Literally What Am I Doing

aka Literally What Is Happening Here

I have a tendency to start projects on a whim and plow ahead and then if there comes a time when other people want or need to take a look and see how it’s going, I look around at what I’ve done and realize it makes no earthly sense to anyone but me. And generally I feel fine about this, but in the interest of personal growth I’m trying something different, aka explaining what I’m doing.

So: I’m making a weekly podcast where I release a new weird little song every week, but neither the podcast nor the song is really the point. Essentially this is all just a giant mental health trick to keep my brain motivated & focused.

So the “main” “goals” are:

  • Learn more about music production (i.e. be able to understand why things sound certain ways; try to train my ear to discern why two similar sounds are different, etc)
  • Get better at music production tools & pipelines (esp Garageband & Audacity)
  • Make thing/s

But the overarching supergoals behind the goals would be:

  • Build a maintainable, repeatable framework for making things
  • Constrain my creativity in some way to ensure something measurable actually happens
  • Something something mental health
  • Over time have developed some corpus of work that can be used for something else (e.g. collect the most successful songs into an album)

So the core problems were a combination of wanting to get better at making music, being frustrated I didn’t understand the tools better, and also recognizing that like any creative project, without some kind of external constraint I’ll just keep tinkering away forever and never be done with anything. (See ~40 half finished ideas in Garageband as we speak, some of which have frankly been 99% done for months, but they just sit there because what if.)

And I was curious how podcasts worked, and about the differences between editing speaking vs singing, and I just wanted to get better at editing sound files generally, so it all sort of came together. Thus: I have one week to write a song, record it, mix & edit it, and turn it into a podcast. The podcast itself is just an artifact – this process does not result in a “good podcast”, but it does offer me things like accountability, a framework for tracking progress over time, a surprisingly easy way to listen back to mp3s on my phone, etc.

In fact there are a variety of (interesting!) reasons why this process specifically results in a very bad podcast, but that will be a whole other post.

And the songs themselves, I mean I find them interesting but they are definitely demos more than radio-ready singles. The point of them is to be able to learn from what I hear, uncover what I don’t know, and be able to track my progress over time. (Examples: Week 1 was a huge learning curve about the podcast rss ecosystem. I didn’t understand how little I knew about loudness balancing until, like, Week 3.)

So that’s like that. There are my songs, this is my podcast, but most important this is my process.