On My New EP Again - and Retirement

My new EP Again is now out. And with that, I’m retiring.

It’s time to withdraw from writing and releasing music commercially for a while. An unforeseeable, but likely long, while.

Before I get into that, let’s talk about Again. I’m pretty proud of it, so indulge me in spitting out some hot fiery musings on it.

- Again was produced very differently than anything I’ve ever done. I’ve always layered a ton of vocals and guitars, but not on this. Beyond some doubling here and there, the vocals are sparse – yet in your face – and the guitars are basically myself on the left and Pontus on the right.

- Again is light on the editing. No auto-tune, little to no drum editing. Just great character-full performances. Part of this comes back to the layering above. When I layer six vocal tracks on top of each other, I have to tune/edit most of them so they match up for the desired effect. But no need for that here. The lack of layering removes the need to vocal-match, and vocal matching is overrated anyway. It’s just that the modern ear is very used to the sound, so it’s employed. Same with drums. Jeff played some solid grooves, why mess with those? (Tip: how to tell if your drum tracks are good? If you’re listening back and bobbing your head to the music, they’re good. Don’t fuck with them. If your producer still tried to force you to edit them, fire them.)

- I’ll write about each song separately at some point, but Again really is a nice summation of how I approach writing rock music. There’s a 3-chord song that sounds more complicated than it actually is (Guards), a complicated song that sounds simpler than it is which moves between 3 time signatures yet possesses a 2-chord chorus (Traveler), a shuffle-rock song based around guitar melodies (Second to Spare), and a song based around droning chords (Into the Crown).

- I wrote the songs, played my parts, and produced. But I didn’t mix or get too finicky with what the rest of the band played. Usually I’m slightly type A about recording. But the band on this record – Dan, Jeff, and Pontus – are pros who all excel at their instruments and music in general. I sat back and let them do their thing, and the songs are much better for it. Dan mixed it, and he did an amazing job. I’ve been in too many bands where the recording and writing processes were so limiting as to be almost offensive, and you start to wonder if they need a musician’s style and personality involved, or if they just need a generic idiot. And I’m an idiot, but I have style. I was worried I was doing that with my own music, so I backed the fuck off.

- The title literally came from me going through the planning of releasing music and thinking I have to do this shit again?

- We tracked vocals in a bathroom, drums in a modded rehearsal space, guitars and bass with home rigs.

So, back to retiring.

I create music to learn.

And I’m not learning any more – at least not in the way that I’ve been doing things. So I’m focusing on other things for now.

I don’t make meaningful money off of my music. That hasn't been the reason for any of this. My only impetus has been to keep making better music than I did before.

But, impetus aside, what keeps me going is the learning- and growing as a person. And I’m not doing either right now within music. I’m a bit jaded. So I’m shelving my commercial music writing and production until I feel I have something more to offer that doesn’t feel like I’m doing it just out of habit.

I’ll still play in my Queen tribute band, Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boys, because it’s just a hell of a lot of fun. And I’m learning. And probably some of those learnings will eventually seep in if I step back into making music.

But that’s a big if. I honestly don’t know if I will. I don’t know if I’ll record, and release any more records. It's not interesting to me any more and it depresses me. I don’t mean that metaphorically or as a statement on the state of the music industry or the plight of the independent artist.

I mean, releasing music actually depresses me. While creating is - usually- a joy, releasing an album just exacerbates depression. And that’s not something I need more of right now. Perhaps I’ll elaborate on this another time. Perhaps I won’t.

So enjoy Again. Or don’t. But it’s quite good, so if you dig it – drop me a line and let me know.

And, yes, that's a buy link down below. Because I'm not an idiot.