Obsessive Compulsive Recorder

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I don’t remember exactly when I was given my first guitar. I have a hazy recollection of a classical style acoustic resting against the wall collecting dust, dormant. As a teenage hard rock fan, the fret board histrionics of Eddie Van Halen or Kirk Hammett seemed so hopelessly unattainable they might as well have been beamed down from outer space. Guitarists were born, not made, I believed at the time and any attempt to even try and scale such outrageous heights would surely result in a rather abrupt and unceremonious dead end. Rock guitar was an elite club where only geniuses need apply for membership; my thirst for creative fulfilment would have to be satisfied elsewhere……

I don’t remember exactly when it was that I heard Nirvana for the first time but the passion that their music inspired in the aftermath is still crystal clear. “How could something so simple sound so brilliant?” and “I could do that.” I’d think to myself. And I did! Me and my mates in our school’s music department on a lunch time, mastering the art of the power chord and rifling through the, “Nevermind”, tab book like we were Kurt Cobain himself. A whole world of colour and possibilities masquerading as a battered Fender copy with strings missing. THIS is when I found what I wanted, even if I didn’t realise it at the time; my journey towards creative fulfilment had begun……

I don’t remember exactly when it was that I wrote my first song but the feelings brought about by the process will stay with me forever. It would be impossible for me to describe those feelings without them coming across as being utterly pretentious because that’s exactly what they were. Every cliché you’ve ever heard about song writing being, “cathartic”, or a, “release”, were absolutely, positively true. Songs would pour out of me as if there were no alternative and the only affirmation I needed was the satisfaction of knowing that they were now down on paper instead of rattling around my head.

Song writing was and still is my obsession, not my hobby but with every obsession comes danger. And the danger for me was that the more time went on and the more songs that I wrote, the more the whole thing became about how highly I rated the end result rather than the journey that got me there in the first place. Mechanical and unnatural, song writing became more like a school project rather than a vehicle for artistic expression and any semblance of fun or enjoyment that it once brought about had now been replaced by anxiety and fear. Fear that the songs weren’t good enough. Fear that I was wasting my time. I understood I had to break this cycle and I also understood the irony of knowing that the only way I could was to somehow find a way to stop caring about the thing that I cared about the most. The more I tried the more I failed. Until I didn’t. Fail that is. When? How? I don’t remember……

And that about brings us back into the present and to the point where I’m able to share all this with you knowing that I did eventually make it out the other side.

My new EP, “Playin’ at Rock Stars”, is available now and I’m immensely proud to say that it’s the sound of myself as a songwriter finally being able to let go and allow the music to happen naturally.

Of course, the listener will have their own opinions as to its true value (and I’d genuinely love for one of those opinions to be yours) but whatever the general consensus, it’s a great feeling to know that I’ll stand by these songs unwaveringly, based purely on the honesty with which they were created and the sincerity with which they were intended. And whilst it may have taken me a little time to realise, that’s what music ultimately, is supposed to be all about.

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