Should you wait to find inspiration?
Do you sit hoping for that musical muse to pay a visit and offer you a brief insight into your next great creative masterpiece?
Or do you look at the clock and realise you have thirty minutes to compose, record, mix and remix your commissioned work before the bike arrives? (Remember those days?)
For those unfamiliar with the last reference, and before instant uploading was a possibility, you had to make hard copies of your finished work and bike it to the clients. This would often cause moments of moistness while the leather clad messenger paced up and down outside the studio eager to take your small tape, cassette, final master, while you were printing off the labels and making the list of cues, takes and versions on the box. The meter was ticking and it was coming out of your budget! Quick!
So analogue, so stressful, so normal.
Today we have it too easy. Everything is so……Digital.
The recording process is non-destructible with virtually eternal UNDO’s.
You have so many choices with editing and versions that appear never ending. Those who ever experienced the joys of cutting and splicing analogue tape with a one-sided, razor-sharp, blade will appreciate the ease with which we have it nowadays. Never mind the additional expense of plasters and bandages.
Cutting out words, hanging up delicately recorded phrases on the shelf above the reel-to-reel tape machine, adding bits of tape back, often upside down, whilst trying to edit the perfect twenty- nine second jingle all on quarter inch tape.
These processes were not for the weak hearted. Engineers would run out in tears especially when they realised there was only one take of a certain vocal and this was now carelessly strewn in several bits on the studio floor.
It was a time that required a specific working process that started with the writing of the jingle, track, song, whatever. And pretty much always, you had no time. Whatever it was, you had to be able to come up with something really quickly and stand by your decision. Write it, record it, send it! No demos, first stage try outs, tests, nothing! You committed. And pretty much most of the time it worked. Next day you’d hear it on the radio or see it on TV, and be amazed that it had just left your creative brain and was now banging its way across the airwaves.
I think we’ve lost this today. We have so many ways that offer far too many choices. As creatives we’re so paranoid of getting things wrong, we often don’t do anything that allows us to commit.
Believe in what you are doing. You have the skills and you can be an authority in this marvellous process we call the music industry. Be industrious, be business-like, be quick. You don’t really need to wait for Inspiration; Just sit down and write, and if the clock is ticking towards the deadline, it’s ok to add some perspiration. It centres the brain as well as quickens the heart.
Inspiration or Perspiration? You decide on your next project. We just needed it by yesterday!