Creative honesty & putting yourself into your music

And if I do make music for myself then why doesn’t it reflect what I’m currently enjoying listening to?

I believe that there is an ephemeral instance when I begin a new track where I know exactly what I want to do and do it. Everything that comes after that takes away from what I built.

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No one asks if an actor is authentically themselves when playing a character

As someone who has spent over two decades studying acting, people absolutely do ask this! Not to get too off topic, but there’s a pretty diverse set of perspectives around character and the self; I’ve heard character referred to as a mirror, a mask, a veil etc. by different teachers/practitioners. And actors can get very hung up on the notion of authenticity in a way that can be damaging psychologically and physically.

But I agree that music in particular has been saddled with notions of self expression/authenticity that are pretty specific to the form, even if they aren’t exclusive to it.


Thanks for the clarification, I spoke about a topic I am not sufficiently familiar with.

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You know, I think that’s actually frequently the opposite of how it works with me. If I try to force the track to be something in particular, it struggles to happen, whereas if I encourage things to take their course more and just play with ideas that occur to me thanks to happy accidents that happen it tends to work out for the best.z


I think Orson Welles answers your question at 0.27


That’s an excellent point. I suppose it goes back to the idea that things are never finished, you’re just prevented from making more changes to them due to their release (or sale, in the case of physical art pieces). I do find that the less I labour over things the more I enjoy them. Things which are captured in the moment rather than painstakingly crafted over days/weeks/months hold more satisfaction on repeat listens


If there’s a message to the song, I try to support that in every decision. Likewise, if it’s trying to capture a particular attitude or emotion. That’s a lot of what I do, and if I do the song justice, the authenticity was never about me.

Conversely, when it is about me, it’s almost never about authenticity.

More like novelty, or intellectual curiosity. The goal being simply to lean hard into choices that no one but me would have made. (This can take a lot of different forms, but “nerdy AF” is a common denominator.)


That’s absolutely perfectly put!


I agree with this wholeheartedly.

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My most joyful self is not often associated with the persona I take on when I make music.

Sometimes that’s okay. Sometimes it feels like a self betrayal.

The equipment that I use is almost always entirely beside the point.

I’ve been gigging a lot lately with three different bands and the songs are almost always covers. I’ve noticed that when I get caught up in this cycle of gigging as a side hustle (for the money), my creativity tends to suffer. It’s almost soul-sucking. So by the time I get around to sitting down to come up with something original that brings me joy, I have no energy for it. So I end up with nothing at all or something I deem not up to par. However, I’m not too worried because I know I operate in stages and it’s seasonal. Once Spring comes, I will retreat to my studio and all my gear (samplers, synths, drum machines, guitars, pedals, Field Kits, etc.) and I will be into it again.