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  • Leo Aram-Downs

Quarterly Review 2

Given the decline in frequency of these blogs being written, it feels like mere minutes since I did the last quarterly review. That’s definitely a contributing factor to how strange sitting at the half way point feels. But here we are! Halfway through the Year of Everything. I’m surprised I’ve not yet missed a week of music yet, and I’m even more surprised that this is still something I find, as opposed to a massive chore. So, with that said, time to do some self-reflection.


What should you start doing?


It was funny to look back and see that my previous answer was something visual, because it’s not really something that’s crossed my mind since. I’ve started uploading the Instagram backlogs to YouTube but that’s about as far as I’ve got with this. As for actual original organic video ideas, there’s nothing that I can do that won’t take significant amounts of energy away from producing the music, which is still the main priority. I do understand how important the visual side of all of this is though, and I’m thinking about ways I could introduce video more seriously in 2020. But that’s also not really an answer to this question. To more directly answer this, I feel like the sensible thing would be to do more writing. I have all the music for the rest of the year ready, but that shouldn’t have to lead to complacency if I have the time and potential to make better things at this point. I should also probably exercise a bit more.


What should you stop doing?


To quickly revisit the last QR again, lessening the number of blogs was a great quality of life improvement. I’m now thinking the same thing with Instagram videos. Not stopping them necessarily but being more flexible with the content I put out. As it stands, if I don’t feel like a song deserves a playthrough, I just don’t post anything, when I could probably be using that time to make something more interesting and engaging. So I guess this is another thing I

should start doing, but yeah.


What should you keep doing?


I’ve been developing a bit of a mindset recently where I’m far more relaxed about this whole process. Previously, I think I was taking myself a bit too seriously, which led to everything feeling a bit more urgent or difficult than it might have needed to. So for what to keep doing (aside from making the tunes obviously), it’s to keep going down this route of being slightly more casual and carefree and willing to see what happens instead of regimenting the project for months at a time.


What have you learned since the last quarter?


This is something I’ve dedicated an entire blog post to, but it definitely bears repeating. This kind of project is only properly doable when a whole lot of the rest of your life has a level of stability. This last quarter of the year was the first time in a while my day-to-day existence was very different due to the amount of travelling I was doing. Obviously, that changed a great deal of my process. It meant I only had access to certain resources at certain times, it meant I didn’t record any vocals for ages, and it meant that the amount of songs I wrote skyrocketed due to all of this. But now I’m back to my regularly structured life it’s very easy to forget just how different all of that was.


Favourite song? And why?


I think To Leave LA and As Is were definitely the most fun to work on this quarter. They’re both big, fun tunes that I think I did a decent job producing. Not to mention I think the songwriting was overall pretty good. They also serve as good experiments in terms of departing from my normal choice of instruments and trimbres but still making them sound like songs I would write. There have been less successful instances of this as well (let’s not talk about how I rapped over bird song earlier this year) but these two songs really feel like an embodiment of my expanding soundscape at this point.


Least favourite song? And why?


The two songs I posted prior to this were Highway and Malverns. It’s either one of those. There’s something with my acoustic production right now that I’m really not happy with. I think the songs are there but I always feel like when I’m working on stripped down music, there’s that final ingredient missing that other people have on their songs. I’m sure it doesn’t help that most of this is one mic in my kitchen but that still shouldn’t be an excuse. I’m going to be working with a lot more acoustic instruments over the next couple of projects so it will be a good chance to take this into account and try and improve on them.


How many hours have you spent on everything this quarter?


Unbelievably, 39.25. In some ways I’m entirely unsurprised given how irregular my life has been but it’s felt like a far more intense workload since the last quarter, so it’s weird to see that in numbers. I wasn’t as on it in tagging this time round so I don’t have individual breakdowns on each activity like last time, but I think that only would have been useful had the amount of time increased in any real way.

And that concludes this weird journaling session/self-interview thing. I’m still hyped for this project, and I’ve got some cool music that I’m really happy with on the way, so I’m gonna go and get back to work on that now.

Peace.

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