“…..Every year is getting shorter/Never seem to find the time/Plans that either come to nought/Or half a page of scribbled lines…”
© Mason/Waters/Wright/Gilmour, 1973
As the title says, it has been a while since my last update. Nearly six months in fact.
Like I mentioned in my previous blogpost, I had to return to the day-job at the end of September 2015 and it has pretty much taken most of my waking moments between now and then. Its no different, I guess to what millions of other writers and artists have to do and is the way of the world these days. Much as corporate IT life may dominate my time, not leaving much at all for anything creative, I also know that I’m lucky to have that to fall back on.
What this has meant is that I haven’t done much in the way of songwriting since Monnow Valley, but the events of the first couple of months of 2016 have focused my mind on this calling that I have and reinforced the lesson of if I don’t make it happen, no one else will, which I learned when reaching out to my late father after a void of nearly 40 years.
The loss of David Bowie, Colin Vearncombe and Glenn Frey in the space of a month, each one so unexpected and each one a song writer that has left a mark on me, has reminded me in the sharpest of ways that we all only have a finite time on this earth and a fleeting chance to create something by which we can be remembered after we’re gone. These three writers have touched generations and will continue to do so for many years to come. A lot of us aspire to such dizzy heights but never get there through a combination of circumstances – luck, money, right place right time and good old fashioned hard work. And, as someone mentioned not long afterwards, these heroes are moving on to another realm, they are making space in this realm for others to move into. While it might be an oblique, maybe even semi-spiritual way of looking at it, its not lost on me that their memories not only live on in their own works, but also in the works of those they have inspired along the way.
While I’m grateful to the IT industry for keeping a roof over my head, its not something that I’m going to be remembered for and, as the old joke goes, no one ever went to their grave wishing they’d spent more time at the office. The office was there long before me and it’ll be there long afterwards. Its just a means to an end, as I am to it. A good friend of mine from the Music Producers Guild told me in 2014 that the point has to come where you have to stop talking about it and do it, make it happen, take the leap. And, given the places he has been, the things he has seen and done in his career over half a lifetime, for him to take the time out to give me – a complete amateur – that advice is something has gnawed away at me for a while. I’m determined not to waste it.
So, what I decided in mid to late January was that once this latest professional obligation is over, I will be taking a minimum of three months out to embark on a three album project. The project will be to record the majority of the tracks that I have shared on this site, recording and mastering them properly, to commercial release standard. I think it will take the best part of 90 days to achieve this, as there are 26 tracks to do, including all instrumentation, production and mastering, including the vocals, which in all reality, I can not expect anyone else to do.
Whether I will commercially release any of the tracks or the albums themselves, is another matter altogether. It is primarily a personal thing that I have to do while I have the chance and I am never going to get a better opportunity to do it. I will have the time, the technology and the means at my disposal. To not do it, would be a dereliction and would mean that I have truly inherited my fathers procrastination gene, which I have to try and resist.
The project, outside of AlterZero, is for now going under the working artist name of KOAS – Keeper Of A Secret – more about that some other time – and there are a number of album titles under consideration, and as those of you who are writers will no doubt know, a lot of good ideas for project names or album titles have been used already by others. Those I will keep under my hat for the time being, but the plan is to have three albums worth of material, all thematically matched. Some tracks are part done already, others still need music, some are almost lyrically complete but still need some work.
Once the albums are completed and mastered, I am hoping to have a limited physical product run of CD’s in addition to the digital product. To that end, I have been looking at suitable artwork and the use of Photoshop and other tools to produce the finished products. Whether I will choose to sell these CD’s independently, or whether I choose to just have them as a physical memento of this journey, I havent decided yet.
All of this will take time and is dependent on my leaving date from the corporate IT world for a 90 day spell. But it will happen; it is a personal mission to accomplish and I will make it happen. I hope to have the project concluded by September, all things being equal. There is a lot to do and it will mean a lot of hard work and a lot of living outside of my comfort zone.
And what happens after that? I have no idea. Is it likely to be the start of a different career? Is it going to be back to my ordinary profession after that? Is it going to be the closing of a 25 year chapter? Search me. Its a doorway I must walk through, a fork in life’s road I have to take. I’ve been confining myself in the hallway betweeen doors long enough waiting and this year is time to take that step.
In other news, I have submitted a piece of writing for a book that has been in gestation for a while and is likely to be published in early 2017. I got the call about it just before Christmas 2015 and had to have the final piece ready for New Years Day 2016, so it was the first time I’d written anything like this to a deadline, which was challenging, especially with the word-count limits that were set. As these blogposts have revealed, I can be quite loquacious when the mood takes me (which is quite often) and I’ve had to learn to curb that. Thankfully, that doesnt apply on here. I can be as wordy as I like and verbosity comes easy. But, for a change, I digress.
I’ve been privately assured that it is highly likely that my contribution will make the final cut and the fact that the person who the book is about already knows about the project and will get to find out how their music has touched my life and those of others is, with words from my own heart and hands, is an enormous, deeply treasured personal milestone. For that reason, I will keep the name of the project quiet for now until the publishers name a release date. But its incredibly exciting and gratifying, that is for sure. Not just for my words to be remembered in published print, but also for Annette’s memory to live on too. And that is really precious.
I’ll keep you all in the picture when the project really kicks off.
Thanks for your continued belief and support. Hopefully, the next gap will not be six months away into the future.