Sort of. A couple of mates of mine and I started an “ambient” band. Both of them have been playing in bands for 15+ years, and both are very musical (they both play keys, drums, bass, guitar). I’ve played in a shitty hardcore punk band for a year, and couldn’t play a melody on a keyboard to save my life (well, you know, a melody that anyone with music background would regard as good, anyway).
We had our first jam today. I functioned as a sort of technician, showing my mates how the Elektrons work. It was fun. But a bit too often one of them would go - “what’s that weird sound, it’s a bit off …” and we’d spend 10 minutes trying to get a tuning right or something. Not used to that. It’s probably good in the long run, but damn, it’s going to be a learning curve to actually play with other people! It’s such a privilege (and maybe some sort of curse) to have control over everything.
So it’s sort of a feeling of worlds colliding. Kind of scary. I feel like I know fuck all, except I teach them how to operate the boxes. The thing is, when I’m alone, I’m quite confident of the stuff I make, I just do it, and I know quite well if it’s good or not. I found myself doubting myself a whole lot more than usual today.
Not sure why I write this, just wanted to share with someone who might have experienced something similar, I guess.
I know that feeling too well, when I do music stuff with other people I end up doing more showing them how to use my stuff than actually jamming. My friends are used to working ITB so it’s cool showing people stuff but cause they don’t own the gear they don’t learn to use it fluidly enough to make a duo thing work. Don’t really have any advice on that cause it’s hard to jam with someone frequently enough for them to gain fluency in new gear. What I will say though is enjoy it, I find working with people who are better than me is usually a good thing. If they’re seriously more musically trained you can throw your ideas out there and they can probably help you develop on things you might have got stuck on alone. also they might feel useless when you’re trying to explain mad elektron shit to them so you may not be alone in self doubting
I can relate to this feeling really well. I have friends who are much more theoretically adept than me, and pretty much expect me to follow along with a song, first listen, when with band instruments. I’ve grown to really dislike that
Your solo stuff is so extraordinarily good that your bandmates would do well to take a page out of your book. An example: encourage them to throw tonality to the garbage bin for half an hour next time – just focus on texture, timbre and rhythm. That’ll teach 'em
I’ve listened to your music in the past and always remember it being extremely good. I would not give in to self-doubt if I were you.
I remember playing with friends in college. One of the hardcore music theory guys would be extremely critical of us other punk self-taught types. Always stopping songs, wrinkling up their nose at the least little thing. Made us all feel like idiots. We weren’t great but weren’t near as bad as this guy made us feel.
Anyways, fast forward a few years after that. Dude had gone on to do other things. Put out a record (self-funded). Absolutely horrendously boring music. Terrible. Moral of story, trust your instincts, trust your taste, don’t listen to musical snobs. Not saying that’s exactly what’s happening in your situation mind you, mine might’ve been quite a bit more extreme, but might be some similar needless doubting and things going on. I’m sure this happens to a lot of people.
to avoid tuning complaints, just mute the sounds or samples that aren’t working for them and focus on using the sounds that integrate without much fussing about the place.
write a diary on a text document or a piece of paper during the sessions…
about the sounds and samples that immediately work for individual song titles or jams that might be revisited.
it’s difficult to not prattle on about music theory when a certain amount of knowledge is there, but sometimes that is just a subconscious sabotage on their behalf, when the real deal is all about energy, emotion and groove.
Being in a band is a social thing more than anything. Just get to know the guys well and you’ll soon develop a workflow that flows well for all of you. A lil beer here or there never hurts
IIRC was it not Thelonius Monk who said something along the lines of ”you’re never more than one key away from being in tune”?
Thanks for the feedback, all! Yes, I see it as a sort of challenge for myself, I should probably both challenge my insecurities as well as cooperating with people over music. One of the guys in the band I’ve jammed with quite a lot before, he’s extremely lenient and always goes with the flow, super easy to play with, whilst the other guy is a bit more of a … how to say it, he’s very musical, and hears things in a completely different way from me (probably if stuff is out of tune and such and such) - I don’t hear that all too well, but I’m of the opinion that music doesn’t necessarily have to be in perfect tune to work well. I’m sure I can learn a lot by just trying to get into the flow myself. We have a shared love for Tim Hecker, and want to make ambient in that vein, but I also have this idea that I don’t think we should just aim for that, but rather just go with whatever comes out naturally instead of trying to force too much of a style (and that’s my way of working vs this other guy working, it seems). It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out.
@Bwax - hey, thanks a lot! It’s nice to hear someone has actually listened to your music. Thanks! And yeah, I can relate. I have a few musically trained friends who make super technical music, but it’s rather boring to my ears. I don’t think my bandmate is a snob necessarily, but just gets into details that I don’t worry about - which of course might be a good thing.
@previewlounge - sound advice! Thanks.
@tsutek - oh, absolutely! If it weren’t for the social aspect, I wouldn’t bother!