Before going into the studio on Saturday, Emily and I came together with the list of songs we wanted to record, we logged the time signatures and BPMs and practiced the list with our instruments and metronomes in preparation. As much as I was looking forward to getting to recording day, I know that recording music in a studio is not my strength and makes me want to crawl into a hole.
There is a happy ending. The happy ending is that we worked really hard and finished what we set out to do which was record guitar and scratch vocals for 22 songs in 6 hours. But, if you don't mind, I'm going to tell you how I felt before the happy ending.
Recording music isn't fun because it takes out the human connection and storytelling of songwriting and music and replaces it with clicks and bars of eight and microphones in a sad little room. And then they press "record" and your heart dies a little every time you have to stop and start over. And in between takes you're looking at your watch thinking, "You are wasting time and money. Time and money. Time and money. " And then you think to yourself, "If you can't get a clean take in the next 15 minutes then this song isn't going on the album. You suck."
And here's the thing: recording is fine. It's a normal thing that musicians do. But, for me, it's a place where all my insecurities and vulnerabilities get up and start stretching their legs, walking around the room and seeing how bad they can truly make me feel. And so the struggle is trying to get work done while my brain is trying to push me off a cliff.
Grown ups don't like feeling weak and stupid and small, but I will argue that it's really good to feel all those things if you want to try and get better at something. And I'm a grown up. I should be able to do this work without a pep talk or help. So, for me, recording is listening to the click, thinking about the words, remembering where I am in the song, messing up, dying inside, wanting to leave, but forcing myself to stay and trying to take calming breaths in between the takes and pray I can just get through the song. That's what it feels like.
And then I do the vocals and I think , "You wasted so much time on the guitar that the very least you can do is sing these songs and fast as humanly possible (to the click) so you don't drag this out any longer than it has to be." I wish I could say this is an exaggeration.
Now I know. I had the drive home to reflect on the day. It might seem weird, but I am thankful for the day and what we accomplished. The hardest part is done (hopefully).
I've been wanting to do a solo album for over a year now, but maybe not. Unless I get into some intense therapy and perhaps start taking street drugs to improve my self-esteem.
Live music is better. I've been able to quiet those voices that tell me to get off the stage long enough for me to do the show. I know I just have to work more in the studio in order to get comfortable there. Maybe one day I'll feel like I have a right to be there. For now, it's super hard. But good. I pulled it off as best as I could by the grace of God, methinks.