think of his music.
Before we had a catch, throwing each other memories more often than baseballs, Mike and I listened to a bunch of old recordings we had done together.
In about 1999/2000, we saved and pooled some of the first dollars we'd ever earned to buy a project recording studio. VHS-Tape-ADATs, a broken mixer, decent to not-so-decent microphones... we were in business. High on a yearlong Beatles-binge, we embarked on some of my fondest musical explorations.
Today I got to hear the recordings of splashing water in a bathroom sink, a cheap-overpriced Epcot Center flute drenched in reverb, and youthful aggression racing towards a dream. Mike had recorded those songs into Ableton Live in real time. No digital transfers. Just track by track, minute by minute. It probably took forever. I'm so thankful he did that.
Listening back to music we'd written well over a decade ago came with some funny realizations. Sometimes I was impressed by the performances. Remember, most of this stuff was recorded before you didn't have to worry about music being tight, in-time, and in-tune. Sometimes I distrusted what I heard, because my memories painted a more perfect picture than what we had actually created.
But all the time, I felt inspired by the energy and enthusiasm with which each piece of music was attacked.
In all of those old recordings, I was never let down by how hard we attacked each piece of music. A lot of times the songs were worse off because of the attack. We sped up, slowed down, sang sharp, and rushed the beat. But if you stop listening for musicality and instead let emotional-intensity take over, these tracks were great. They were enjoyable, even if just for how much we enjoyed making them.
In the wake of the day, I feel inspired.
That kind of inspiration is rare because it is powerful. You can't have powerful inspiration all the time, because then it would be normal inspiration. I'm working on appreciating the rareness of important things, because the rareness makes those things special.
The reason I started writing this post is because I came across two podcast episodes that struck a chord in me. You can't rely on powerful inspiration striking you, because it rarely does. But if you keep your eyes open, you might find a nice dose of normal inspiration to get you through the day.
The following two interviews do just that.
Soak is the age Mike and I were in those old recordings. Her music sounds awesome and the conversation is great. It made me want to make music.
John Congleton has really practical advice for producers and song writers. It's a really informative hour you will wish was two hours.