Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Try, try, give up again

I don't understand why we can only try ideas once.

That's one of the most perceptive lines from Lisa Simpson there. It's at the start of "Today I am a Clown" and Lisa rescues Maggie from the locked bathroom. Marge tried using a coat hanger to open the door, but it didn't work. Lisa tried it, and it works.

So what's this got to do with what is laughably a blog on the music and recording industry? Well, it’s been a while, but as I said in the last blog, we're been off to the States, and then moving to London, and so we have had to start packing stuff away. We've also had to start clearing the hard drives, and backing everything up.

Wow. Look at all those brilliant business ideas. Look at all the great event ideas we had. Look at all the bands we worked with. Look at the terabytes of unfinished songs. It seems it's only when the painful process of moving rears its head that we actually look at all of this stuff.

We tried a lot of the ideas once and never carried things forward. There were multiple sound reasons as to why...but really, why did we only do it once? If you've invested the time in planning and organising the event, product, programme etc., why not give it more than one airing? Unless it costs you a stupid amount of money to do it, or it seriously distracts from income generation, you owe it to yourself to do it again, don't you? Most of the stuff we tried we didn't continue because of a low turnout, or because people baulked at paying a price - even when we got subsidy from the local government! But perhaps we should have pushed again, aimed at a different market, tried different price points or tied in with other partners. These are all strong ideas that we intend to use in a different way in the future.

There's the often used quote from Einstein (or Franklin, or Browne, or the AA or an old Chinese proverb) that insanity is doing the same thing again and expecting different results. And there's a bit of truth there - but try telling that to Robert the Bruce! He watched that spider repeatedly attempting to spin the web, and it gave young Bobby the inspiration to rouse his fellow Scots to fight and die for their wee bit hill and glen.

Your mileage may vary on this, but it hurts to look at some of the great things we did only once. We were held back by crippling overheads, and a client base who only wanted stuff if it was fully funded by someone else.

But those ideas…

We owed it to ourselves, and to the ideas, to try again a few times.

Then there's the songs, the seeds, the concepts. So much stuff that was good, bad or indifferent. But it is all sat there uncategorised on the hard drives. I spent a fair whack of time metaphorically dusting the tracks off, giving a rudimentary mix and bouncing so that I could at least have a listen when I was in a less stressed state. I just don't get how I got to the place where the track took shape, drums, bass, guitars, string arrangements, melodies and some vocals, yet I left it mouldering.

That's two things that I've picked up from our moving escapade. Unless we are seriously out of pocket or our income generation is seriously compromised, I'm going to make sure we try our new ideas several times. What's a good number? I don't know, but let's give ten times a go. I shall let you know how it works out!

The second thing is that I will go through my work in progress disc once a week in some downtime and mix down all the seeds and snippets alongside the finished tracks and make sure I get them all in an ideas folder and on our iPods. Maybe I'll send them out to collaborators. Whatever, the thing is we came up with these ideas, so let's really give them the chance they deserve.

Christian Thomas is Production Director at Space Studios. People often find him trying.