Monday, April 30

The gift and curse of being prolific

I've been meaning to write this post for a while.  As an artist, I'm in a very fortunate position.  I rarely run out of ideas, I hardly ever suffer from writer's block, I'm able to keep my quality high and also the quantity fairly high too.  I say fairly high, because I don't write as much as everyone seems to think.  The negativity regarding this issue is there will always be haters saying things like 'you need to slow down', or 'there's too much music', or other things that I tend to disagree with.

The fact of the matter is when I look at this argument from the other side, i.e that of a consumer,  I can't see how there can be too much music.  If I take, for example, FSOL - one of my fave electronic artists of all time.  I want as much stuff as I can find by them and I tend to keep up to date on all things they do.  Sandwell District are another act these days that I follow like a hawk.  The only downside to this, is if you have a certain amount of disposable income set aside for music.

Now the other thing that people don't seem to get is that I do this for a living.  I treat this like a job, because it IS my job.  Therefore, I am writing music from 9-5, or whatever the equivalent is due to my messed up sleep cycles!  Anyway, what I'm saying is, that's 8 hrs a day I'm writing music, because for this to be successful for me, there is no other way to treat it.  You have to have a routine.  You have to be driven and focused on your goals, otherwise it's a hobby that might see you putting out a few records and getting a few quid here and there.  If that's your thing, then that is perfectly fine.  It's not mine though.

I know a lot of artists that are equally as prolific, if not more.  The difference is, they are writing for the main reason of having exclusive material to play week-in, week-out, and then thinking about releases later on.  The DJ work is their income and they get that work because they are able to offer music that no one else can.  So on the flip of that, because I've never really seen myself as a DJ, in the sense of touring religiously, playing out every weekend etc, the goal for me is to release my work to the public and get paid for doing so.  That is the gratification for me, the end game if you like.  

Another thing to take into consideration is a label hardly ever signs something and releases it straight away, especially an album.  There is ALWAYS a backlog and more than likely delays to go with that too.  Decayed Society came out pretty quick, because I had full control over that, but something like The Light That Burns Twice as Bright took a full year to come out, and was written before that even, but because the space between that and the next one was something like four or five months, I obviously must have been writing them nonstop and never left the house right? Wrong.  Even if that was the case, is there anything wrong with that?

So yeah, bottom line is I work with a group of labels that I trust and they all rate my work and want to release a lot of it since they all feel the quality is there.  I also run my own label, which I write a specific style of music for too.  Add to that work I do in other areas (TV, commercial, licensing etc.), then you can see how it all works.  I hope this explains a few things, and people aren't so keen to say dumb things, but this is the age of the internet and everyone feels the need to say whatever they want.  Sadly, the negative tends to outweigh the positive. 

Dedicating this post to bvdub ;)


Unknown said...

Hah nice dedication there at the end. I couldn't help but think of Brock as well as I was reading your post. I think I speak for most fans in saying I appreciate/respect that you maintain such a high quality of work while being so prolific with your creations. It is a win/win for the consumer. Can't figure out why anyone would consider that a negative.

Allen said...

Keep it up! I'll keep buying and listening.

Everyday Junglist said...

great post. tbh think the only problem when it comes to being prolific is if the tunes are dull clones of each other *cough* S.P.Y *cough*. as a consumer you just feel like you are being ripped off with generic bullshit and its just not worth the money. luckily for us your tunes always sound that little bit different to what has come before (as well as the fact you write at so many tempos/in so many genres) so its always interesting and fresh. the more music the better! big up asc!

Nick Wilkinson said...

To be honest as long as the quality stays the same then thats all that matters, who cares! To have the level of consistency that your labels put out be it yours or others work is astounding. Its all high quality and long may it continue. I buy a looooot of new music and honestly think the Symbol Series is setting the standard as some of the finest electronic music of today. As a fan I cant wait to hear what is coming up next which is usually close on the horizon. Keep it up I say and I expect everyone else will keep up with you, even if they moan about it for no reason!

ike_release said...

Great read! much respect to you ASC for posting -ike

unwound floors said...

thank you for doing what you do!

Maxouzzz said...

I just want to understand where these initial complains come from ? From this blog ? Anyway, I don't want to give lessons but just do what you want to do and don't care what others think. Too be honest I don't have the impression you are doing too much as your work is going in many directions and the quality is always there and we like you for that. I must admit I would not say the same for BVDUB but this is cerntainly not the right place. Hope you back is getting better ! Max

djemptyx said...

the behind-the-scenes conversation that could have triggered the need to post such a thorough explanation do not add up to much in the way of logic. life is simply too short to complain about things this trivial.

do what you will. if it's good i buy it. if it's not good maybe i don't buy. and sometimes i still buy something from the artist simply in support/thanks for all of my previous and future favourites.

Norman Neubauer said...

The difference between what you do and what many other prolific artists do is that you output music in a range of genres/tempos. It's clear that you have a broad musical taste and it's always interesting to hear you fuse what 'inspires' you with your own particular style. I can understand that people have an issue with an artist prolifically pushing out music when it sounds like they're not putting much effort into it, but that's certainly not a criticism that can be levelled out you. Keep it up, and look forward to hearing more :)

IntraSight said...

I suppose that viewpoints and feelings are different for the artist and the 'consumer' and because of that, there are distinctly different feelings for both.

I agree with Everyday Junglist on this one - as a listener, it can sometimes seem that you are trying to be... almost tricked into giving your money up for something unoriginal. Also in agreement however, is that you don't have to worry about this as an artist yourself as whenever I pick up one of your tracks, they rarely seem rushed, bland or a money-spinner. I believe (as someone somewhat creative myself) that if you have constant creativity, then why not allow it to flow out of you? There should be no reason to bottle it up and keep it inside. Admittedly, producing and creating hard copies of that creativity is a different ballgame, it requires a certain degree of refining, but that said, I saw They Live's 'Cancel Standard' as a set of sketches laid out in musical form, and that came across as a huge success.

This actually brings me on to another point - a lot of people will crucify artists if they bring out two tracks that even sound roughly the same, but i'm not sure this is fair. For me, artists serve a few functions - they either create a sense of themselves or their emotions in their tracks, almost giving a piece of themselves over to you to delve into - almost a form of communication without words - or they seek to create a separate landscape or feeling for the listener to take part in... perhaps both. However, my point is that artists will always have their own personal identity within music making, as when they create their worlds or feelings, it has to come through them. Enevitably ending with them leaving their musical fingerprint. I can often call out when I hear an ASC track in a mix or whatever, whether it be atmospheric, 130 or 170, because it sounds like you. It has your identity, almost like a certain brushstroke, a style of directing or a lingual "accent". Many would call this as a bad thing, that you might be uncapable of variation or diverse music creation, but I disagree as it allows you to better get to know the person and seek the depth in their music. There is also nothing to say that a personality can't change.
You can hear and feel the work that goes into your tracks, the personalty that comes through.

All in all, I believe you are on a more than correct path. Besides, it should be down to you to produce how and what you feel is right at the time, not for us to take creative control over your own personal expression.

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