Making Music

Please excuse my relative absence here for now. I’m working on writing and recording a number of songs (and I will be sharing here). It’s a mix of electro-industrial, futurepop (thank you VNV Nation for coining that name), and oddball pop with a bit of hiphop and punk/metal crossover thrown in – not all genres in the same work though. It all takes time as most of what I am doing involves multiple tracks which then need mixing. Making music is a time consuming process, writing lyrics can be quite emotionally draining. It’s been a lot of years since I last did this seriously, and things have changed a bit so I value your patience.

And unfortunately work (the day job) is also taking up a fair portion of my waking hours right now. On the other hand my studio is now in good enough shape to at least begin the process. New Les Paul guitar, effects, good quality midi controller (and DAW software), decent vocal mic etc are in place. Eventually I would like to add a bass guitar, an electric violin (you should hear some of the awesome things you can do with these run through guitar effects), more VST plugins etc.., It all costs money and I’m not a rich man. But I’m hoping that it turns out well with what I have now and that I will be able to help provide you with both entertainment and some food for thought.

The creation process itself is fraught with ups and downs. I rely heavily on inspiration and years of training as a classical musician — not to mention quite a few as a working musician but it’s been a while. If I’m not feeling it I simply cannot write at that time. All that can add up pretty quickly when you’re working a day job and not sleeping. But it’s a work in progress and I do expect to be able to post a few things soon. My influences run the gamut of almost everything (although I’m sadly incapable of writing reggae). From Bach to Behemoth, from Carcass to the Cure, from Peter and the Test Tube Babies to Pink. You get the picture. The one thing I really struggle with is writing drum tracks. ISO drum programmer (not entirely kidding about that)?

All in all it’s coming along and I’m holding back a lot of poetry/lyrics so as to introduce them as fully fledged songs. Lyrically they run the range from deeply personal to working class activism, with a fair bit of reference to varying mythologies as well. So again, thank you for your patience as I go through this creative process. I truly hope you will enjoy the results.

Note 0.2

Believe it or not, I used to write the poetry of love. I suppose in some ways I still do. I’ve spent a lot of time in therapy untangling who I am and what drives me. I’ve even had brain scans. The parts of my brain that are responsible for emotional responses are far more active than in ‘normal’ people. They also take much longer to return to a baseline state. My therapist aptly described my state as having the emotional equivalent of third degree burns all over my body – any touch can be intense far beyond what most people will ever experience.

Overall people with this condition have a suicide attempt rate of 80%. Ten percent succeed in ending their own lives. It’s a shocking statistic that reflects the deep anguish felt by so many. Ninety percent of us commit other acts of self-harm. Anything to stop the pain. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t feel like this – except those few short months. David Foster Wallace wrote that the suicide is not so much out of hopelessness, but an overcoming of the fear of death. Because that death can be preferable to interminable and excruciating agony.

So, I spent a lot of time in therapy. There are parts of this condition I would happily be rid of. The terrifying fear of abandonment (now driven by the reality of it), the suffering that can be caused by an ill-chosen word or glance, the horror of feeling nothing at all. But there are other parts of it that bring happiness. When I love, I love wholeheartedly, with nothing held back. I weep in delight at beauty. Some of you might recognise this condition, some of you might even have it. Over the years I’ve dealt with it by way of self-harm, by way of substance abuse, by way of writing.

Mere months ago, I was writing words of love and beauty. I was, and still am, deeply in love. But that is now leavened with despair as my fear of total abandonment came to pass in a coldly callous fashion. With it comes this immense suffering. And falling back on those old stalwarts of substance abuse and harm – although I kept a promise to her by not cutting again. I’ve written a lot. Soon it will be published in book form, with an open dedication to her. None of which, I am sure, she will ever read.

I don’t know how to get out of this despair. I’ve written that each day is worse than the one before, that time does not heal all wounds, but rather makes them fester and weep. I wish I was writing love poetry again; I wish it had never stopped. But the reality is that the universe is a cold and uncaring place. Full of cold and uncaring people. Frequent readers and followers can still see, I think, the underlying love. Ian Curtis once opined that ‘love will tear us apart’. He was right. It’s the most powerful force I have ever known, and the most destructive.

I’m going to keep writing. Some of it is raw. I hope it all touches someone in some way. In this culture of bullshit machismo, it’s frowned upon still for men to discuss emotions; I will continue writing anyway. Perhaps it can only be the expression of a broken being. Be that as it may, it’s a faithful representation of me, of my inner thoughts. Each word can be agony. But each demands expression. Thank you for reading, thank you for listening. I may be ruined and ravaged, but I still have a voice.

A note from the author

I hesitate to call myself a poet, although I do write poetry, it seems too lofty a title for what I do. My writing is deeply personal, confessional, and can be harrowing to create and publish. I often write of complex and overwhelming emotional distress, addiction, loss, and grief. Everything I write has meaning to me, but I hope you bring your own meaning as you read. I think that is more important seeking to analyse what I am saying about me.

Poetry, for me, is an expression of the complexity of the human experience, with all its beauty and all its ugly harshness. I’m not one to write of the glories of nature, or the dance of light on a misty morning. Because that is not the life I behold. Mine is an inner life expressed with these poor words, rather than one that reflects the externalities of existence.

I want to thank you for reading, liking, following. I do invite comments and critiques, and I am interested in the idea of collaboration with others. Again, my thanks, I have always doubted my own abilities as a writer and poet, and each time something is read and enjoyed I gain some small but growing confidence.