Releasing the Polaris EP and Not Stressing (TOO Much)
First off, I want to apologize. I try to write the blog posts Friday Night so you guys have the whole weekend to catch up on them. Sorry I'm late. Also, I want to apologize because I did an industry thing that I really wanted to avoid: announcing a date for a project then pushing it back. The Polaris EP is finished, but it won't be coming out Dec. 16th like we had projected. Half of this blog post is going to be about that process. So here we go!
The Polaris EP actually didn't take that long to make. Took about 3 months to conceptualize, write, and record. We've been done with vocals since the beginning of November. Its all the other technical work that I knew nothing about. Its not just record your track, put it on a beat, and release it. There's a whole lot of work with levels, and frequencies, and other things that I don't really understand. Which is where my engineer comes in. I say "my" like he works for me, but really, Nick does all the heavy lifting, and and I'm more of his cheerleader. (Had to shout you out bro!) Throughout this process I've learned a lot about sacrifice, dedication, and imagination from a technical perspective. The versions of the songs you'll hear on Polaris, for the most part, are quite different from the skeletons we came up with a few months back. Nick has literally spent weeks listening to them over and over and adding elements and ideas to try to make the finished product a more complete cohesive body of work. Most of the time I'll hear the added riffs, or the vocal samples he adds, but there's random effects he'll throw on that I would never notice. There's been times where he's spent hours just finding the right snare for a song. Its a level of meticulous crafting that I respect because I can't imitate it.
When I have my sessions, it usually doesn't take long to write. "Far From Home" was written in 1 two-hour session; Polaris was 1 hour. You get the idea... but editing, tweaking, and mixing is more of a process than I ever knew. Plus there's the indie struggle. You hear about your favorite artists being in the studio every day when working on the project. Unfortunately, we can't afford all that. So even getting into the studio to mix it down wasn't as regular as we hoped. We got it done, but I definitely learned some valuable lessons.
1. Deadlines are real: Just because you THINK you can get something done in 3 days, doesn't make it so. Also, telling your engineer that he has 4 days won't magically get your stuff mixed down any faster. The process takes time, and you need to know when you straight up don't have any.
2. Vocals are NOT the only part of a track: I'm a lyricist. I take pride in the words I put together and the effect that they can have on people around me. When I record them, my job is essentially over. That don't mean the job is done though. There's still plenty more that needs to be done. So once I do what I do, I just gotta get out of the way and let the magic happen.
3. Finishing a project is just the beginning: I read an article online that compares wrapping up your project to having a baby. (No I didn't. I made it up myself, but this sounds cooler.) You finish having that baby and everyone is happy and crying and whatever, but then you actually gotta raise the child. Change diapers, teach it to walk, speak, be a human being, blah blah blah. Same with a project. Polaris EP is DONE. But only you guys reading this even know. Also honestly, you probably don't ALL care that much. There's 7 billion people on this planet, so this next few months is going to be me trying to get as many of them to HEAR about. My engineer gets to chill for a bit, but now I need to learn everything I can about music marketing and make sure I do what I can to get this to people who actually care about it.
I say all that to say this: The project will be coming out REALLY soon. I'll give you a date next week. When I do though, please be sure to preorder and tell a friend.
Lastly, I want to share with all of you something that i wrote for the guests to the Listening Session for my EP that I had last month. The reactions they had to the unmixed, unmastered raw project told me that it was worth every dollar I spent, and second I invested into it. I present to you, my Meditations on Polaris.
Meditations on Polaris:
I should preface this by saying I had quit doing music for 4 years. I told myself creating music and performing was something I had to give up on in order to be an “adult.” This project symbolizes that internal resolution for me. As a child, I never fit into the boxes they tried to construct for me. I came to realize that as adult, I had no reason to pretend to fit into the norms either.
My wife and I always talk about the “what if.” The choice you could have made, and the dream you could have chased. It doesn't directly hurt you, but it's a hole in your essence that gnaws at you until it manifests in the rest way. This project is me plugging that hole.
Polaris is a concept EP. It tells the story of a boy who is coming of age and feels the pull towards a purpose he can't quite say out loud. He goes through the progression of finding himself, trying to fit expectations, attempting to impress “the girl,” taking one small step, and finally taking that final leap towards fulfillment.
There’s a few direct parallels to my life and some truths in here that I struggled with sharing out loud. Plenty of self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy, and trying to figure out exactly who I am and what I want. I do want to stress that Polaris isn’t my story, it's ours.
Wherever you are at in your life, you still have dreams for yourself and those that matter to you. One thing I urge you to do is stop figuring out what's realistic or not. The only failure is not trying. If nothing else, you can always reflect on the time you attempted.
The driving idea through all this is that Polaris is consistent. Wherever you go, you can always find North. Trust that as you move and grow, you will always be able to find north.
There once was a boy who followed a star...