My name's Dave. I'm working on it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Those Days

I'm always interested in that period of an artists' creative life between the time they began practicing their craft and when they unveil their first official release. Discovering what they were like at a more undeveloped, embryonic stage of their career is something most of them go to great lengths to prevent (I've heard of more than one musician expressing displeasure that such-and-such a demo had leaked to the internet); but these glimpses into the past do offer a fascinating look at how they came to be what they are now, which is invaluable in its own right. The official releases can, all too easily, become the only standard of measurement we have. By some perverted abuse of reason, this often brings me to the conclusion that bands such as the Arcade Fire and Okkervil River were simply born great, rather than achieving greatness, or, God forbid, having it thrust upon 'em. That they arrived at the studio, fully-formed, and laid down those beautiful tracks without a backwards glance, never breaking a sweat, and wrapped it up all in time for afternoon tea.
So when I find some recording that sheds some light on the developmental stages, I jump on it. Cracks appear in the shiny artifice I've built around the idea of 'creating,' and I'm less nervous about setting my own sub-par, off-key ramblings to tape.

I heard a wonderful conversation between Will Sheff of Okkervil River and Brian Beattie, their producer, which contains many hilarious insights into this process as well. Look for it after the gap.

p.s. I hope to update this thing more often, while removing the pressure for Grand Statement entries by cutting back the scale of the writings, and in turn increasing their frequency.

Here's a video I really like, by my #1 rock crush, St. Vincent.


Will Sheff & Brian Beattie talking about the Stage Names
The Arcade Fire - My Mind is a Freeway

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