Lessons of the Lava Lamp

I really enjoy the recording process, a lot. It’s a whole different animal than live performance. It’s an opportunity to discover the craft of presenting songs in a manner that isn’t transitory. Even more so now in the digital age, the internet is forever. The process isn’t for everyone. You’re put under a microscope, every element of your performance is scrutinized down to the smallest detail. You question your abilities, doubt everything you thought you knew about music. But it’s also immensely satisfying. When you capture that performance that you know is “the one”, that this is what people will listen to every time, you have to be living in a place of extreme vulnerability. A live performance is vulnerable too, in a much more intimate way, but it doesn’t last except as a memory. After the show the band and audience move on to other experiences. But a recording, a record of the moment, can be enjoyed and picked apart over and over again. Love it or hate it, the listener can revisit their emotional response to the song as often as they want. I have to be okay with that. Nick Cave has what I think is an incredibly healthy way of looking at this. He says the song is a gift that he gives to his audience. It’s not up to him what they do with it or what it does for them. His satisfaction comes from the giving, there is nothing more to be concerned about.

The studio we are working in has two things that I am fascinated with and learning lessons from. The first is a pinball machine. There can be a lot of down time and I’ve been spending mine playing pinball. I am having to come to terms with the fact that even though I like pinball, and can spend hours at it given the chance, I’m not necessarily very good at it. I’m learning that’s okay, I can enjoy it anyway. I can also increase the possibility of a good ball by relaxing, not over thinking things, not taking it so damn seriously.  And that’s a great attitude to take into the live room when it’s time to track a song.

The other object is a Lava Lamp. Great for contemplation. It’s given me some good take aways from our week here.

  • Nothing happens at all without applying energy first
  • The good stuff doesn’t happen cold, you have to warm up
  • You can only run hot for so long, you have to allow yourself to cool off and come down
  • The process is repetitive 
  • No matter how many bubbles you send up, they are all Unique
  • You are never alone
  • You have to make room for the newcomer
  • You don’t stay on top forever
  • To see different colors, change your perspective 

Most importantly, relax, be mellow. Have intention but don’t panic. Go play pinball, even if your not good at it.