The KoriSoron EP
is done. Farzad is working on the cover art / layout and then we’ll submit it for online sales and press some cds for sales at shows (yep physical compact discs – people still listen to things on them amazingly enough!) . There are a couple of things about the release that readers of this blog might find interesting.
1. It’s an EP (and not a full release). I think that there are certain genres where people still buy and listen to fill releases (metal comes to mind, as does jazz and word music), but for the most part people just look for singles and whatever you have that’s new. It’s much better for you to have multiple releases in the same year than putting all your energy into a full-length and then promoting that just to have people ask if you have a newer release. So the goal is to get this out in the next few weeks online (and a few weeks longer for physical copies), promote it and then work on another ep in March/April. And then another one in August. We have something like 15 songs in repertoire so the goal is to write more material, get the best songs recorded and keep aiming higher.
2. It’s a live recording. We really wanted to approach this like a Jazz or classical recording and just get what happens when we play live as that is the real sound of the ensemble. We don’t play to a click live so we didn’t on the recording either. That means that it is not a quantized metronomic recording, but it IS a realistic documentation of what we do.
3. The fact that it’s a live recording means that the guitar tones are a hybrid acoustic / electric tone. We play with amps live, so having a recording where the acoustic guitars were close miked and we didn’t use any amps, wasn’t going to get what we sound like live. We didn’t go for a pure acoustic tone and even though we bill ourselves as an acoustic act (because we play acoustic instruments) we are very much an acoustic electric ensemble.
4. The solos are what we improvised on the take. For me, that was the hardest thing to sit with because the internal editor in my head made me want to get a “perfect” take and as I started going down the rabbit hole of, “Well what would other guitarists think of this?” I watched the latest Ronda Rousey match and fall out play out.
For those of you who don’t follow MMA, Ronda Rousey is the first female champion in the UFC and one of the most dominant fighters (if not the most dominant fighter) in the history of MMA. Her autobiography, My Fight / Your Fight is well worth reading as it details the years of struggle and self doubt that go into being a champion. As a guitarist, I often get comments from people about some aspect of what I’m doing on stage – but they don’t understand the (seemingly endless amounts of) practice that goes into developing that skill set.
There’s a reason I can play at the velocities that I do and if you sat down with a metronome for as long as I did, you could reach those velocities as well.
There’s a reason that Ronda Rousey could finish the bulk of her fights in under 30 seconds, and it all came down to training and preparation.
When Rousey was finishing those fights in record time, she had a lot of people saying great things about her.
But then she fought Holly Holm.
Holly Holm is an experienced boxer. And Holm set up a game plan for Rousey that Rousey wasn’t prepared for. Rousey got caught with a kick and KO’d in the second round.
And the anti-Rousey backlash came. And it was brutal.
Suddenly everyone wanted to take a potshot at her. They called her cocky and a paper champion and reveled in her defeat. They said she was washed up and over.
She had a bad night. It happens to every professional. It would be like going to see John McLaughlin in concert, him having an off night and then saying, “Oh my god that guy sucks. It’s over for him.”
If you were dumb enough to step on a stage with him, John McLaughlin would destroy you in a concert. Don’t confuse a bad moment with a lack of skill set. I’d like to see any detractor get in a ring with Ronda Rousey and last 5 minutes. She’ll put you in an armbar and break your arm.
I thought of all of this as I listened back to the KoriSoron EP because musicians, and many guitarists, are the some of the most vindictive people on the planet. They take absolute glee in finding fault and trashing other players. Read any comment line on a YouTube video or visit a forum anywhere and you’ll see what I mean. I had to quit some of the groups I was in on Facebook because it was just too much bashing of things.
I used to be one of those people. Man, when I was at Berklee I was opinionated and, in retrospect, on some topics I was just an asshole. I had a lot of company in that area. We were all opinionated and we were all assholes towards other players.
Then something happened. I got more confident in who I was as a player. What drives that rancor is insecurity and the belief that things aren’t fair. People would look at a player like CC Deville of Poison and get angry that he had fame but what they were REALLY angry about was the perception that they put a lot more work into playing guitar than he did and they felt that they were more deserving of attention.
As you get further into the industry you start seeing more of the factors that go into something like that and, trust me, the man put time in to put himself in a position where he got attention. No one is found randomly. If they get to a place where they get attention it’s because A LOT of work went into it behind the scenes.
So as I thought about the recording, I heard the words of my potential detractors in my head, and then ignored them. The work is what it is and has to stand on its own merits and each release will be better than the last.
Some people love to build people up and then, when they get too big, try to tear them down. Ronda Rousey is a champion. She will regroup, build her skill set up and become a better fighter after this set back.
Don’t get too caught up in the scaffolding people put around you (or try to remove from you), instead concentrate on your foundation. Make your core identity as strong as you can and root deep so that no matter what others do or say, you remain upright in who you are and what you do.
I hope this helps!
As always, thanks for reading.