Greasing Wheels

So I’ve finally started pushing the Record button.

The hardest part of making music is learning your instruments and your tools. After picking up all this equipment, it’s taken me some time to get familiar with the basics of my synth, sampler, sound module, drum machine, and DAW software. Five months ago, when I knew a lot less than I do now, every time I pressed Record on the DAW software, it was screwup after screwup after screwup. Frustration rose and overpowered joy, and so I let the music project lie fallow for months.

Until March, when I got the synth. It became a joy again. I got to peck and poke, pushing parameters around, finding sounds, figuring out what that damn thing can do. It became fun and novel again. I had to know more. So I picked up the manual and read it, and started reading the manuals to the rest of my gear. Now I’m getting familiar with it, and that, my friends, is a good, good thing.

I sat at my workstation last night and hammered out a nasty bassline. I recorded the midi of it, learned how to clean it up, loop it, record an audio loop of it. Laid down a track with a GM patch called “Nylon Guitar” (mildly reminiscent of the real thing). Worked up a drum track. (Yeah, I know…Creativity, WOW!) It’s mostly a throw-away track; the vibe is totally not Glass Door material, but I’ll keep punching at it. Each hour spent with it is a new learning experience.

There’s plenty more work to do.

Diarrhea of the Mouth

A character flaw has recently come to my attention. Apparently, I have a tendency to tell stories from my life as an automatic response to memories triggered by the current conversation. You talk about being an english major, and I wax on about the three times I took the same literature class. You bring up multisided dice and I’ll unravel an other-people-story about my old gamer friends carrying suede drawstring baggies everywhere they went. If you say “hey, what’s up?”, I’ll rant about how my job stresses me out because I’m doing this hot project and my manager needs the numbers like yesterday and I really really need some coffee would you please serve me a small light roast I mean dark roast to go wait for here.

What alerted me to this was a conversation with an old friend who was chatting with me about a thing she did and how tough it was. She was venting about the circumstance and seeking some consolation. What resulted was me blabbing about a similar story from my adolescence. I fell into the pattern of the coffeeshop conversation, where you can sit and chat for hours and nothing is really said; it’s more like synchronized monologues. But other people know better than that. She called me out. Said I should write down my stories somewhere. Sell them, make money. Our conversation ended shortly thereafter once I realized I’d insensitively hit her tilt switch, and we haven’t talked much since.

If you notice me doing this kind of thing, call me out on it. Let me know in no uncertain terms that my behavior is annoying. Sure, it’ll hurt like hell emotionally to learn this lesson at such a late stage in my life, but I’ll learn. Eventually, I’ll stop talking and return to being the sounding board everybody wants in their life.