I’m one week from going to the studio. Yay!
For the past few weeks, I’ve been going over all of the songs that we’re going to be working on. I’ve been listening to them tirelessly, adding little things here, changing sounds, polishing lyrics and editing like there’s no tomorrow.
I’m a big fan of clarity and simplicity, and still, there has been so much that I can just take out. Cutting things out hurts at first, but it makes everything so much better. What remains is the essence. All of the ideas are there, but they are served in just the right amounts; a pinch here, a sprinkle there.
I’m also a week away from my stand-up comedy debut. I’ve been practising the same art of editing with my comedy material. Initially, I wrote several thousand words, which I’ve now edited down to the required 5 minutes, which is less than a thousand words. Stuff that is sort of funny is gone. The long introductions - gone. The longish background stories - gone. What remains are only the things that matter to the story and now I’m starting to feel that my five minutes are almost funny!
Mark Twain is quoted to have said: “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead”. And he’s so right. Being short and to the point takes effort. The art of brevity is a tough one.
I love songs that are not trying too hard. I admire artists that feel effortless. I enjoy songs that capture me straight away.
With this album, I’ve really wanted to master simplicity and clarity without being boring and lame. It takes skill to know the difference. I'm working hard to learn that skill.
Effortlessness comes from knowing the delicate balance between simplicity and effort. When I try too hard, I become self-conscious or I reach a point when it all stops being fun.
Yet being too simple is just lazy and results in mediocre stuff. How to find the right balance?
I believe that working from a large pool of ideas, and editing, editing, editing, ruthlessly killing your darlings, is the answer.
That’s what I’ve been doing and it’s all starting to sound pretty good now...
Sending my greetings from the dark depths of the editing suite,