Posted on December 19th, 2017
12.19am and I’m done. Not ‘stick a fork in me’ done, just done. Creative juices are spent yet my head is still yammering away about I don’t know what.
Well, I do know what.
The Work. Honesty. Validation. Fear.
See what I’m working on is difficult for me, it’s for a game, music to support a narrative, music to trigger an emotional response BUT without getting in the way of the story being told. Now supporting someone else’s expression is what I did for Pip, the records we made are reactions to each others emotional state, not entirely deliberate but our individual mind states when creating a piece couldn’t help but have a gravitational pull on the others feelings.
The problem here is space, the work is serious and sparse, low pulsating ambience with room for the developer to tell their story, but the longer I work, the more I find myself filling every corner with my own story. I’ve no glitchy break to hide behind, no rumbling bass to push away the darkness.
But why should that be a problem to me? Why should it matter that the melody from Track X happened whilst thinking about my cousins suicide a few years ago, or that the tension in Track Y comes from the fear that I’ll not be able to provide for myself when I get old. The developer doesn’t need to know (well he might if I actually post this). All this room is allowing me to really stretch my brains bleak little legs.
And as bleak as all this sounds, the process is cathartic, in the moment, following each emotion down their path, letting each go in the direction it wants is ultimately freeing. Other than how damn uncomfortable my chair is, it feels good. But it’s these moments that I find hard, creation is escape, the post coital wind down is reality crashing noisily into the afterglow.
In the end my head turns to validation, as much as I make music for the love of it, it’s a basic truth that my ability to continue doing it full time depends entirely on people and systems outside of my control, on likes, retweets, algorithms, shares, on the kindness of strangers, on luck.
Now this isn’t an ‘oh woe is me’ moment where I start begging for support, screaming ‘LOVE ME’, screaming ‘RATE, COMMENT AND SUBSCRIBE’ into the ether, this is just an acknowledgement that it feels good when someone else enjoys what you do, it feels great when they are moved enough to share your work with their world. As silly as it is to admit it, it’s easy to feel validated when someone clicks a heart or thumb in relation to you, whether that be as a person or artist. The numeric validation you get from the gamified human reactions that social networks give you, no matter how hollow we tell each other they are, can feel fucking great.
But that way madness lies.
Allowing uncontrollable external forces be your source of validation in basically insanity, especially when we interact with those forces via algorithms that don’t show us the full story.
As I type I know now that I’m going to post this, these rambles are usually scribbled notes recycled in a few days, private pressure releases, but I need this one to do a job for me, to remind me when I feel that churn of doubt in a few months time as this work gets shown to y’all, to remind me…
The joy validates you.
The journey validates you.
You validate you.