So I just got off the phone with the dude who may be producing my next musical endeavor, which for all significant intents and purposes, is likely going to be my maiden voyage into a solo career. My plan at this point is to link up with him and record three carefully selected songs, evaluate the experience, and determine if I'm going to do more with him or experiment with some other producers. After these initial three tracks, there is a chance I could also decide that writing songs ain't where it's at for me and I should go be a garbage man.
At some point in Some Like it Hot's tenure, I told myself that the ideal project for me would be one where all facets of my musical personality could fit, where I was literally free to make whatever kind of song I wanted, and a cohesive limitation or genre boundary would be unnecessary. I still feel like this is the case to some degree. I'm interested in doing full-blown quirky rock songs with relatively complex arrangements, stripped down acousticy indie kind of singer-songwriter tunes kinda like Kevin Devine, my voice over dancy beats a la Kanye West or the Postal Service, and show tuneish kinds of things where I may share vocals with a female singer. I believe that there is a chance that I'm alternately talented enough or weird enough to pull all of these things off with some kind of common aesthetic that would keep the variety from distracting people too much.
Trying to boil that grand ambition down to essentials just to give a tentative audience a sampling of a greater scheme reminds me a little bit of how I felt about writing a college essay; you get this limited amount of space to make an impression so that you might earn the possibility of leaving your mark in a more lasting and profound way. Picking three songs to start with is proving daunting because I feel like I have so many ideas and so much to say. These three recordings should definitely come out money; should I do straight-ahead pop tracks to establish my credibility before I venture off into weirder fare, or should I obey my weirder impulses to begin with and pick three songs that are unabashedly idiosyncratic? The criticism I got from my first record has kind of made me eager to prove that I can write a simple, bullshit pop song as well as anybody if i really want to, but you know at the same time...
I don't even really want to! I am also toying with the idea of making my debut ep a concept record. I have a ton of these kind of "throwaway" songs if you will that I would like to use somehow; the kinds of songs that amuse me but are not conceptually the kinds of songs I'd envision as hit singles or profile songs on someone's myspace. I think it'd be really cool to work these songs in between the main songs as "skits". They could have dialogue before or after them that connected them all to a story, and I could link them to a viral promotion campaign by recording videos of the song and dialogue in some visually stimulating context that connected with the record's themes and pushing them on youtube. That way, I could give the "skits" away for free so that people could get a taste of what I was doing without giving away any of the album's big guns. With all of these "skit" songs floating around and a single on top of that, I could build some hype without giving away too much of the record itself. I've always been into what I call really high concept songs,and a viral campaign might help my audience to fully understand the complexity of the songs' subject matters and lyrical depth.
Another dumb neurosis that's kind of driving me crazy as I'm preparing songs is this whole idea of trying to circumvent the argument that the songs aren't cohesive before I even record anything. All I can picture is some swoop haired college girl who's got an ego because she books local shows going "these songs definitely don't all fit together". While I don't view "To the Mattresses" as a mistake, I definitely want to keep in mind what I learned last time and use it to improve my art without being so overly concerned with people pleasing that it loses its soul. The problem is, of course, that I don't know exactly how to do that. I always claim that "I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul" (see: Calvin and Hobbes), but I obeyed them with the that record and all I got was alot of people scratching their heads or not being interested or both. Interestingly, I've kind of been thinking of the Neptunes and Kanye as proxies for how to market and cultivate my sound and image, because those dudes are clearly huge weirdos who've figured out how to be daring and unconventional but still sell alot of records and because of my pals Lana and Priska who pointed this out to me.
On top of all this crap I have to adjust to singing my own songs. What a concept! And I'm also trying to work out whether I should move into my parents' house in IL while I focus on this or if I should continue to pay for a residence here in Rockville even while I'm away tracking. On the one hand, I'll be so bored out in Bumfuck, Il living with my parents that I'll have no choice but to focus on my art (I'm not just being a tool who repeatedly refers to pop music as "art"- I'll be focusing on my writing alot in the coming months as well, it's an umbrella term, see?). On the other hand, living out here is more logistically challenging, involves having a job, and is more distracting because I have an actual social life- one I do not wish to give up if it can be helped.