Beats Per Month: Time Out

Well friends, I hope that everyone found exactly what they were looking for on last month’s Record Store Day. Personally, I didn’t actually get around to physically going to a record store, however, I did order the newest Paradox Music 12” from a shop in the UK, so I hope that was good enough. There is nothing quite like buying analog technology with a digital device.

This month I’m going to shift gears a bit and talk about something that isn’t necessarily related to DJing, although there have been times in the past where I have not touched my turntables for months. In a broader sense, I’m talking about the bane of every musician, writer, artist and creative person: writer’s block. It can strike at any moment with no warning and for no reason at all. I recently have been battling with my own case of writer’s block, albeit in the studio and not on paper. It can be stressful, frustrating and downright miserable at times.

A little over two years ago, I began taking steps to improve my music production and really put all of my efforts towards writing music that I was happy with, both technically and artistically. As time went on and my skills improved, I developed a routine of 36 hours of studio time almost every week. For the next two years, the creativity flowed and music seemed to pour out of me. Many months, I would finish anywhere from three to five songs and although my drive to create new things was still there, my focus began to slip. By November of last year, I was close to burned out and decided the best thing to do was take a break. Through the holidays, I spent time with friends and family, played a few gigs and just enjoyed life overall.

My initial plan was to take two months off from production and start fresh after the first of the year. Soon after, I realized that something was wrong. My self-imposed hiatus had backfired. My schedule did not immediately return to normal after the holidays and my studio time became very limited. When I was able to make time, I found myself listless and unfocused. Here I was, finally back in the fray and I had nothing to add to it. The worst part was the feeling of helplessness about the whole situation. I could spend all the time I wanted in front of the equipment but nothing was coming out. After a few unsuccessful sessions, I decided that it was better to make the best of my time by learning new techniques and tricks in hopes that something would give me that creative spark.

Finally, about three weeks ago I was able to begin to make some headway on a new tune. A new batch of samples and a trip to Atlanta to see the aforementioned Paradox is what I believe finally broke the cycle. It’s amazing what good music will do to inspire you, especially if you drive eight hours with your best friends to see it. Perhaps writer’s block isn’t all that bad. It can be a pain in the arse but it may also force you to experience the other aspects of your life that have taken a backseat during your quest for artistic expression. I suppose ultimately, my advice is to be patient. Although you may be annoyed at your lack of output, I assure you that when the time is right, the results will be better than you ever expected.