So I got into a discussion with Paul Bradley the other night about the how and why I do the things I do, both creatively and with the label, how I make decisions on what goes out and why, that sort of thing. And when I tried to explain it, I realised I had never tried to put it into words. I thought I would share this, what I said to him but expanded a little, to see what people think and what their methods are? Its really long. What can I say? Phoenix wont sleep in the day anymore which means all I can do is sit and watch him flop about and squeak lol.
Basically, when it comes to my music and career, I never have a real plan. Or if I do, I don’t know about it. Don’t worry – that will kind of make sense. But I never sit down and go “I will make this EP, then have so and so do that one, then put this out, and because of that, this will happen, and then I can do…”
I simply don’t work like that. In a way, I don’t really plan at all. I think maybe I subconsciously plan, or more like, I am always planning and…for me, its like every part of the business, from musical concept to final release, is a rubiks cube in my head, and I am constantly moving blocks around until I get a whole side in one color, and then I am like “Ok, yes, lets do that”. The aim isn’t to complete the cube and get all the sides right – that will happen anyway if I get each individual side sorted out. And the cube is never complete anyway, there are hundreds of cubes with thousands of sides and infinite colors.
The point is, I don’t really know what color it is I am looking for, and its not done with a purpose. I just move it all about until it becomes clear, and once everything is in place, I can see what color I was always going to be making, and see that it is now complete.
I do that with everything from tracks on an EP, to overall strategy. If I am making a tune, I will only have the vaguest of targets – I will be inspired by a beat or a sound or a tune from back in the day. I will wonder about what would happen if I did this with a vocal, or can I make a beat out of 14 other beats? Or how would this synth effect that sample? Basically, everything I do starts with the question “what would happen if?”
If I am making an EP, mine or one of my artists, I just wait until the right 4 tracks arrive. Sometimes, thats the first 4 I get from the artist, other times it can take ages because the tracks dont quite match in my head. And with overall business, will this EP be on KF? KFA? Knitebreed? KFD? Will it be a download? On a CD? A mixture of formats? Part of an album? All of these questions will just be there, not being answered, until the answers presents themselves in their own time.
Sometimes, someone else on the label will suggest a thing and it is the final piece of the puzzle. Other times, their suggestion is the first piece and it all goes from there. It all spins around, always changing until it works itself out.
But here is where it gets weird. Very often, once the color is complete, it will turn out there was a plan after all, I just didn’t know about it. Let me give you a concrete example. Currently, we release a KFA CD and a KFD CD together every 4-6 weeks. KFAs are Shane Saiyans department, and I leave that with him. KFDs are mine to organise. I use the KFD label for a few things: 1. Many of my artists write music WAY quicker than vinyl releases can cope with so its a nice way to release the music and 2. It allows vinyl artists a little more freedom as the vinyl market is maybe not yet ready for some of the things they make. But ages ago, I thought “It would be good to get a Luna-C release on KFD” so it is not only new artists or whatever, and also I like to do all the formats, all the music. Its the way I am built. But I did not plan on one, I barely have time for anything atm, it was just a thought, one square of the 9 on the face of one of the cubes, not yet connected to anything. One thought or idea amongst 100s of others.
Some of you may have noticed a post I made recently where I was making some slower, old skool hardcore. I am really pleased with how it has turned out, its really good and…its…not really right for KF vinyl. Its quite different to my usual style. It was the genesis of an EP that is unsuitable for Kniteforce or Knitebreed, but is some of my better work. Perfect for KFD. You know what my last release on KFD was? Wonko The Sane – 4 slower hardcore tunes. That was KFD12. The The new KFD is number 24 – KFD24 – and is slower hardcore. It was just released, and is Luna-C – “Wonko The Sane Vol.2!
Could I have planned the 12 and the 24? No. Is it just a coincidence? Maybe. But it seems to happen an awful lot with me, on both a small scale and a larger one, with individual elements in tracks and my career overall. Something that was in no way planned ends up being exactly the thing I need.
Which is why I said at the start – without planning, I seem to plan. I cant say how I know something is right, or ready, but I always know. Its like a little light goes off and I am like “there, its done, that is perfect!”
Like…I wanted to make some slower hardcore. There was no plan to do a Wonko the Sane 2, but here we are – perfect music for that EP at the perfect time for that EP.
I tend not to analyse it too hard…I feel like its something that functions well and needs to maintain its way of functioning without me prodding at it. If I mess with it, I might lose it. Or interfere with the process.
But I do manipulate it by doing things like…if I cant work out how something should be done, I do something else and I deliberately “not think” about it, to allow the subconscious to work it out for me. I constantly add little squares of color to the cubes, and then they just sit there…waiting…I know that sooner or later, another matching color will show up, and then another, and then suddenly, without warning, it is done and off we go.
lol I feel like a crazy person writing that. But still, its what I do and how I do it. Its not the best metaphor either, but there we are.
Right now, on various cubes, are two excellent jungle tunes that have been submitted to me. Both deserve a vinyl. But…how? I keep moving them around, not finding the right matching colors, and then deliberately not thinking about it while I wait. Will they be on the Jungly Pea 3? a brand new label? A relaunch of Influential? A Jungle EP on Kniteforce? Will they get split up? Will other tunes get added? When? How? I dont know. But I will. For now, they are just floating around, waiting for whatever it is they need to become a project. But when that project arrives, it will seem inevitable, like that was always what was going to happen lol.
Anyway, thats a long and boring post, but its a Sunday and theres not a lot else going on…and thats how I work, I thought you might be interested. If not, sorry to be boring you all lol!