30 dropframe

I won’t be active here much in the next few weeks. Remember this? It’s now this:

30 dropframe

I’m doing a record of my own songs this summer, and opening up as much of the process as possible to anyone who wants the voyeuristic thrill of watching somebody create an album. Stick, I know you, in particular, would love to know how records actually get produced. You can watch streaming video from the studio, subscribe to podcasts of the songs in process, with daily updated mixes.

The thing that will be hard for me, but I think interesting for other people, will be letting people see how much of the proccess is just plain ugly. Quick sketches of half-broken ideas, themes that aren’t quite thought through, pushed into demo form, then reworked, and reworked, until they emerge as the things we all listen to and love. Being, as I think most creative people are, inherently insecure about what I do, I usually wait until something is finished, polished, mixed, and shrinkwrapped before I even acknowledge that I had a hand in it. I want to preserve the idea of the inscrutible artistic muse, the illusion that inspiration strikes, and what emerges is just the song of the heavens echoing down through us. I’d rather not acknowledge the part of creativity that’s just plain mundane craftwork, from sometimes ugly raw material to finished product.

I think that’s a copout. It’s a way of distancing ourselves from the object of our work. If our hands are muddy, then we own the thing, and good or bad, it’s ours. On the other hand, if it was sprung full-grown from the head of Zeus, then we get to remain the amanuensis, and the criticisms don’t really belong to us.

Not this time. I’m in this thing. Good or bad, ugly or beautiful, my hands will be muddy all over it.

So, the website is 30dropframe.com. Come check it out. It’ll either be spectacular, or a complete tragedy. Either way, it’ll be interesting to watch.

16 thoughts on “30 dropframe

  1. aly hawkins

    Brave, brave soul! I’d hate to have a webcam on me when I’m writing. Lots and lots of me staring off into space with drool running down my chin. Anyway, I’m SO excited you’re doing this. You’re about the only person I can imagine being somewhat interesting while doing next to nothing. (Obviously, you’ll be doing something, but like you said, the creative process can at times be tedious and not what one might call “entertaining.”)

  2. Stick

    Oh man, I’ve been waiting for this forever! NOW I can finally know how to make records!

    No, seriously, rock hard dude… I’m going to learn a lot. This is the one thing that our digital age has completely killed for guys like us. There is very little of the old school apprenticeship thing that took place in the past. I can’t remember the last time I got to see how someone else does what I do.

    I do however, think you need a way for observers to heckle.

  3. Stick

    Yeah, I found the heckle button… heh heh.

    Nice tune I heard there for a second… Nate my 2-year-old was dancing away when he heard it.

  4. june

    Our family of four has been gathered around watching you Mike. We have no lives. Oh, and thanks for teaching the boys to say “damn.”

    Nobutreally, we love you man!

  5. Chad

    This is perhaps the most voyeristic thing I have ever taken part in. It was… a little alarming to drop into that space. I liked it. I want a camera on all of you.

  6. june

    No worries.

    And just so you know, there’s a caped five-year-old standing at the ready to help “the singer man who says THAT word” in case the production process takes a turn for the worse. (Steckler is German for uber-duber-super-powers!)

    Muddy on Michael!

  7. michael lee Post author

    did you feel dirty, chad?

    by the way, singing bare vocals with headphones on, no track, no verb, just all out there, knowing that it’s going out live, is maybe the most nerve wracking thing I’ve ever done.

  8. Stick

    I don’t know if you were seeing Chad and I chat on the 30df page, but that was exactly what I said…. “It makes me nervous just watching”. Not a few times have I emerged from my little “studio” to June and whoever is around after screaming out scratch leads and 17 passes of 4 part harmony to funny looks and giggles.

    Don’t worry, you sound just fine. Even without the track. Rock on.

  9. Chad

    See… I’ve only been aware of this for like a few hours now… and already I am dissapointed when I click over and there’s nothing happening.

    Sing MONKEY BOY, Sing!!!!

  10. Bobby

    Don’t you have a tv in the studio? Clock’s running!

    I think it’s great that you are letting everyone in on the process. I’m always amazed after a song is finished when I go back and hear the first writing roughs… I think, man, is this the same song? Here I thought I was the only person who didn’t get instant divine inspiration whenever I picked up a pen and guitar.

  11. Gretchen

    bummer babe, this probably means you’ll have to wear a ahirt and pants while writing….
    I think you’re cool.

  12. aly hawkins

    Chad and Morphea and I were chatting today as we watched one of Mike’s sessions. I expressed that it was my first webcam experience, and that I was filled with anxiety that he might take off his shirt. Apparently my fears were legitimate.

  13. michael lee Post author

    Well, the site has had 7,000 hits since going live on monday morning. I don’t quite know what I was expecting, but I didn’t think it would catch so big so quickly. Now if only I could get all of those people to pre-order the CD.

    Thanks to all of you who have been stopping by. Sorry that I’m not so responsive to the live chat, but, ya know, I’m trying to make a record here. And, thanks to Aly for suggesting the cowbell.

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