Apologies if this has come up before (if it has, please link me up to the original discussion) but I’ve been thinking an awful lot about honesty in my music lately and wondered if others felt the same or how they deal with it in their own work.
I hadn’t thought of it in terms of “honesty” before but following a discussion with a friend it occurred to me that it feels like entirely the most appropriate term.
I have been making music since the late 90s and releasing things into the world in various forms for the same period. In all that time, throughout full length albums, EPs and other miscellaneous releases, I don’t think I’ve ever managed to release anything that accurately expresses who I am and what I might have to say.
In many ways, I don’t think it was deliberate. Initially it was lack of maturity, perhaps, but as I’ve grown longer in the tooth it’s impossible to use that rationale. There’s an extent to which it was influenced by wishing to conform to certain genre expectations; there’s an element of external influence (both directly and second-guessing myself when considering how others might relate to my music); there’s also an element of fear. If I put myself out there completely, then what people might have to say about it has a lot more sting and bite to it; if I only show what I want to show, I’m insulated, to a degree.
I don’t want to do that any more, but it’s a difficult process to even begin to approach. I have certain concepts that are important to me which have never featured in the music I have released or given to others: I used to make music in different spaces a lot and would always take a recording of that space to fold back into the recording itself, for example. I’ve never released anything that featured this approach.
I don’t think I mean that I have been inauthentic. I’ve certainly never consciously tried to sound like anyone else, anyway - in that sense it has always been authentically my voice, just not all of my voice.
I know that we all make music for various reasons. Some of us will make music entirely as a means of escapism, almost adopting a different persona when creating (or even many different personas); some of us make music to document experiments (I’ve noticed this a lot in relation to modular patches); others will view the process as catharsis, almost entirely improvisational and never saved beyond something that was captured in the moment (no project files; no DAW).
How do others feel about this? To what degree do we each put ourselves into our music? To what extent is that desirable (or not)? And for those who feel that they put themselves entirely into their music, how do you ensure that this is the case?