Lenny Lee wrote: twilightsong wrote:
I used to (not that long ago actually) be a proponent of the "you must try to sound current" mantra, but I've turned about 180 degrees on that one... I think you should do the music that you like/love; if that's current or cutting edge, great; but if it's retro or old school, equally great.
The Roland rep in my area was in a Hair Metal band back in the day and they actually got signed... while they were in the studio recording their first album, the label unceremoniously dropped them -- because Nirvana's record had just reached number one. My point is, the guy to this day writes and records the same Pop Metal he was doing in the late 80's, and loves it. I can't think of anybody that's emulating Nirvana these days.
I have often tried to sound "current" but invariably my tunes end up sounding very 90's-ish. It even seems that lately some decidedly 80's tunes are coming off my pen. It wasn't intentional -- just came naturally, You know, like the BEST music, of any era.
Doug, apparently you(and others who've commented on what I said re: 'dated') completely misunderstood what I said. I said nothing about being 'current' . We're all a product of our times, and I'd never suggest that any writer
tailor his style to fit any trend. We should all play whatever we feel, without regard for what anyone elses preference is.
My comment to Steve, first of all, was a suggestion, and it was regarding a production technique - not about his writing. I simply suggested that he may not need to record 15 tracks to make a 3 part harmony sound 'big', and I put up an example of how it can be done with less.
-Those- are the types of things from the 80's that I usually try to avoid - not the music - but the overkill on the tracking, everything awash in reverb - especially the snares, which tended to be cavernous. It was pretty cool back then, but it's not a sound I go after anymore, and certainly not because I want to get signed. Ha! I don't dream about getting signed anymore, because I'd never want someone else sticking their nose into my creative process.
Well, you misunderstand if you think I misunderstood what you were saying -- understand?!?
In any case, if you state that something sounds "dated" doesn't it logically follow that you prefer something more "current?" I ax you, sir. Also, production techniques can be just as much a reflection a particular era as writing styles -- if you're cool with using older or even passe writing styles, why not the same perspective regarding production techniques? AND... although your comments DID provoke my thinking, I didn't intend them in any way to be a "rebuttal" or repudiation of any sorts. To be open about it, I occasionally read you and others telling song posters things like "the bass lacks punch" and I know exactly what you're saying, it's legitimate and I respect it. But I think it most definitely IS a reflection of a modern sensibility, where certain conventions -- "energy, punch, clarity, etc." -- are something of a prerequisite for a tune to be considered in a "finished" or "radio-ready" form. I'm really not trying to make a major issue over this, because in a week or two I'll probably have changed my thinking about it anyway.
It's odd, but I never hear people call blues, jazz or orchestral composers/players 'dated'. I think they're generally accepted for what they are. It seems that only musicians who play 70's and 80's style rock music who get tagged as 'dated'.
Not sure why that is, but I don't see that as a valid criticism, and it's certainly not what I intended with Steve.
I have often made that criticism. My thinking was basically this: an artist should strive for his own identity and sound, and should also strive to create something new. Otherwise, what Is the point? Other than SELF-gratification.
As I said, I've changed my thinking on this, however, because, quit frankly, nobody is going to say, "Hey, you're right!" and subsequently follow my musical ideology... and also I've come to accept that if a work is "from the heart" it's stylistic form is of secondary importance.
But that's not to say I now think that viewpoint is in any way illegitimate. No doubt, there are millions of painters, musicians, and writers that are working in techniques and styles of the past. The problem is, those aren't the artists that are getting shown/signed/published etc. I'm not saying that their work is therefore in vain, or irrelevant, or without merit -- truly, ALL artistic work has merit in some sense because it is ALL an expression of the artist, who has merit because he's a human being. But I am saying that they will probably never get any recognition, beyond their friends and maybe a few die-hard adherents of genres whose heyday has passed.
In any case, I think you make a fair point here, but I need to think it over. When I play Jazz once a week in the martini bar, the crowd is pretty mixed, age-wise. When I go to hear Jazz every Saturday afternoon, it's largely older people. On the rare occasion I hear an orchestra (other than my local college orchestra) it's again a pretty even mix. I don't hear Blues often, but just this last Saturday I went to a bar to hear some Blues -- again, even mix of ages. And you're right, when we say "dated" we're almost always talking about 60's 70's and 80's rock and pop.
My theory about this is: both blues and jazz to some extent are timeless styles -- their basic elements have changed little over the years. Rock and pop on the other hand have seen dramatic and marked changes over the years, so a particular style can easily be connected to a particular era. The same is true of orchestral music but most people know precious little about orchestral music -- to them, Beethoven and Bartok sound roughly the same -- some orchestration and all