Life: The Making Of…
This track started out as an inspiration taken from multiple different pieces of music. Firstly, I’ve always really liked the kick drums (and everything else) in the song “Transformer,” by Gnarls Barkley, off their St. Elsewhere album. The way the kicks are stuttered and just kind of slam you in the face- I love that. It’s almost like double bass (progressive metal, etc.), but in a completely different context. The bass being that busy gives the song a kind of frenetic, almost neurotic intensity that I really like, and of course really fits well with the content of the song.
The other influence was from a much less well known, but in my opinion equally as awesome artist that goes by the name of Clap! Clap!. In a similar but completely different way, the bass and drums on the song “Biafra” just blew my mind, and to be honest I sat down wanting to create something similar, but I knew that I would never be able to really reproduce that, and didn’t want to try to copy it, but rather just go with the idea of that song’s essence in my head and see what I could come up with. I wanted something that smacked you in the face, and where the bass drum was playing on way more notes than it should be.
Ironically, “Life" kind of took on a life of its own, and ended up being sort of hypnotic and drawn out, with only the first 3rd of the song really hitting hard like I had originally pictured. When I cut out all the noise after the "verse" and heard what happened, I decided then and there that it was going to go in more of a groove direction. At that point is was just- as it always is- about making the groove interesting. I really thought about Steve Reich and all the weird, minimal, phasing type of music that he has created when I was working on this part.
I wanted to make something drawn out and hypnotic, but not at all repetitive or “new age-y.” Once I got locked into that groove, I really didn’t feel that it needed to go anywhere else tonally, so I just tried to make it end with as much interest as I could. The result:
The production of dance music has picked up speed tremendously over the past few years, and musician Tristan Eckerson has decided to jump on the bandwagon with his aptly titled first solo EP release, Dance Craze. Although the release boasts only three tracks, he still manages to provide…
Stop Writing Articles about “The reason musicians fail”
I get really sick of all the articles online about “The reason musicians fail,” or “10 tips for quick success in the music industry.” All that crap. It’s being peddled by a bunch of people (often times amateur musicians, ironically) that are going to charge you a significant amount of money to tell you just exactly how you can become a big success in 6 weeks, or some other ridiculousness such as that. So when I saw a headline in my inbox this morning that said “The reason musicians fail,” I felt inclined to read the article and then go on a rant in the message boards.
Here is a link to the article in question:
And here is my response:
I am SO sick of seeing articles like this show up in my inbox. Because you know what’s the first thing you see, before you even read anything else? “The reason musicians fail.” Seriously? Why not, “The reason musicians succeed.”? It’s this kind of pessimistic “journalism” that creates such a ridiculous atmosphere in the music world, as well as for those looking in from the outside. And I know that the article has some uplifting advice (which is vague, no doubt because you need to pay for something more specific), but it’s the subtle (or not so subtle) inclination that writers have to start off with the issue of failure, and why it happens to so many “musicians.”
First of all, what are you defining as a musician? Any person that can proficiently play an instrument could technically (and rightly so) be considered a musician. But the majority of these people might not even want to pursue it as a professional career. And that’s the problem- when you say “The reason musicians fail,” you are encapsulating everyone from a Conservatory educated 1st Violinist, all the way down to a guy playing acoustic guitar in his bedroom, or a little girl doing recitals for her middle school. The entire concept of a respectable, hard working, and professional musician goes out the window. Being a professional musician is a lifelong pursuit. You need to learn the craft, learn the business, and work hard at it, just like in ANY OTHER INDUSTRY. So why is it in Music there is always the “quick and easy secrets to success,” or the “top reasons musicians fail.” There seems to be this gigantic misnomer that if you are the slightest bit talented and play a musical instrument, then you automatically are pursuing a career in music, and you should. The life of a professional musician is not for everyone, and I would say that it’s really not for the majority of “musicians.” I would also say that for the small portion of musicians who truly and seriously consider the pro and cons and decide that they ARE going to be a professional in the field, the numbers are probably surprisingly low when it comes to failure as compared to success. That is, a person that is completely dedicated to being a professional musician and understands what it entails is successful much more often (and I would even go as far as to say most of the time) than music journalists and bloggers give them credit for.
So where does all this talk about failure, and secrets to success, and quick tricks come into play? Why don’t we see this in every industry? Why is it just in music? I think that it comes from a completely separate industry that has been built up around ambitious and naive “musicians.” An “alter industry” that takes advantage of and exploits these young musicians naivety to make a profit. But what it really does is muddies up the waters with a lot of speculation, pessimism, and ridiculous expectations and rules that don’t actually exist. If you want to be a real PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN, you do what you do in every other PROFESSION. You practice, study, learn, and work towards perfecting your craft, and then you work hard, persevere, and work your way up the ladder of success. It’s the same in all industries, and in life.
There are many reasons that people fail, but why focus on them? What’s the point? Are med students constantly being subjected to articles about the “Top 10 reasons Med Students Fail”? Of course not, that would be absurd. It’s assumed (because it’s a RESPECTABLE PROFESSION) that if they work hard and graduate med school, and then continue to work hard in their field, they will be successful. So why is it soooo different in the music industry? Because you mix up people who are halfheartedly pursuing a career, replete with delusions of grandeur and dreams of rock stardom (amateurs), with musicians who spend eight hours a day for decades perfecting their craft, and then eight hours a day for decades more working their way into the industry (professionals). That’s the mistake that music journalists are making, and I would love to see the climate change to a more simultaneously positive and realistic one in the future.
All that “musicians” need to understand is that being a professional musician is a completely realistic and respectable profession, but that they need to really consider if it’s the right profession for them, they need to be completely committed to success in that profession, and that they need to work just as hard as doctors and lawyers do to be successful in the music industry. That’s it. If every aspiring musician had that and only that drilled into their head, I think we’d be a lot better off.