Occasionally, while looking for something on my hard drive or in a closet or in a pile of old tapes, I will run across something I recorded a long time ago and be pleasantly surprised. This happened to me yesterday, and I thought I would share it with you all.
When I’m working on a song I tend to listen to it obsessively (like most composers, I imagine). I listen over and over, partially as a way to figure out how to make the song better, but also because it helps me understand myself. Even when a song is totally finished I like to listen to it nearly every day for a month or so…the birthing process of the song is still fresh in my head, so I feel a special connection to the sounds coming out of the speakers – I can still remember recording that guitar track, or programming that drum beat, and I can still remember everything I did to produce and mix the song.
There’s a certain point, though, where that new song will get pushed off to one side and forgotten, stuck in a folder or on a CD and filed away. Usually by that time I’ve decided that I don’t like the song after all, that what I’m working on now is way cooler and better and this one will take me to the top.
And then, as I already explained, I will rediscover it. I’m usually disappointed that it’s not as good as I remember it being, but sometimes I end up thoroughly enjoying it…most often it’s the songs that I paid the least attention to at the time that age the best! This one is a perfect example. I don’t really remember recording it at all…I don’t know if that’s me playing the piano, or if it’s something I sampled. I vaguely remember calling it “Street Robots” because it contained samples of a street band in Avignon as well as a robot fighting club I went to in Pittsburgh. The “file info” tells me that I started this song on June 29 2003 and finished it on August 2nd 2003 at 4:25 am. That means I wrote it in Avignon, in the little studio apartment I was renting for $200 a month in an 18th century mansion in the middle of the old town. What was I doing up at 4:25 am?
I guess I was writing weird dark electronic music, that’s what! It’s funny to hear something that I have a hard time believing I wrote. It’s like looking at an old photograph and not recognizing yourself.