The past few months I have been periodically getting together with a few other musicians. We sit down to brunch, talk about life and the music industry, then set up microphones and record a song together. Sometimes it’s a cover song, sometimes just a jam we come up with on the spot. Usually, at least one person is playing an instrument they’ve never played before. We don’t expect the recordings to be great, and most of them will probably never see the light of day. The benefit is much more than a sparkly finished product. It’s a fun, relaxed way to learn, practice, and experiment.
This is a shift for all of us: usually the main reason to record something is for the end goal of sharing it with an audience as a polished, finished product. But this is not our goal, which is why I think it works so well. There’s something to be said about doing things unconventionally. Taking away the pressure of perfection opens the door to experimentation that may never be discovered otherwise.
I think this is where my streak of unconventionalism stems from (you may or may not have noticed its existence). In some ways, I’m indebted to my early involvement with punk music – where an unconventional and anti-establishment ethos became the foundation of that movement. I learned a small lesson in those days, and it still serves me well: You don’t have to do something just because someone is expecting it of you, or because everyone else is doing it. March to the beat of your own drum. I still hear that drumbeat in the distance, and I’ll keep trying to follow it as best I can.