I’ve Made Shitty Music and I’m Okay With It.
The other day I found Ableton project files from an old computer and was excited to go through them. I thought the beats I made and songs I wrote were going to being amazing hidden treasures that I would finally put out. As I started opening up the projects and listening back, my heart began to sink. There was no way they would see the light of day.
The songs were terrible. The line that kept on running through my head was “What the hell was I thinking?” It’s like I found old photos of myself wearing ridiculous clothes and sporting a hair do I wouldn’t be caught dead with today because I thought I was cool back then.
As I went through each dreadful track I started to get worried about the current music I’m making. If I thought these old songs were cool at the time I was making them and I dislike them now, what does that say about my current work? Before I jumped into a downward spiral of self doubt, I started laughing at how ridiculous these beats my past over-excited, trying too hard to be experimental self had made. Looking at the situation as comical put my realization about how “terrible” my past creations are into a positive perspective.
Here is what I learned:
A lot of music I make will be duds and I need to let go. As cringe worthy as it was to listen to my old ideas, it was important that I came to terms with letting them go. When I first start recording an idea I feel like it’s a precious offspring that I need to raise and care for until the bitter end. Now, I understand that some ideas are just not worth my time. If I continue to work on something I don’t think is good just for the sake of it, I run the risk of making something contrived. Being able to distinguish between what I should spend my time on and what I shouldn’t is an important practice to nurture my growth.
Experimenting, even if it sounds like shit, is necessary. I had to experiment and record try-hard ideas. I think it’s better to initially experiment and go too far than to settle into old habits right away. This gives me a place to pull back from. What I do presently is record as many layers as I can think of and pull back or delete the unnecessary ones later in the song writing process.
I’ve grown and matured as a musician. It’s good that I wasn’t happy with these old files. It shows me that I haven’t stayed stagnant in my musical growth. Characteristics of my writing that I was okay with back then aren’t working now because I have a better understanding of what I want to express and how I want to express it.
I’m happy I looked over my old work. I have a better understanding of my growth and what direction I want to head in with my present/future work. I’m also a little closer to accepting my imperfections. Something I’m working on in both music and life.
Peace and love,
Originally published at negativedeathblog.tumblr.com.