Stuck in a Creative Hole for 3 Years

Alice in Wonderland: Rabbit Hole by cat-o-morphism

It’s been a long time. Probably about three years (or more) since I last produced a new Acid42 track. Chalk it up to several factors:

  • I got busy with the family. For around 10 months or so in 2013, I was jobless and taking care of the kids while searching for work. It’s quite hard to be creative when there is no free time to devote to my hobby. I know this is a weak excuse but I always feel guilty trying to sneak in time to make music. Actually, if I think about it, my last real release was 2012. Around the time when I was in-between jobs and taking care of my second child and my eldest son.
  • I was displaced. I had no place to set up my musical gear. At the time, our house was tiny, and I didn’t want to set up the keyboard at the main computer that everybody was using. In the first place, the keyboard would’ve eaten a lot of the desk area. In the second place, the kids tend to pounce on things they feel are toys. And a keyboard is a toy, plain and simple.
  • I got bored with my creative process. This was the real block. While the other two may have been surmountable, this last one felt like it was impossible to get past. I was basically falling into tried-and-true formulas for making my music. I was copying my own style ad infinitum. And I felt like I needed to try something new. Or learn some new tools. Yet I wasn’t able to devote any time to discovering that new process or to exploring new software.

But somehow things started to turn around this year.

For one thing, we moved into a new, bigger house this February — one which allows the kids to run around. And because there was so much stuff to move from our old house to this new one, the new garage ended up becoming a storage area. Our two cars are parked outside. This was my chance. I commandeered a corner and set up my old computer desk which was gathering dust in the old garage for the past 5 years. Then I started collecting stuff that other people wanted to throw away: my sister-in-law’s old CRT computer monitor, an office chair abandoned on the street one afternoon, a lamp and a side table left over from a garage sale that no one wanted. Computer parts.

For another thing, I was able to try other software. I began with demo of Bitwig, which proved to be cumbersome and did not allow me to go from idea to execution quickly enough. I tried to install Reaper, but found the interface too much like a 1990s-era tracker software. I was tempted to learn Ableton Live. But realized maybe I just needed to start studying my favored software, Propellerheads Reason, more deeply. Maybe all I needed to do was go under the hood (so to speak) and figure out new ways to use the tool that I already know how to most quickly work in. And so I did.

Perhaps the thing I most needed to inspire me however was listening to a folder of collaborations that I’d been sitting on forever. Tracks from other artists who had entrusted their files to me, waiting for me to create a remix. I went through them and found so much I wanted to do. And it got me going again.

So, thank you, new house. Thank you software. And most especially thank you to people like Demolee, Bleedingboy Soundtrack, Evo Evolver / Sparkee, and Fred Epps, for helping to bring me out of the creative hole I’ve been languishing in. Here’s to workshop garages and audio laboratories everywhere.

IMAGE CREDITS: Alice in Wonderland: Rabbit Hole by cat-o-morphism on Deviantart

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