In no other profession is there seemingly so much energy and output compacted into such a tiny project. For all the blood, sweat and tears that go into making an album, the typical 30-50 minutes of finished material hardly represents the hours, weeks and sometimes years that go into the project.
This morning, we listened to some semi-finalized mixes from our album. This process is always equally one part satisfying, one part terrifying and one part strange. The Tyrannosaurus guitar sounds and mammoth drum beats squeezed into a little file, that goes into a little black machine, through a cable and out speakers. Six people’s thoughts, feelings and emotions, (in this case) documented over a year long period, is now tied up in a pretty 42 minute bow. Albums are funny because they’re snapshots. Sometimes they’re family photos, everyone lined up in perfect order, complacent smiles and clean outfits. But sometimes you catch the family in a fight, hair’s being pulled, their sweaters are stained and the kids are crying. A record is only a sampler of what a band can produce. And like language, it’s inherently limiting. Like trying to pour your heart out into a postcard-sized letter.
There has to come a point where you tell yourself that it’ s done. Otherwise edits, changes, additions and subtractions can go on forever. I’ll miss the time in which the record was made. When you’re in the process of making one, it’s the catalyst for everything (“that idea will go on the record” “we’ll tour when the record comes out” “We have to find a great artist for the album art”) and I’m sure I’ll miss the ever-present push to get stuff done for the release date. But as the date approaches, it becomes more of a burden, picking apart every last microscopic detail, until you’re splitting sand. That’s something I won’t miss for sure.
So as soon as I can come to terms with the finite-ness of the mixes, I have to come to terms with now releasing this record into the world. Whether the ‘drop’ of the record reverberates on a micro-scale, or to Grand Canyon echo-type proportions, you can never know. But at least I know I can go from what I’m sure this guy feels like sometimes, to having a much wider and less ‘tunnel vision’ view of our work.
That is until the next record….
Adam Nanji and Katrina Jones are part of the Vancouver-based indie rock band, The Belle Game. Together, they will provide a bi-weekly column showing their perspective on all things music.