So this is Part 2. I've recognized that I walked away from music, and that I want to come back. I've made more of an effort to be involved in music again — meeting up with Toure, doing the Plunge gig, writing the song for Cyd, doing the jazz piano online course, bringing new songs to Melting Pot. But it's like I'm talking around the point, instead of looking it square on in the face.
I want a feeling, right? I want to "be making music" — I want to feel like music is a part of my life, and I want the feeling I get when I make something great, and I want to feel like I'm a musician who's making something valuable. I want to feel valued.
But none of those are settable goals. The thing you want and the thing you aim for aren't necessarily the same thing. The thing you want comes out of the journey to the thing you aim for.
So what's a reasonable thing to aim for? What would be something that I'd enjoy building towards that could get me the things I want?
There's the obvious — writing and recording songs. Write and record one song. But that sucks. That doesn't feel like a goal I can move towards; it just feels like something I'm not doing very well.
Make a beat. Make an EDM track. Learn to play a song. Feel comfortable comping and soloing over a tune.
(Sidebar: There's a difference between being able to play something OK, and being able to play it well in all 12 keys. The books tell you you need the latter, but I'm not sure that's true.)
What about smaller more bite-sized goals?
Write a chorus. Write a verse. Make a drum loop.
The issue is the bigger goals. That I feel like I need to do something bigger with the time I have.
There is a life I'm "supposed to" be living, and I'm racked with guilt because I'm not doing it. So let's think about that for a minute. What would it take for that part of me to feel satisfied?
I'd put out an album. Something that felt warm and brilliant and really stood out and stood for my voice. Something that was beautiful and made people stand up and go "Oh shit, what even is this?" It's recognition and respect. But it's more than that — it's external validation that I'm special.
I think a reasonable long-term goal would be to release another EP. 4 tracks of new Arthur Lewis hotness. Maybe not existing tunes because that kind of feels like a slog.
I'd have to approach it as a compositional project again. The way I used to approach making music. The fun wasn't in writing the chart. The fun was in making the music itself. The groove, the shifts, the countermelodies. Why would I let anyone take that away from me?
Right. That's it. The music comes first. The words come when the feeling of the music is so strong that it has to become words.
The joy never left me. That's where my music comes from. And Cyd, she feeds it. She's the key to my inner well of joy and power.
So let's forget about writing songs for a second. Writing songs is a red herring. It's a distraction from the source of my power.
So getting my skills back up is something in the service of making this record. It's getting each skill to good enough that I feel comfortable — that I don't feel like it's a huge obstacle.
So how do we come up with a plan?
I need a basic setup of instruments I like. That's what keeps stopping me. Not liking the sounds I'm working with. So the first step is to work all the way through my Production/Recording pipeline. Let's give each step a week.
What about my studio setup?
I don't think that's as big of an obstacle. I have Logic Remote on the iPad, and I have two keyboards, and a controller.