They say a mix is never finished, simply abandoned. I can relate to that.
It’s a strange thing to spend months working on a song, only to get to the point in the mix where you say “enough’s enough, let’s move on”. Then it gets mastered and put on a CD and people buy it and listen to it and you’re left standing there looking worried, grinding your teeth and telling yourself that you did the best you could. Sure, maybe that guitar note there could have been tucked in, maybe that extra synth was a bit superfluous, but hey – hindsight’s a wonderful thing, right?
That’s how it was for me with the release of the Lights of Distorted Science. Once my work was done I didn’t listen to it for a few months. Then when I did, I thought it was shit. I heard every single problem, no matter how minor. It was all I could focus on. OUCH! That harmony is out of tune. OUCH! The guitar sounds like a vacuum cleaner here. OUCH! WHY did I put REVERB on THAT!? WHERE ARE THE GOOD SONGS? WHAT IS THIS TOTAL BULLSHIT!? I therefore came to the quite sensible (IMO) conclusion that I shouldn’t ever listen to it again and for 18 months I did a pretty good job of sticking to that rule.
It’s a strange thing when I make music. The best it ever feels is the first time it happens, even if it’s massively shit. Even after all the work goes in and it becomes a complete song, the excitement will never match the first time I strung the two chords together, wailed a few notes and proclaimed it a Song. Bridging that strange gulf of cognitive dissonance is tricky. It would be awesome to finish working on the song then totally erase it from my mind, listen to it fresh and get that excitement.
All this rambling musing is pertinent, because we’re in the middle of pre-production for the follow up album. All the songs sound exciting now, and when we get to recording them proper they’re going to feel like the best things in the universe. Once it’s all done, I hope to remember some of that excitement. Also, it’s my intention that this album will Smash The Shit(tm) out of the last one. Bigger production, better songs, tighter arrangements. I want it to be so good that people feel ill when they hear it!
I’m looking forward to the challenge. I guess looking forward is always going to be more exciting than revisiting the past.