There’s a great quote from Trent Reznor in the latest SPIN magazine:
“The way I work is that up to the last second stuff looks like shit, and at the last minute it comes together.”
I’m not a huge NIN fan, but I have always been a fan of what he’s accomplished. As someone who goes into a room alone, and tries to come out with finished recorded works, I know what a challenge it is… creation on it’s own is enough of a challenge, let alone creating and being a technician and a producer all at once. Not complaining, mind you… I love the process.
That having been said – one of the things that helped me get New Eye done was the album cover. Really. And the cover happened by sheer accident. I got a Photoshop plugin that did flames, so I started testing it out, and got this image…. I thought to myself “Wow, that’d make a really interesting album cover.” So I printed it out and slid it into a blank CD case. Well, that CD case sat on my coffee table, or in my studio for the entire time I was working on New Eye… it helped me maintain the idea of this finished thing, in the midst of a mess.
Fast forward 6 years… if you know anything about what I’ve been doing, you know that I decided to break my music up into separate albums this time… New Eye was a lovable hodgepodge of styles, but not everything appealed to everyone. Now I have no desire to appeal to everyone – really. But I do have some very different musical sides, so I thought that rather than cram them all into another album, I’d divide them up into Rock and Roll, Pop and Instrumental. And I’ve got two of the covers done already.
But the covers aren’t quite enough this time.
What IS working: in the software I use to write and record now, there’s a “Project” option, which lets you import songs you’re working on into an album – drag the order around, put in crossfades, etc. And when you’ve been doing work on a song, and then go back to a “project” – the project can see that you’ve changed the song, and will automatically update the song in the project at your will.
What this is giving me is a sonic version of the album cover… by hearing songs next to each other, I can feel the albums coming together. And honestly, it’s been really surprising how, for a long time, it’s felt like a mess… and now it feels like it’s coming together. 🙂
So far, I’ve got 5 or 6 solid tracks for each of the albums – there’s still final mixing and fixes to do on those, but that’s a really great start – and they sound good together, which is even better. And at the same time, I’ve got 3 or 4 for each that I’m still fleshing out in the studio. Not exactly the last minute, but it IS all coming together.
Best of all? I’m loving working on music again.
Blessed, and very, very grateful.
Thanks for reading.
p.s. – thanks so much to everyone for the lovely little buzz around The Other New Eye. And you folks pushed me into the top 400 worldwide at Reverbnation – just plain holy smokes. 🙂