I make music out of time, and people seem to discover it out of time. So what kind of career does that make for?
Schedules: they govern my artistic and personal lives. I work backwards from desired dates – release, tour, write, draw, shoot, edit, post, sleep, whatever. It doesn’t usually work the way I’ve been told it should. Most notably: I’ve tried to do the “release the album, play the tour” thing, but it hasn’t seemed to work that way for me. It’s hard to tour off the back of an album people don’t yet know exists.
I make music out of time, and people seem to discover it out of time.
I make music to connect with people in a way I feel I can’t in everyday life – but, more days than not, the experience feels pretty insular. My writing process is solitary – it can feel like some secret, dirty habit; pubescent masturbation, hidden shamefully behind locked bedroom door, wracked with Orthodox guilt. And the airing of the results is less out of “mission accomplished!” pride than out of a dare to myself.
I’m never sure how personal the final songs sound to others (to my ears, they sound obscure at their most personal, and succinct at their least). And, perhaps, people who respond to the songs do so as privately as I create them. The catch with that is: I’ll never know.
The Sketches Project was, among many other things, my attempt to address this.
The Sketches Project was a call for real-time engagement. I opened up my process to the public, to liberate myself as much as to (hopefully) entertain or at least interest others. Since its end, it doesn’t feel like much has changed, and I’m still not really sure which, if any, of those things I achieved.
My recent Australian tour was, apart from being a real joy for myself and my Aussie band, an interesting case-in-point: the promoters who welcomed us back did so a full year after the Sketches album release tour, a year during which I hadn’t released anything new (not counting the Skratches remix series, which featured such great audience reworkings of Sketches tracks). Some specifically requested the Sketches live show from our previous Australian tour, 12 months earlier – which we were happy, if a little bemused, to oblige.
So for now, but possibly forever, the thing I do to connect with people seems to function in a more insular, suspended fashion. It’s not at all a bad thing inherently – just something I never cease having trouble adjusting to. And perhaps my “out of time” paradigm is the one that, in time, will prove to have been the best thing for me and this art o’ mine.
. . .