Monday, June 3, 2024

Why I'm making an album

I've been writing music since I started playing music. It's a key part of my identity as a musican that I write, record, and share music on a regular basis. For years, my creativity has been poured into my YouTube channel, and for a while I uploaded a song every week. I used to frequently have a queue of videos ready to go for months in advance. Recently, however, I've slowed down. Eventually that long queue of videos ran out, and my uploads dropped in frequency. I just haven't had the drive to write new music lately. But that doesn't mean I don't have a drive to create and a drive to make music. So, I decided it was time to distill my years of composition into an album. Here's why. 

Albums are important to me. If you've read my blog for a long time, you may remember my series of album reviews where I discussed how some of my favorite albums impacted me. Ever since I became interested in music, I have thought of albums as one of the pillars of musical expression. I love albums as a medium. I love how an album is both a collection of individual songs and a single work of long form art. Nearly every album tells some kind of story, and I love looking for that story even if it's just an indistinct feeling. Albums are an important part of music as an art form, and especially in the genres of music that I love. So it was only a matter of time before I took a crack at making an album again. 

This isn't exactly my first album rodeo. Way back in 2014, when I had only played guitar for about a year and some change, I wrote and recorded an album with some help from my friends. And in 2019, I wrote and recorded instrumentals for an album that was a collaborative project with one of those same friends. That album was never completed, but a handful of songs have seen the light of day. Those two albums were five years apart, and another five years has passed now. I guess that's just my album making cycle. 

For a while now, I've held on to the incorrect impression that if I were to create an album, I'd need to write an album's worth of new material. I found that prospect to be very intimidating, so it took until I realized it wasn't true for me to start making real progress on a 2024 album. At some point in the last month, I realized that I already had a back catalogue of songs I'd written for YouTube that would be perfect for an album. What if I just picked the best ten or so songs from my YouTube channel and recorded them the best way I knew how? That became the vision for this album. 

Almost all of the songs on the album have been heard on my YouTube channel before, but not all. Every song has been completely re-recorded, though. There are also new songs, completely new arrangements of songs, and one song so old it predates my YouTube channel entirely. This album features tracks written in 2014, 2018, 2019, and each year from 2021 to 2024. There are a couple of tracks that were made specifically for this album and have not yet appeared on YouTube, and a couple of songs so completely reimagined that they bear little resemblance to their original versions. 

I've written a lot of music that I like, but just uploading those songs to YouTube isn't really enough. I want to put the best music I've written since 2014 on an album. I want to do something bigger with these songs, and I want to have something to represent me that I can be proud of for years to come. I've already written music that I'm proud of, some of which I've been lucky enough to perform live. Now it's time to make a collection of recordings at the highest level I know how. It's an opportunity to push my limits and discover what I'm capable of. And it has also been five years. 

Right now, I'm nearly done laying down tracks. Mixing the record is about to begin, and I'm going to be extra thoughtful about this release process. I haven't settled on a name for the album yet, but I've got one that I'm probably going to use: Radio Rachel, coming July 2024. 

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