Part of the reason for me doing new content every month was to force me to prepare two new tracks for serialisation. And I gave myself a headstart of… remixing everything I’d released so far, basically. But after next month that’s going to run out, and I don’t have a new album lined up yet.
I found myself explaining this to someone recently. How I started it earlier in the year, but when I came to look at the ideas I’ve been sitting on since my last album release (in 2013) I realised I’d just moved way past them. Many of the songs I had lined up were written over a decade ago, and… they’re fine. But I don’t have a record company pushing me – I am really doing it purely for the love of it. And I don’t want to do ‘fine’ anymore. I have a lot of new ideas, and they’re already taking shape, but I’m sort of rebuilding everything from the ground up. I feel I now have the chance to make the music in my head that I’ve always wanted to hear and that I feel no one else has quite managed to get close to. And I may not get that chance later, so I’m very focused on getting it done.
But still… months go by…
Why is it taking so long? It reminds me of that Elliott Smith line: ‘I’ve got a long way to go, and I’m getting further away.’
And, seeing as everything seems to come back to Tom Waits, there’s this now famous quote:
Q: Do you have words to live by?
A: Jim Jarmusch once told me “Fast, Cheap, and Good…pick two. If it’s fast and cheap it won’t be good. If it’s cheap and good it won’t be fast. If it’s fast and good it won’t be cheap.” Fast, cheap, and good…pick two words to live by.
Why is it taking so long? It’s taking so long because, basically, I can’t afford it. Or… I couldn’t afford it until recently. I’ve had to focus on paying the bills. Taking the time to record an album, even when you really enjoy it, is a big fucking deal. Particularly when you basically do everything yourself. (I occasionally get help from other musicians, but everything else from engineering to doing the artwork I do myself.) And although there’s just about nothing else in the world I enjoy doing more (excepting watching junk tv with H), it’s hard to justify that sort of commitment.
And the lack of new material has had a knock-on effect with my playing live. I’ve played the same stuff now for over 10 years, and whilst it’s not quite fair to say I’m sick of it… I am at least sick of having nothing new to offer.
So… when are those next two albums going to be done? And… are they going to be massively overthought and overworked when they arrive?
To the former, soon, but not soon enough. To the latter, no I don’t think so. Because I haven’t been spending all the time this year on specific songs or albums. I’ve been spending it on looking at my whole process of writing and recording music, which I’ve been doing now for nearly 30 years and I feel I know how to do it, but I intend to make sure that from here on I do it as well as I possibly can. So that’s why it’s been taking so long.
Also, y’know, there’s been a lot of great stuff on NetFlix…