I was listening to an interview with St. Vincent recently. The interviewer brought up the issue of performing older material on stage. St. Vincent said that there are certain songs from her early days that she no longer performs because she no longer had the emotional connection them in the way that she did when she wrote them. One of the regulars on the podcast (The Nerdist) said that he had a musician friend who had the same problem but because one of those songs that he wrote was so popular, he then turned it into having the meaning of the excitement the audience feels when he plays that song. Both views of the issue are valid. However, the latter one only applies if those songs are well-known and popular.
Not being a well-known musician myself I lean towards the other viewpoint. It hit me when she said that, as for years I’ve had a lot of older songs haunting me. I always had the feeling that I had a lot of unfinished material and if I ever sat down with it I would make it great. I also had a lot of songs that were more or less finished that I would like to re-record some day. But I never got around to it. Whenever I have worked on music in the last few years it was new and also better than anything else I had done before. At this point I need to more or less “retire” these songs. I no longer have any desire to re-record, work on, or perform any material that I had before the first Popkin-Salvador release. I belive that would mean anything from before 2001.
So what do I do with the recordings I have of these songs? Why, put them online, of course. Seeing as otherwise they might not see the light of day I intend on taking some of the old recordings and put them up for free on my Soundcloud site. I have the means to record and possibly remaster some of my old tapes onto a computer which I can then upload them. I already have some digital copies of certain recordings, although I’m not sure if I want to use those yet or if I want to try to remaster them again. I used a noise reduction feature that came with the software that I used to eliminate a lot of the hissing sound on the tapes, but it didn’t so much eliminate the hiss as much as turned it into a sort of hum in the background while everything else sounded slightly tinny. It worked to make the recording less annoying but I’m not so sure if I want that. There might be more of a charm in the lo-fi recording of the karaoke machine that I used. Not everything was recorded that way but those two “demos” were.
I’m sorry to announce this before I put any of the stuff online but the overall topic here isn’t so much the announcement of what I’m going to do but rather the idea that I’m going to let go. Should any of the songs prove to be popular enough I may reconsider but I doubt it. In most cases I just don’t care anymore. But the songs are there bothering me and I need to get them out of my head so I can work on newer stuff. I have no shame when it comes to re-using some of those older ideas in newer songs. That’s probably going to be about as far as I go. By the way, if anybody has any tips for recording cassette tapes to a computer and what equipment might help, let me know. I’m pretty sure i have enough equipment (especially as one of the items has to be a four-track tape recorder because that’s what some of the stuff is on) but I’m willing to take any suggestions.
I’ve been going through this process a lot in recent years. I’ve been dumping some of my older writing online for free. I had a yard sale not to long ago which I got rid of a lot of stuff that was just cluttering up my apartment. Now I have to get rid of the musical clutter in my head.
Now I’m back to only three behind. Tomorrow I’m going to break routine because I messed today up and need to get caught up with some chores and other things. Perhaps I’ll write a few extra blog posts then.