Last June, at around the same time as my band Abscondo finally released our album (which all of us in the band absolutely love and I would recommend that anybody listen to), I quietly made the decision to put the band on hold. It is difficult to explain why I came to that decision because I absolutely loved what Filip, Martin, Tibor and I created.
If I were to try to explain why I made the decision to put the band on hold, it really came down to a couple of things: 1) We were playing English-language, alternative music in a small country where you really have to be a lot more commercial and mainstream to find an audience, 2) the financial burden of touring, recording, and keeping the whole thing running started to not make much sense to me, and 3) my creativity was suffering because I was spending most of my energy booking shows, dealing with logistics, and thinking about PR. Basically, it stopped being fun, it stopped being about art and music and more about image and ambition. I had a lot of fun with that band and we created something pretty great, but after 3 years it didn't feel good to me anymore and I had to follow my intuition.
In the months that followed, something beautiful happened. I started writing songs again. I started feeling that creative inspiration again. I re-discovered what it feels like to make music without ego, without ambition, without trying to be cool.
In December of last year, I put together whatever equipment I had and created a makeshift home studio in my flat. I wasn't confident that I had the skills to record, mix, and master an album entirely by myself...but I was having fun and wanted to try. Back when I was recording as band, I found the process too technical. It was all about perfection, editing everything until it was all in-time, tuning the vocals, making it sound radio-friendly...and my gut feeling is that this kind of process kills music. Most of the alternative and indie music these days is starting to sound the same as commercial music because everyone is striving to make something technically flawless. But I don't think music should be flawless. The music I love sort of just flows...it is natural...it captures the reality of a human being being human. So that's what I wanted to make -- something that sounds like how it really sounds when I play in a room by myself.
One of the things I did differently is that I recorded the vocal and acoustic guitar during the same take through two mics. Every day, as I would practice, I would record each song. I used a click-track for some songs, other songs are not even in perfect tempo. I did this for a month or two because I wanted to get really good at performing these songs. When I felt that I was playing these songs as well as I was ever going to play them, I then went back and selected the best take from all of the rehearsals. This live performance became the starting point for each song.
After that, I used a little midi keyboard and added some piano, some synth, and some string sounds. On two tracks, I used a professionally-recorded piano part that was done many years ago. For one song, I hired a drummer. Aside from this, you don't hear drums anywhere else in the album and you don't hear anybody playing anything except for me. The sounds you hear were created by me without any looping. All of the mixing, all of the effects, and even the mastering was done by me...so what you hear in the end is exactly what I, the songwriter, heard in my head when I first wrote the songs.
I love this album. It is finished and will be released very soon (as soon as I figure out the cover art). I will probably release it via Creative Commons because it didn't really cost me anything to make it and I want to share it freely.